As expected, Galvin Bistrot proved to be another fine culinary offering from brothers Jeff and Chris Galvin. The restaurant immediately reminds me of high-end Parisian eateries, with the classic dark green leather banquette seating paired with dark wood panelling and starched immaculate white table cloths.
The menu is not enormous, but just the perfect size so as not to overwhelm. Between the two of us, we couldn't resist the temptation of ordering 3 starters of huge garlic butter and bread crumb-stuffed Escargot, meltingly tender and bathed in buttery garlicky goodness. Decadent yet simple Terrine of Foie Gras with toast and gaining a special mention, a first class Lasagne of Dorset Crab with a perfect pairing of beurre Nantais sauce. The lasagne is truly spectacular in it's towered glory, bound with eggs to give it an almost feather-light weightless texture and packed with the beautifully sweet crab meat.
Main course of scallops with Provencale tomatoes and also surpreme of ‘Landaise’ chicken with girolles and delicately creamy fettucine are both beyond sublime. I would just like to say that i NEVER order chicken at a restaurant as I find it terribly disappointing most of the time, but the skilled hands at Galvin restaurants manage to execute flawless cooking of chicken, retaining succulence at the centre and crisp skin on top. Heavenly.
A simple vanilla creme brulee may amount to the most perfect creme brulee I have had to date. The perfect amount of sugar, bruleed to perfect. A creamy rich creme peppered with vanilla seeds and not remotely scrambled or unpleasant like the offenders at so many other restaurants these days. My guest went for the Tarte Tatin which arrived as a enormous portion topped with caramelised apples that were virtually glowing with appeal and soft and made a delicious and sweet topping for the perfect pastry beneath them.
Looking around, the people that ate there seemed to be regulars as the wait staff engaged in conversations with them, addressing them by name. A very dapper elderley gentleman sat on the table next to us and without a word, a glass of champagne was served to him “And what will you be having today Sir?” He orders some oysters and then proceeds to have a salad. Various staff greet him throughout his meal, another patron even stops to visit him claiming “Hello! How are you? My God you are so loyal here, no?” This is the mark of a good establishment. Good food, good service and attention to detail, taking care of people… If only more restaurants in London were a little more like this, we would all be a lot happier!
How the Galvins manage to run 3 incredibly successful restaurants that all serve such wonderful food, consistent both in flavour and high quality, is beyond me. Galvin Bistrot de Luxe is often viewed as the less glamorous venue of the 3 restaurants owned by the Galvins, but having dined there over the weekend I can quite confidently say that if it is real French food (with a few subtle influences from other countries) than you would be hard-pushed to eat anywhere better than Galvin Bistrot de Luxe.
Galvin Bistrot de Luxe
66 Baker Street, London W1U 7DJ