Saturday, January 21, 2012

Galvin La Chapelle

This is an older review. You could read the newer review here.

Dinner was at Galvin La Chapelle a relatively new outpost of the now seemingly unstoppable Galvin brothers. What an amazingly good looking restaurant. An old disused building in Spitalfeilds has been renovated. The building was original built as a Chapel, never used, was in fact used as a schools kitchen and gymnasium and then abandoned for 35 years. Gorgeous dining room. As impressive as the Wolseley Restaurant at St James. The Wolseley was the old Wolseley car showroom. Both are really beautiful buildings and set the scene for good food.  No masala papad and Pizzas here with extra cheese and Jalapenos and chilli flakes, tomato sauce and mustard on the side.

These photos were taken after we shifted tables.

We were seated at a decidedly crowded and dodgy table and as always were the only non white table in the restaurant. We were not going to complain, however the charming staff [all French] themselves asked if we wanted to change and gave us another table on a higher level. Much better and made for good photography.

La Chapelle has just got its first Michelin star. I have realised that eating in a Michelin starred restaurant is far less intimidating in so many ways than eating anywhere else, especially eating street food. For example, there are menus, and they have accurate descriptions of what you will get. Secondly the waiters have time and patience to answer any questions you may have and most importantly they have the ability to answer the question. Wine ordering is so simple and results so delightful. Just tell the sommelier what you are eating, indicate a budget and you are set. No jhanjhat. Now try [wine aside] doing this at everyman’s street food place. Just try this at a place outside your comfort zone, for example a Bombay walla try ordering street food in Delhi without a guide and without having been there before. You will be all thumbs and awkward. How many times have you been to a Chinese restaurant and envied something that someone on the other table was having? Why? Mis description in menus. How many times have you even gone to the US [allegedly the most casual dining place] and not known how or what to order been bombarded with so many options, on rye, with mustard, with mayo etc etc. Frankly as I say, it’s far easier to just go to a good expensive restaurant. Mind you if you are a Jain with all the money in the world you better eat at home, you have no hope eating in a civilised world. No onion, no potato, no garlic, no ginger, no carrot no meat no fish no egg and, whatever else that is left that you can eat, should be thikha and crispy.

Dorset Crab Lasagne with Sauce Nantaise

Rissotto with spring vegtables

Landaise Chicken with spring veg, morels, panchetta with a asparagus pigeon jus

Barbary Duck breast with caramelised Shallots and an Endive Tarte Tatin

Cold chocolate fondant with Milk Ice Cream and honeycomb

Blueberry Souffle with blueberry coulis and milk ice cream

We had a wonderful meal. The most amazing thing was the accuracy of the cooking. The risotto was creamy and the rice still had a bite. The spring vegetables had colour and character. My Dorset Crab Lasagne was a work of art. The crab had been made into a mousse and placed between sheets of lasagne. I would imagine some sort of Chinese dim sum technique to cook it. I cannot even begin to imagine how the dish was put together. HRH the Queens duck and my Landaise chicken were cooked really well. I mean the cooking point or temperature of the meat was so accurate. HRH the Queens duck was evenly pink and my chicken was cooked thru without drying and had crispy skin to boot. Really good.

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