Michelin Starred French restaurant in the City
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : French
Address : 35 Spital Square, The City , London, E1 6DY, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.galvinrestaurants.com/s/61/galvin-la-chapelle
Opening Times : Mon-Sat: 12pm-2.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm; Sun: 12pm-3pm, 6pm-9.30pm
Closest Tube : Liverpool Street
London has its fair share of opulent settings but occasionally you enter a space that really pumps the breaks in your heart. Galvin la Chapelle is one such venue. Francophones should be able to deduce that the restaurant is situated within a church, but this isn‘t your garden variety village chapel. The staff at reception must be accustomed to guests wandering in and staring up gormlessly into the vaulted ceilings crosshatched with iron joists. Just underneath, yawning Romanesque windows swallow in a glut of natural light. Circular iron chandeliers set within one another offer a bit of modernist class, while marble pillars and white tablecloths offer the old-fashioned sort. Simply put, it‘s one of the most prepossessing rooms in the city.
However, you can‘t win a Michelin start by resting on design laurels. The Galvin brothers have been a force to reckon with in Britain mostly because of their food, and the kitchens‘ performance during a Thursday lunchtime visit was nothing less of incandescent. Upon wending our way into the deep pocket of a booth, we were quickly offered a pair of champagne flutes to unwind with as we considered the menu.
For anyone not au fait with the Galvin brothers, they came up working in some of the best British kitchens of the 1980s and 1990s, working for Marco Pierre White, Anthony Worral Thompson and Terence Conran with stints at The Ritz, The Lanesbourough, The Capital, The Greenhouse and L‘Escargot. They‘ve spent the better part of the last two decades crafting their own culinary empire, with restaurants in London, Edinburgh and their hometown in Essex. At Galvin la Chapelle, their eclectic take on French fare has earned them countless plaudits and critical adulation, in addition to the aforementioned star.
The kitchens were firing on all cylinders during our visit. A starter of fried Galician octopus was given a mock Spanish treatment, enveloped in a paper-thin batter and served with a beautifully textured saffron and chorizo arancini, red pepper and squid ink emulsion. The cephalopod was given the VIP treatment - some of the best octopus we‘ve had in recent memory. Veal sweetbreads were similarly toothsome, served with creamy butternut square as well as a sherry and pistachio velouté.
A rack of Herwick lamb was given a Moroccan twist, served with a friable pastilla, heritage carrots and new season garlic - it hit the top notes harmonically. Cumbrian chateaubriand was butter tender with king cabbage and Roscoff onion. However, the dish that nearly emptied my tear ducts was the apple tarte tatin - a Galvin signature - which must be the Platonic form of the famous French dessert. Before we wrap this up, we‘d be remiss not to mention the semi-private dining room at Galvin la Chapelle, which swoops up into the nave and presides magisterially over the rest of the church. It‘s certainly one of the best we‘ve come across in the capital.