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Galvin - Bistrot de Luxe


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Oh was it? your photos don't do you justice!  We were the noisy pair of women who came in at the same time as you, & whom they hid away at the back.

Oh god I remember. Frankly, I was staggered they let you two in... as to the photos, I cunningly allow myself to look unfeasibly unattractive so at to protect my anonymity.

Jay

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back to food on this thread....

Lunch yesterday was excellent - simple starter of crisp fresh chicory and roquefort, beautifully but simply dressed, followed by the memorable oxtail and black pudding and the St Emilion choc thing. Glasses of Marcillac and Cairanne were happy companions. Staff very caring if slightly frenetic but that's often the style of brasseries.... I'll be back

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  • 1 month later...

Dinner at Galvin last night.

Good points:

Prices - its astonishingly good value - how long can they keep these prices?

Great wine list - strong on regional French - again very reasonably priced

Textbook endive, roquefort salad

Superb daube of venison, quince and chestnuts

Bad points:

The much talked about 'lasagne of crab' - it was just OK, nothing special

The St Emilion au chocolat - fridge-cold, too thick, too almondy

But all in all a fine experience - will go again!

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  • 3 months later...

Dinner on Saturday, I like the room as previously described although our table for 2 was right next to a service station and the waiters talking almost in my ear did not make me a happy bunny. When I saw a table of two depart (we hadn't ordered anything at this point) I asked if we could move. I was politely told that there was nothing available but several table were about to leave and they would come back in a few minutes. They never did. I realise somebody has to sit there but I do think that these position should be better thought out sometimes. In a busy restaurant like this it is very distracting.

The food was decent but not mind blowing. Rachel enjoyed the Crab Lasagne but I thought it to be bound with too much egg which detracted from the crab flavour, nothing special. Fois Gras Terrine was more successful and a decent portion.

A main course of poached Landaise Chicken forestiere was perfectly cooked but the chicken was distinctly lacking in flavour. It was accompanied by decent Gnocchi and a good selection of mushrooms. My own main course was a daube of venison with chestnuts and Celeriac puree. The celeriac puree had been worked too hard and had become gluey to the point that I left most of it. The daube itself was excellent, full flavoured with large pieces of ell flaoured venison.

I forget what Rachel had for Dessert except that it was a pannacotta of some description and I remember it being set just so. A dessert of Apricot Souffle was a standout, perfectly cooked Souffle, light as a feather, well risen, no overcooked bits, no under cooked bits. I would have happily eatedn it without the chocolate poured into the middle. Superb.

Overall I found the food to be satisfactory rather than excellent but aside from my table location enjoyed myself. With a bottle of Domaine la Garrigue Vacqueyras for £29 and a glass of Champagne and 12.5% service the bill came to a little shy of £130.

Incidentally does anybody know where the photos in the Restaurant come from?

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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A main course of poached Landaise Chicken forestiere  was perfectly cooked but the chicken was distinctly lacking in flavour. It was accompanied by decent Gnocchi and a good selection of mushrooms. My own main course was a daube of venison with chestnuts and Celeriac puree. The celeriac puree had been worked too hard and had become gluey to the point that I left most of it. The daube itself was excellent, full flavoured with large pieces of ell flaoured venison.

Interesting they had poached chicken. That's a very unusual dish for London (I assume because whats basically boiled chicken is a bitch to sell to the local clientale). The only other place I've seen it is Lolas when Hywell Jones was cooking.

The problem, as you correctly identified, is you need one helluva flavoursome chicken to pull it off.

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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The daube itself was excellent, full flavoured with large pieces of ell flaoured venison.

A friend had this on Friday. described it as being a bit 'stewy.'

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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The food was decent but not mind blowing. Rachel enjoyed the Crab Lasagne but I thought it to be bound with too much egg which detracted from the crab flavour, nothing special.

Agree completely. I was there just before Christmas and was similarly underwhelmed by the crab lasagne which was a bit 'bouncy' and didn't live up to expectations.

Incidently, I recently had a much better version at Morgan M. This was crab cannelloni - light, tender and delicious with extra goodies in the form of scallops and cockles.

Overall, I liked Galvin and although it wasn't good enough to make me cross town for it, I might be tempted if I was in the area.

Janice

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Agree completely. I was there just before Christmas and was similarly underwhelmed by the crab lasagne which was a bit 'bouncy' and didn't live up to expectations.

Incidently, I recently had a much better version at Morgan M. This was crab cannelloni - light, tender and delicious with extra goodies in the form of scallops and cockles.

Janice

The benchmark haute crustacean pasta thingummy still has to be the lasagne of crab with cappucino of shellfish at The Square right? (the killer ingredient is the strips of fresh basil they drop on right at the end - really makes a difference).

Matt - what lead time did you need for the booking? Last time I swung by late on a Sunday afternoon they claimed they were all booked up. I get the impression now the place is taking off as a decent neighbourhood resto it will be harder to get in, esp on the weekends...

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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i had lunch here last week.

sat under the glass kitchen window and as i arrived early i had time to gape through the window before my guest arrived, plenty of battered cookery books on the shelf sat rather incongrously with the very nicely designed restaurant i was very impressed by the room i thought it might be a bit more 'rustic' for reasons best known to myself!

glass of 'poo to start whilst deliberating over the menu, if it had been on i'd have had the crab lasagne and the oxtail parmentier but unfortunately they weren't.

ended up having steak tartare to start due to an unsatisfied craving from my recent trip to paris and although not bad it wasn't as spicy as i had hoped, but fret not the one i had later that evening at the ivy hit the spot .

Main was a braise of veal cheeks with artichoke puree (i think), was perfectly good though looked a skimpy portion at first glance but given the prices something has to give.

lemon tart to finish

bottle of white picpoul du pinet and a 'pot lyonnais' of red were the drinks although waiters kept trying to steal my white wine glass (eventually succeeding), obviously the switching between white and red is not allowed! Wine list was comprehensive with some interesting regional things too and i liked the glass/pot lyonnais idea too, i mean it's barely worth a waiters time to bring just a glass to the table is it? :laugh:

coffee & calva to finish.

seemed a buzzy place, would make a very pleasant regular haunt i would have thought, very parisian style-y and does pretty much what it says on the tin.

you don't win friends with salad

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The benchmark haute crustacean pasta thingummy still has to be the lasagne of crab with cappucino of shellfish at The Square right? (the killer ingredient is the strips of fresh basil they drop on right at the end - really makes a difference).

The deconstructed crab ravioli at Astrance in Paris is pretty good too.

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Agree completely. I was there just before Christmas and was similarly underwhelmed by the crab lasagne which was a bit 'bouncy' and didn't live up to expectations.

Incidently, I recently had a much better version at Morgan M. This was crab cannelloni - light, tender and delicious with extra goodies in the form of scallops and cockles.

Janice

The benchmark haute crustacean pasta thingummy still has to be the lasagne of crab with cappucino of shellfish at The Square right? (the killer ingredient is the strips of fresh basil they drop on right at the end - really makes a difference).

Matt - what lead time did you need for the booking? Last time I swung by late on a Sunday afternoon they claimed they were all booked up. I get the impression now the place is taking off as a decent neighbourhood resto it will be harder to get in, esp on the weekends...

J

For me the best Pasta/Crustacea dish was the Langoustine Ravioli served by Pierre Koffman when he was at Royal Hospital Road. Beautiful flavour packed, clear spring vegetable broth with a single large Langoustine tail left whole and wrapped in impossibly thin pasta. Sensational and a dish I've dreamt about ever since. :smile:

As for lead time I think I booked about 4 weeks ago.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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The benchmark haute crustacean pasta thingummy still has to be the lasagne of crab with cappucino of shellfish at The Square right? (the killer ingredient is the strips of fresh basil they drop on right at the end - really makes a difference).

The deconstructed crab ravioli at Astrance in Paris is pretty good too.

sorry, meant in London

koffmann thing sounds good. now when is he going to bloody turn up again in this town?

On a philosophical note, the one problem I have with haute cuisine langoustine ravioli, however, is no matter how hard you try to tart them up with truffles an' stuff they always end up tasting like a giant overpriced prawn wonton; sometimes more flavourful; sometimes less flavourful. In fact this is precisely the reaction of my Chinese-American uncle to the Ravioli of Lobster and Langoustine at GR@Claridges "Mmmm. Tastes like a giant prawn wonton" (or words to that effect).

ta

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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The benchmark haute crustacean pasta thingummy still has to be the lasagne of crab with cappucino of shellfish at The Square right? (the killer ingredient is the strips of fresh basil they drop on right at the end - really makes a difference).

The deconstructed crab ravioli at Astrance in Paris is pretty good too.

On a philosophical note, the one problem I have with haute cuisine langoustine ravioli, however, is no matter how hard you try to tart them up with truffles an' stuff they always end up tasting like a giant overpriced prawn wonton; sometimes more flavourful; sometimes less flavourful. In fact this is precisely the reaction of my Chinese-American uncle to the Ravioli of Lobster and Langoustine at GR@Claridges "Mmmm. Tastes like a giant prawn wonton" (or words to that effect).

ta

J

That's because Ramsay minces or chops the lobster and langoustine meat and if I recall corectly utilises (or used to) Lemongrass. Koffmans was special because it remained whole.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Eaten here twice recently both good food and superb value. One exception was Tête de veau which seemed to be a large piece of luke warm fat. The beef tartar I had was a touch too spicy, nice none the less.

I seem to remember the reading the photo's were done my one of the chefs' wife.

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One exception was Tête de veau which seemed to be a large piece of luke warm fat.

Yup, that would be the right preparation

Have had this dish in London at Chez Kristof and at the Troisgros joint in Paris and both times a traditional french tete de veau is a large piece of luke warm fat... well sort of meltingy fat and connective tissue and gelatinousness I guess... like a good pongy andouillette its something you either love or you hate :raz:

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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  • 4 weeks later...

Dinner at Galvin last night. Got lucky with the lead time - I called mid-afternoon yesterday and was told they'd just had a cancellation for a table for 2 at 7pm. Snapped it up.

I’ll start with the food, then move on to service (cue ominous chords). We both opened with lasagne of Dorset crab, pale and quivering. Lasagne itself was pretty good – delicate discs of pasta, almost translucent. Light, crustaceous flavour. The surrounding veloute tasted a little too much of Noilly Prat.

Main courses: for me, daube of venison with celeriac puree. The meat was delicious – dark, rich, and sticky. I think its tendency to ‘stewiness’ is a function of the quantity of sauce they serve, which is substantial. The dish suffers from an overbearing sweetness, I think. The confluence of slow-cooked meat and onions, rich sauce, and butter-laden celeriac bordered on sickliness. There were a few slivers of bacon thrown in, but even these were cured, serving to exacerbate the problem.

Dad had the fricassee of lamb with white bean cassoulet and thyme. I didn’t get at chance to try this, but the lamb was cooked nicely pink and served in a generous portion. I got a decent waft of thyme as it flew past my head.

We split a plate of cheese for dessert, weighing in at £6.50. 6-7 slivers served, including a flavourless Tomme de Savoie. I am unable to list the rest: the waiter was so hasty I though he was going to feed me all 7 pieces at once. Since the restaurant was busy we had difficulty making out the names of the cheeses from behind the waiter’s wayward moustache. When asked for clarification, he became openly irritated and swiftly rushed off.

I’d agree with Matt that the food was satisfactory. However, service was wanting. The first words uttered to us were ‘name?’: no ‘welcome’, no ‘good evening’, not even a ‘please’. The big cheese floor manager led us to our table as though he was doing us a favour by seating us. The actual cheese guy got cheesed off. We were billed twice. I have the feeling that the popularity of the place is engendering complacency amongst the crew. This, and the fact that they are understaffed, significantly detracts from the dining experience. There were a few niggles with the service the first time I visited, but I put these down to teething problems, a defense unavailable to them this time around.

One aperitif, 2 courses each, a force-feeding of cheese, decent bottle of Gewurtztraminer, glass of Banyuls: £100. I do like Galvin, but with the price creeping up to £50 a head, there are better, more polite options around.

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