Galvin La Chapelle puts the fine into fine dining…
Over recent years, dining out has become less of a treat and more of a regularity, with dining standards slipping in favour of faster service, more offerings and busier bookings. And while sometimes you want a bit of fun, a louder atmosphere, quick food and somewhere for a casual bite with friends, sometimes you want more than that. And the place we can recommend is Galvin La Chapelle – a French Michelin Starred restaurant in the heart of Spitalfields.
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As soon as you enter Galvin La Chapelle, you just know you are somewhere special. In a day of phones and devices constantly in hand, we spend all our time looking down, necks crooked, however here makes you stop, put that device away and look to the ceiling. For the sheer beauty is just surreal. Set in a building that is hundreds of years old (and originally set to become a church) the vertiginously high ceiling is decorated with glass panels, deep wooden beams and beautiful chandeliers that emit a warm, cosy glow. Galvin La Chapelle is special in that way. It is fairly large in size, yet intimate in its manner, meaning there is enough atmosphere you make you feel animated, yet without it feeling overcrowded.
Tables are draped in soft white tablecloths with chairs in dark tones and candles flickering playfully in the centre. As we arrive our waiter leads us to a beautiful round table and hands us a glass of champagne while we peruse the menu. The menu encapsulates “polished French cuisine underpinned by a classical base and given a light modern gloss” as stated by founders, acclaimed chef brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin. And this is true. And so much more. Starters such as Lasagne of Dorset crab and Charred Galician octopus, imbue a whole myriad of flavours and are as beautifully presented as they taste. There are plenty of veggie, meat and vegan options so no matter your dining preference you will find what you want and more. Mains are again, varied and interesting. The Roast chateaubriand of Cumbrian beef – accompanied by a soft truffle mash, rainbow chard & pied de mouton is a real highlight to the menu, while the Risotto of Summer vegetables with feta, soft herb salsa & Summer truffle is a deliciously colourful treat imbued with flavour.
If you like your fish, this is a real speciality here, otherwise you can try a meat such as pigeon if something new takes your fancy. And if you don’t leave room for dessert, it’s something you’ll live to regret for the rest of your days. For they are utterly divine. The Valrhôna chocolate pavé melts upon the tongue, the accompaniment of macerated cherries and caramelised white chocolate both sharp and soothing to the palette. Opt for the buttermilk panna cotta for something delicately light and creamy, or if savoury is your forte, the cheese board is a fine choice – and can be accompanied by a flight of three wines carefully selected by the sommelier.
Galvin La Chapelle truly is that something special. It’s something you turn to when nothing else will do. It will wrap you under its wing, lead you to the cosy glow of the lights and provide not only a backdrop to a perfect evening, but a menu that will leave you counting down the days until your next special occasion just so you can dine here again. It’s somewhere to take your partner, your parents or your friends and somewhere you will find becomes a marker of which to measure all future dining exploits against. All we can say? Good luck as you have to be pretty damn special to beat Galvin La Chapelle.
Galvin La Chapelle
35 Spital Square, London E1 6DY