Galvin La Chapelle - Spital Square, London
Last Sunday, I did something I have been meaning to do for quite some time now. I stepped foot into the glorious, culinary world of Galvin La Chapelle in Spital Square, London. The brains behind this fabulously French, Michelin starred restaurant? Critically acclaimed chef's (and brothers) Chris and Jeff Galvin. An elegant, refined dining destination made all the more romantic on Sunday's, when the silky, soft lull of live, mellow jazz music, rolls out into the vast '100ft-high vaulted ceiling.' (www.timeout.com) I am no newbie to sampling what the Galvin brothers have been made partly famous for (in my eyes at least!), the best mash in London! Buttery, creamy, and, ohhh so silky smooth. Quaglino's, in Bury Street, Mayfair, offer up some fierce competition, but, Galvin's, I believe without doubt, pip's them to the post! I have tried and tested their mash at Galvin at Windows (London Hilton, Park Lane) and Bistrot de Luxe (Baker Street, Marylebone). Each time, I have been left dreaming about mashed potatoes, for weeks on end!
Within the family of seven restaurants, it's Galvin La Chapelle that has remained an exciting gastronomic mystery. The restaurant has intrigued me ever since I lived a stone's throw away from it, back in the days when Scott and I were East Londoners during our spell in London. However, Sunday just gone, I found myself rolling up my sleeves, loosening my belt (metaphorically speaking of course!) as I sat across the table from Scott, musing the Sunday Lunch menu...
A small offering of fresh olives were placed on the crisp white tablecloth whilst we ordered our drinks and made our choices.
A fresh orange juice for me (you won't find any of the out-of-the-carton, or, from concentrate stuff at Galvin La Chapelle!) and a 250ml carafe of red wine for Scott.
We opted for the three course 'Sunday Lunch Prix Fixe' menu (£34.50pp, add wine for an additional £9). From the smartly dressed waiters to the opulent setting, we knew we would be in for a special treat. Soon after we sat and chatted about what to expect, our starters arrived; a 'Velouté of Roscoff Onion, Slow-Cooked Burford Brown Egg and Crisp Shallots' for Scott...
A warm poached egg which oozed its bright yellow, yolk into the rich, creamy, frothy soup. The flavours were salty, sweet, delicate and gone in an instant! I hardly got a look in!
I ordered the 'Pressed Terrine of Corn Fed Chicken, Ham Hock and Sauce Gribiche.' This was delicious; the terrine was at room temperature, which I much prefer. The meat running through the terrine were full of seasoning and the accompanying sides brought all the flavours together perfectly.
Onto the mains; 'Seared Calves Liver, King Cabbage, Alsace Bacon and Madeira Jus' for me. Oh my goodness, I have never tasted calves liver as smooth, delicate and sweet before! Admittedly, calves liver (although I definitely feel/know it shouldn't be) has to be one of my guilty pleasures! If you are in my camp, and, love a well-cooked piece of liver every now and then, you have got to head to Galvin La Chapelle! It's simply cooked to perfection there, I promise! Here's the silky mash I was telling you about, sat there teasing you and showing off how yummy it is! The salty, crunchy bacon, sweet carrots and king cabbage were very good too.
Scott chose the 'Roast Rump of Beef, Yorkshire Pudding, Fine Beans, Roast Potatoes and Glazed Carrots.' I had a few mouthful's and the roast beef was cooked just as it should be; succulent, a little bit fatty around the edges, and, could be sliced through with a knife, as easy as if it were being cut through butter. Sadly the Yorkshire puds were a little crispy and edging towards tasting a bit overdone. The gravy was perhaps slightly too thin, and Scott could have done with a bit more of it over the vegetables. However, all in all, the roast got a thumbs up and would be ordered again (with a side of gravy!).
After the savoury courses, we moved happily onto the sweets; I went for the 'Buttermilk Pannacotta, Yorkshire Rhubarb and Crumble.'
It wibbled and wobbled just as it should; the pink jewels of sweet rhubarb and the crunchy crumble around the edges added a nice contrast to the richness of the creamy buttermilk pannacotta.
From buttermilk pannacotta to the 'Chocolate Crème Brûlée and Vanilla Ice Cream.' I think it is safe to say that the brûlée stole the show! It was the best we had both ever tried, and it's worth venturing to London from Bath just for that!
I would definitely recommend a trip to Galvin La Chapelle; it's not the cheapest of places to eat out at, but certainly a great venue to treat your other half to a romantic meal, (book a table for the 'Jazz Sundays' lunch, it totally sets the right tone). Or, why not take the whole family there for a meal over the Easter weekend? I am sure tables get booked up pretty quickly during festivities, so I suggest taking a look at the website for booking information and all other details: www.galvinrestaurants.com