Brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin’s rapidly expanding empire now boasts two Michelin Stars, one at Galvin at Windows, and one at Galvin La Chapelle. Bistrot Galvin de Luxe on Baker Street, now into its 6th year of operation, is where it all started. Voted French Restaurant of the Year 2008 at the London Restaurant Awards, and awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand 2008-2010 (but not, conspicuously, in 2011), it too is much-decorated and highly regarded.
The restaurant doesn’t profess to be a fine-dining establishment. Rather, as its name indicates, it aims to serve high quality, simple, bistro dishes, at good prices. The restaurant is designed and decorated in keeping with this theme – in the mould of a typical Parisian bistrot. At £17.5o for a 3-course lunch Menu Prix Fixe and £19.50 for dinner (between 6pm-7pm), it definitely lives up to the second element of its objective, even if ordering off the a la carte can inflate the bill somewhat. The first part, however, is always more difficult to achieve.
Eager to sample the best that Bistrot Galvin de Luxe had to offer, I gave the set menu a miss, and went instead with a starter of Lasagne of Dorset crab, crab bisque, the restaurant’s signature dish, followed by a main of Caramelised veal brains, beurre noisette. The lasagne was excellent. The sheets of pasta soft and delicate; the fine crabmeat sweet and abundant; the bisque light and full of flavour and, crucially, devoid of the fishy taste that can so often afflict seafood bisques. It was a thoroughly satisfying dish that would easily grace the menu of restaurants with far greater pretensions. The veal brains too was an unqualified success - beautifully crisp and caramelised on the outside, soft and supple on the inside, with the crunchiness of the croutons, the creaminess of the mash, and the lovely jus; it was a wonderful contrast in textures and flavours. Dessert, Apple tarte Tartin, crème fraîche was perfectly acceptable, but I’ve had better.
Service was faultless – friendly and efficient, attentive but not over-bearing, they even apologised for the long wait for dessert – it wasn’t that long at all.
In a nutshell…
Delivers exactly what it promises – quality bistro food at reasonable prices, better than pretty much anywhere else in London that purports to do the same.
Bistrot Galvin de Luxe
66 Baker Street, London, W1U 7DJ
120-122 Holland Park Avenue, London, W11 4UA
Average Price: £20-£30