If you live in London it is hard to justify a quick trip to Paris on the Eurostar because there are so many brilliant French restaurants in London at the moment. Hot on the heels of my sensational long lunch at Cafe du Marche I met up with Londonelicious and American in London for dinner at Galvin Bistrot De Luxe. Both Londonelicious and American in London had been to Galvin Bistrot De Luxe before but they loved it so much that they were happy to make a return visit. A repeat visit from these two bloggers is a true sign of adoration.
Stepping inside the entrance to Galvin Bistrot De Luxe from scuzzy Baker street you are instantly transported to Paris. There are cosy booths with leather upholstery, there is lots of dark polished wood and bistro chairs and there are actual French waiters who are not just there for decorative value but because they genuinely know what they are talking about and will provide you with tip top service.
For the true French experience order Kir Royales to sip as you peruse the voluminous wine list which is overwhelmingly French. Then toss the wine list aside, name your price to your waiter (we suggested under £40 a bottle) and wait to be dazzled with the wine pairings he suggests for your order. Don’t toss the actual menu though, it makes for lovely reading as it is packed full of classic French dishes from snails to souffle. Brothers Jeff and Chris Galvin are the chefs behind Galvin Bistrot De Luxe and they are confident and experienced enough to throw in a few not so classic dishes as well. Crab lasagna anyone?
Drinking champagne cocktails it makes sense to start with half a dozen oysters which are served with a shallot vinigarette. They taste of the sea as they should and are super fresh. Terrine of foie gras is served as a generous pink meaty slab and just a sliver fills your mouth with the full luxurious flavour.
Special mention should go to the daube of beef which is traditionally a French beef stew. Pats of silky slow cooked beef are married beautifully with the pool of creamy risotto which they sit on top of. Galvin Bistrot De Luxe’s take on a Pigeon Pithvier is a round pie of flaky pastry filled with a mixture of tender pieces of pigeon and quail meat. Lovely stuff.
To finish, it is classics all the way. Rustic apple Tarte Tartin is made with chunky apples and caramelised to within an inch of its life so that it is both sweet and sticky. The cheese plate is ridiculously generous in serving and manages to contain a decent wedge of almost every cheese on offer. The only thing that could top this serving is if they had let us at the cheese trolley itself to hack away with our knives. Although this does sometimes happen in Paris I have a feeling that the practice would probably run foul of some English health and safety regulations.
The bill isn’t cheap but it isn’t ridiculous either and for the generosity of the servings and the generosity of spirit of Galvin Bistrot de Luxe it is well worth it. In any event it is a considerable saving on that Eurostar ticket to Paris.
Details: 66 Baker Street, Marylebone W1U 7DJ (Ph 020 7935 4007)
If you liked reading this you will like reading about so many other great French restaurants in London. Cafe du Marche in Farringdon is a brilliant Francophile escape or you can try Cheyne Walk Brasserie in Chelsea for a long Sunday lunch.