Saturday, February 25, 2012

Galvin Bistrot de Luxe - Revisited

It’s become a sort of ritual for us, on landing in London after a quick pint or two at a nearby pub we walk to Black & Blue for dinner. When leaving London we have our last meal at Galvin Bistrot de Luxe. Nothing like leaving London with a memory of a decent wine and some good French Bistro food. So, in keeping with this practice we had made a booking for dinner at Galvin Bistrot de Luxe.

Galvin Bistrot de Luxe opened in 2005 in what was then a gastronomic desert in Marylebone. Since then the Galvin Brothers – Chris and Jeff – have gone from strength to strength opening several mid to high end French restaurants. Galvin La Chapelle and Galvin Windows have Michelin stars. Marylebone now has not only Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, but you can add Canteen, Texture, Bright Courtyard, Trishna, Roganic, Locanda Locatelli, L’Autre Pied and the Providores & Tapa Room to name but a few.

To get going we had the Aperitif of the day which was basically a version of the classic Champagne Cocktail I had at L’Atellier Joel Robuchon. Here it was made with Prosecco, Grand Marnier, Angostura Bitters and Orange Zest. Along with that we got a delightful, light, low on tannins, Marsannay 2008.

For dinner HRH the Queen of Kutch ordered the restaurants signature dish the Lasagne of Dorset Crab with Beurre Nantais. This is really a superlative dish. Two discs of Pasta with a Crabmeat Mousse between them. Beurre Nantais is a classic French sauce made with shallots, white wine, vinegar and butter is then added and finally chopped Chives.

I tossed between a Ham Hock & Foie Gras Terrine and an Imam Biyaldi. I could not resist having a last bit of Foie Gras before leaving for home, so it was the Terrine for me. Sorry, the Imam may have fainted seeing the aubergine prepared for him, but, frankly, it left me cold. It was a decent Terrine with an attractive internal garnish. This is a dish that every French Chef would make with his eyes closed. No complaints.

HRH the Queen of Kutch toyed between Daube of Beef Bourguignonne, Pommes Mousseline, the Roast Sea Bass, Caramelised Endive, Cauliflower Purée, Raisin & Caper dressing and, her favourite, Veal Brains with Beurre Noisette, before finally choosing the Beef. Good choice I thought. The dish was sublime. The Queen was in raptures, she cooed that the Beef was fork tender, the sauce glistening, the potato puree silky [not that she has eaten silk] and the aromas rising, bewitching.

Being winter, Galvin Bistrot de Luxe had Cassoulet on offer. This is a favourite of mine. Pork and beans a winning combination. My Cassoulet had Duck Confit, Pork Belly and a Garlic Sausage. It was served in an earthenware bowl as it should be and was absolutely wonderful. The broth was deeply flavoured and the beans still retained their integrity. Delicious.

To finish, I got myself a Valrhona chocolate fondant with Honeycomb and Ice Cream while HRH the Queen get herself a Rhubarb Crème Brulee. The Chocolate Fondant oozed on cue and the Crème Brulee shattered. To wash this down HRH had a Cognac while I sipped aged Rum.

Another very satisfying meal at Galvin Bistrot de Luxe. If you want a reasonably priced introduction to an example of good French Bistro food you must visit this place. It checks all the boxes. Good food, decent well priced wines including some excellent carafes, a great atmosphere making you feel as if you really are in France, and, most of all great service. This is really a very good restaurant. It’s not a budget version of Galvin La Chapelle and Galvin Windows, it holds its own, and very well too.

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