Monday, March 18, 2013

Galvin La Chapelle revisited

In 2005 the Galvin brothers Chris and Jeff started their first restaurant the Galvin Bistrot de Luxe. From that fabulous debut they have gone on to open six more restaurants and two of their restaurants have a single Michelin star. They have also published their cookbook, which I gladly bought, in which they have revealed the secrets behind several of their restaurant dishes. The Galvin restaurants are favourites of ours and we try and eat at one of them on every visit to London. We had booked at the Galvin La Chapelle where we had eaten earlier and you could read about it here.

The restaurant is located in Spitalfeilds which is deep in the City in London. We had intentionally booked for Saturday as the area would generally be shut, and the cab ride was long and expensive. We were welcomed back [all the effective use of a computer programme – no they certainly did not recognise us], our coats taken and we were seated. A glass of Champagne and tap water ordered and we settled into looking at the menus. The restaurant was pretty full; almost 80% I would imagine.

HRH the Queen of Kutch ordered the Seared Orkney Scallops, Confit Pork Belly, Cauliflower and Prunes. A classic combination of friendly complementary flavours. Scallops with Bacon are a classic, but here they used Pork Belly, which is the same cut as bacon. Clever. She pronounced the dish as outstanding. I ordered the Galvin signature dish. Something we have had earlier but I had to reorder it. An open Lasagne with a Crab Mousse and Beurre Nantais which is simply a Beurre Blanc stabilised with some cream. The dish is garnished with chives. Delicious. A Mousse of crab was sandwiched between thin discs of Pasta. A really good dish.

Seared Orkney Scallops, Confit Pork Belly, Cauliflower and Prunes

Lasagne with a Crab Mousse and Beurre Nantais

For our main courses HRH the Queen ordered a Pave of Trout, Squid Ink Linguini, Fennel, Shellfish Bisque. Ok, Pave is a French word for rectangular. So the piece of Trout was to be rectangular. The dish was quite something. Full of flavours, decidedly sea based. Once again a great use of flavours. Fennel, a Shellfish Bisque and the mildly fishy Squid Ink. Great dish.

Pave of Trout, Squid Ink Linguini, Fennel, Shellfish Bisque

I ordered the special of the day. This was Veal with a Garlic Shallot puree with Cannelloni stuffed with Minced Veal on a Tomato Sauce. Before you read further have a look at the photograph see if you notice something. I will come to that in a minute. The dish was full of strong flavours. The Green Garlic Shallot puree was really nice and not at all strong. Combining Garlic and Onion can result in a nasty sauce but not in this case. The Cannelloni was basically a jazzed up Lasagne Bolognaise. You had pasta, minced veal, a Béchamel Sauce and a Tomato Puree, it was a simple as that, but, it was a good and tasty Lasagne Bolognaise.

Veal  [on the right] with a Garlic Shallot puree with Cannelloni stuffed with Minced Veal on a Tomato Sauce

All that was fine but there was the problem. Have a look at the piece of Veal. It is a very small portion. I am not a greedy person but I thought this was a bit rich giving me such a small portion. So I called the server and politely asked if this was a usual serving size? He immediately responded by asking if I was unhappy and wanted the dish changed. I said no I was perfectly happy, but I was surprised at the portion size. What happened next reveals an excellence in service. About 90 seconds after this exchange with the server, the Restaurant Manageress turned up discreetly holding a plate with an extra portion of Veal, saying that the Chef had heard that I had complained about the portion size and therefore he had sent an additional piece. Very well done. The server communicated to someone and immediate action taken and as the cliché goes, victory snatched from the jaws of death. What a decent thing to do. We were both very pleased. Honestly, the portion of Veal originally served was miniscule as the photo reveals.

For dessert HRH ordered the Valrhona Chocolate Ganache, Honeycomb and Blood Orange Sorbet. Very well presented. Honeycomb happens to be very trendy this time in the UK. The Amedei Chocolate Mousse with Caramel dessert at Goring Dining Room also had Honeycomb. I ordered the Mascarpone Cheesecake, poached Rhubarb and Lemon Balm. Very pretty looking with all the white and pink colours on the plate. Good dessert. A Macaroon and dark Chocolate Gnache formed the Petit Fours.

Valrhona Chocolate Ganache Honeycomb and Blood Orange Sorbet
Mascarpone Cheesecake, poached Rhubarb and Lemon Balm
Petit Fours

A most pleasant meal, great looking restaurant, robust flavours and ultimately excellent service.

You can read about our previous visit here..

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