Eat Here: Avista Restaurant, MayfairBy Angelica Malin
I’ve got a secret. I’ll let you in on it, if you promise not to tell anyone, OK? Here goes. I found a really, really nice restaurant. And you wouldn’t necessarily expect it. Tucked away in the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair (normally I don’t trust restaurants inside hotels), Avista is an Italian restaurant with serious soul and sass. It’s a real find, and the food is sensational. Here’s why you should visit:
AVISTA, the Italian restaurant located in the Millennium Hotel London Mayfair, has been awarded two rosettes from the prestigious AA Food Guide. With exposed brick walls, a natural beige and cream colour scheme and a striking arrangement of fresh flowers, the 75-seat Avista Restaurant is the ideal venue for a romantic dinner. Avista has recently welcomed on board Executive Chef Arturo Granato, from the Amalfi coast in Italy. Young, but with many years of experience, Arturo worked his way up through many prestigious restaurants in Italy before taking up his first head chef position at the Carlton Hotel on the Grand Canal, Venice.
Arturo brings a modern Italian style of cooking, and regularly changes his menus to take advantage of the freshest seasonal produce. This is simple Italian food at its finest – for an amazing starter, try the tartare di orata, pompelmo rosa, finocchio e gazpacho di pomodoro – it’s a sea bream tartare with pink grapefruit, fennel and tomato gazpacho. The dish is inventive, fresh and light – really rather wonderful. Another amazing starter is the insalata di barbabietole – a beetroot salad with goat’s cheese, mandarin, red onion compote and horseradish. A twist on your classic beetroot salad, this version is nothing short of perfection – the addition of zingy horseradish is a welcome contrast to the sweetness of the beetroot and creamy cheese, the whole thing just works.
Don’t jump straight into your main course before trying the star of the show here: their homemade pasta. You can choose for starter or main course pasta (Italian style) and it’s all totally delicious. Our favourite is the simply incredible onion soup – the zuppa di cipolle is an onion soup with Asiago cheese tortellini, late season radicchio and balsamic. The flavour combinations of this soup are superb; the tart balsamic with the creamy cheese are beautiful, and the onion soup is light and full-bodied. Not too heavy, not too sweet, it’s the perfect winter warmer. For something delicious and a little naughty, try the lemon sole in tempura, trompette. It comes with candied onion, Jerusalem artichoke soup, lemon and black truffle – like a very posh fried fish. The batter is light and flavoursome – perfectly paired with the rich artichoke and hearty truffle flavours. Perfection.
For dessert, you can’t miss their dark Valrhona chocolate sphere with pistachio and mandarin. The unusual flavour combination is a welcome break from your normal chocolate dessert, the sweetness of the orange is perfect with the rich dark chocolate. For something seasonal, try the Autumn fruit tart with lemongrass sorbet, honey crumble and white chocolate. It’s sweet, just the right about of tartness, and the lemongrass sorbet is totally amazing. All in all, you can’t beat the food here.
Avista is at 39 Grosvenor Square, London W1K 2HP