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Galvin La Chappelle

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Quite a few lines have been written about this place and we were really looking forward to a visit before Xmas but had a change of plan.

Still better late than never.,

The main room itself is simply stunning, vaulted ceiling, massive arches, a not out of place newly constructed mezzanine with private dining for twelve, so the punters can gaze down at the plebs in wonderment.

This area also houses the very posh toilets, so lets hope that the only thing that they get sniffy about is their lofty perch.

Interlinking the old and the new,(restaurant proper and Cafe De Luxe)is a wonderful glass area where you can while away the hours eating and drinking.

Prices for the mains are quite a bit cheaper here although some of the starters are a bit on the steep side.

We were held up in traffic and phoned to let them know we would be late, needless to say after an hour of stop start journey I was a bit stressed but the room and the staff quickly put us at ease.

About thirty diners including loved up Times columnist, Giles Coren, his lady, Esther, and doting inlaws were also partaking the ambiance.

I guessed that this was his day off as all the talk from the table was of the forthcoming wedding and things like seating plans etc,etc.

We wish them well.

Warm salad of red legged Partridge, pomegranite, game vinaigrette, (£8.50) was my choice, and,

Lasagne of Dorset Crab, veloute of chanterelles (£11.50) for the lady.

Both very, very good dishes, mine especially was superb.

At this juncture I have to pick fault, with the bread ,or should I say distinct lack of it.

Brown sourdough is not everyones choice by a long way, so please guys at least offer a choice. If Kitchin W8 can offer a choice of three meet me half way and make it two :wink:

Mains were, Tagine of Bresse pigeon, aubergine puree, and harissa sauce.(£22.50)

Saddle of Denham estate venison, braised red cabbage and blackcurrant sauce. (£22.50)

Hugely enjoyable food, my Tagine was served in the traditional pot but not like the one I bought in Morocco this one was very posh and clearly cost a bomb, don't ask I,m afraid I can't remember the maker, sorry

Just to be a bit picky the aubergine puree needed perking up and the quails egg was well, only really for show.

The venison dish was totally delish, not oversweet but just right,

Mille-feuille of Yorkshire rhubarb, rhubarb sorbet (£7.50)

Apple tart Tatin, creme fraiche.(£9)

Personally I think the desserts are a bit on the steep side although it has to be said the sticky, chewy, very moreish Tatin is most certainly enough for two.

My Mille-feuille (again a hearty portion) was satisfying although not quite up there with the rest of the meal.

Whilst we were enjoying ourselves at table, a glimpse through the open kitchen witnesses bottles of champagne being poured into a pot (four or five bottles) and no, the chefs did'n't taste it. Its explained to me that this is for the champagne vinegar.

Geoff Galvin had a day off last Sunday but need not worry because sous Zac Whittle (24) and his three helpers did not let him down they turned out some really good food.

Service was as you may expect was good, not overly attentive, just enough.

Alain Ducasse mentioned recently that London's dining scene is very exciting, we could not agree more, our two meals last weekend were top notch and comparable to loads of Michelin meals that we had last year.

In fact I'll stick my neck out again :unsure:

OK, I won't :laugh:

Giles Coren's article in todays Times prompted me finally to get around to writing up my take on this place, enjoy.


"So many places, so little time"



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Thanks David, sounds right up my street - I've booked in for Thursday for a pre-Valentine's meal!

Hope you enjoy it

Andy Hayler visited recently, he did'n't enjoy it quite so much as me, however he eats out a lot more than me.


"So many places, so little time"



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Had an absolutely cracking meal here last night.

The venue is stunning, a lovely space which manages to be intimate but also spectacular. I kept looking up to the rafters.

We booked an early table but weren't rushed through the meal.

Often I've read up on a restaurant so much I kind of know what to expect when I get the dishes. I felt I'd already eaten the lasagne of crab with chanterelles several times already from reading reviews. But I had to order it anyway and I was well impressed. The crab filling was packed with vivid crab flavour and the texture, a bit firmer than a mousse was perfect. The veloute was also great.

Hannah had the salad of vegetables and goats cheese. Cooked and raw beetroot, sweet baby leeks and baby carrots with some lovely goats cheese. A class act (although I do worry about food miles at this place). Oh well.

I had to order the tagine of pigeon with harissa. I was genuinely blown away by this. This came in a beautiful tagine and the ingredients were neatly deconstructed. The two breasts of Bresse pigeon was the standout ingredient. Beautifully tender and absolutely delicious. Cous-cous was lifted with some very pungent olives. The harissa added welcome heat. A sliver of preserved lemon, some confit garlic and a cigar-shaped pigeon pastilla was also on the plate. Aubergine puree, spinach and a quails egg were probably not necessary but I ate them gratefully. Definitely a stand-out dish for me, I could eat this again and again.

Hannah had the sea bass with salsify, capers and raisins. The fish was well cooked. I thought this was perhaps a little pedestrian as a dish but serves her right for ordering it as it did what it said on the tin.

Pudding was rum baba which was about as alcoholic a dessert as you could ever want. The cheese trolley was tempting and I got a very generous portion of some top-notch French cheese. The Epoisse virtually climbed onto our table. I was surprised to see Vacherin Mont D'or there (I thought it was over by now) but it tasted great. I'm sad to say that on a good day, a plate of well-kept French cheese still knocks our British offerings out of the park despite my love of our local Midlands/Welsh cheeses.

Bill was £170 including a bottle of Innocent Bystander 2008 Pinot Noir, 2 glasses of champagne and dessert wines which whilst on the high side I thought represented good value for the meal we had.

I've got a couple of pictures which I'll add a bit later.


Edited by nickloman (log)
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  • 7 months later...

I ate in the café last night - we shared two starters - pappardelle with hare ragù, and butternut squash risotto with sage and curds. Both were really excellent - the hare deeply savoury, just like the best Italian home cooking and the risotto extremely light and delicate yet still tasty. We did consider having two more starters as mains, but went for the tarte flambée - I think it had been forgotten as when it eventually arrived after two reminders it wasn't well-enough cooked, so was a bit flabby. The bacon/cream bit tasted fine though - it was a shame it didn't come with a nice endive salad or something. The wine was from a good list, and all in all I thought it was a cracker.

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  • 4 months later...

Just went here last Friday, had the Menu Gourmand plus the matching wines, £105 each. The wines were nice but nothing outstanding but overall suited each course. Food here is absolutely delicious and we could not fault anything, particular standouts were the Perigord Truffle and Jerusalem Artichoke risotto and the pigeon tagine, which as mentioned before is something you could eat again and again and matches delicacy with intensity in a way you don't often see. Gorgeous room, buzzy atmosphere, a perfect restaurant and ideally located 2 minutes from Liverpool St station for those out of towners who live in glorious Essex ;-) The only negatives are that there is no cutting edge here other than perhaps the pigeon but when food tastes this good, who cares....and the winelist has the usual ridiculous markups especially on the eponymous Hermitage La Chapelle (I looked up the 1995 on Wine Searcher which they had here for £850 and you could buy it for around £50!)

Edited by Gavin Convery (log)


"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

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  • 8 months later...

Sunday lunch here yesterday.

Two starters of terrines, a more basic game one from the fixed price menu and a softer, more subtle and complex guinea fowl, ham hock and foie gras one) were impressive indeed.

A grouse was excellent, though not as good as others I've tried this year.

A simple dish of lamb, green beans and fondant potato from the prix fix had a deep flavour, a stunning dish as part of a £25 menu.

The famous rhum baba' with chantilly cream (vanilla) did not disappoint (big alcohol punch, ethereal dough), and for the prix fix dessert we chose a well presented and well kept cheese that I didn't know (Chaource).

Service was extremely well organised, relaxed and charming, what a smooth machine. Maitre d' on the day was from Aberdeen and we ended up discussing the cheapest way to get to Scotland - which identified us as cheap bastards and terminated his hopes of selling us expensive drinks :smile: .

This place reminds me a little bit of Koffmann's, although not quite at the same level. I wouldn't say it is fantastic or worth regular long trips, but it is worth trying once if you are far, and worth returning if you are close. Here kitchen, FoH and ambiance combine seamlessly to yield a pleasant, relaxing experience. We spent around £150 including very well made coffees, water, an a la carte and a prix fix menu, and a wine in the forties. Tempted to return for the tasting menu.

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