I love Galvin Bistro de Luxe in Marylebone for its convivial atmosphere, its professional service, and its bistro classics served at reasonable prices. So when Galvin La Chapelle recently opened just a few steps from my office, I disregarded this negative review and, last Friday, dragged my friend BK there for lunch.
This post should be taken with a bigger grain of salt than usual because I tried only one dish, but here are my impressions anyway:
- Prices at Galvin La Chapelle are noticeably higher than they are at Galvin Bistro. Although the gorgeous, soaring-ceiling interior of La Chapelle sets it apart from the cozy, homey interior of Galvin Bistro, I recognized one or two dishes on La Chapelle’s menu from Galvin Bistro’s menu. For example, both places offer the Dorset crab lasagne, but La Chapelle’s version costs about 20% more (based on what I remember from my last visit to the Bistro two months ago).
- The service at Galvin La Chapelle was gracious and friendly. I initially felt slightly out of place among the business-suited crowd eating leisurely lunches, but our server chatted us up and made us feel quite welcome. BK and I had to get in and out at a reasonable hour, so we skipped starters and shared one dish: the roast cote de boeuf, truffle macaroni and Hermitage jus for £53.
- The beef was sliced and served tableside, perfectly medium-rare. It was all quite a to-do. The slices of beef were juicy to begin with, drizzled with the intense jus, and served with gelatinously-fatty bone marrow and sweet, creamy roasted garlic. The watercress was there to make us feel less unhealthy, I suppose.
- The accompanying truffle macaroni, which I’d expected to be a throwaway item, was all comfort and earthiness. I loved the combo of bite from the cheese and the smooth cream, and I could actually taste the black truffle. So for once, the truffle wasn’t just for show.
Our lunch cost about £31 a person for just a main course and a drink, which made for a rather pricey lunch. I can’t say the meal was good value, but I also don’t feel ripped off. Our cote de boeuf was delicious and filling with the well-executed sides; the room is beautiful; and the service was fast and friendly. I’ll keep La Chapelle in mind the next time I’m in need of an elegant meal out, but I suspect my next lunch is more likely to be at the cheaper Cafe de Luxe next door.
Galvin La Chapelle, 35 Spital Square, E1 6DY; 0207 299 0400; closest Tube station: Liverpool Street