GALVIN BISTRO DELUXE
I am a huge fan of Chris Galvin ( and his brother, Jeff). His was the only tenure where The Orrery became bearable and Galvin at the Windows was amongst my top meals of 2006 even if the cost of a meal for two still gives me the shudders.
So, when it was time again to sit opposite my good chum, Nick for lunch, this was the first and only place on my mind.
It’s a lovely room. The perfect place to linger over an unhurried meal. However, the closeness of the tables does cause problems for those of us God blesses with bladders the size of walnuts. So, every time I, or anyone on our side of the restaurant, wanted to use the bathroom, the whole row had to get up, move their tables and rearrange themselves to make it happen.
A few years ago, I named this phenomenon The Piss Waltz with particular reference, to Blue Hill in NYC, the ne plus ultra of parsimonious table spacing. Well, GBD does not come close to that, but it does almost allow one to become gyaenocological with people neighbouring tables should one so wish and our bread came in contact with the buttocks of a large lady to our left one or two more times than I would consider strictly necessary.
A minor quibble for the chance to try cooking that is, on the whole, of a very high standard.
Starters were simple, but well done. A steak tartar spoke of perfect ingredients and a large salad of endive, walnuts and Roquefort showed just how good a composed salad can be when people put in the effort.
The main courses were more of a mixed bag. Nick’s won out with beautifully fresh halibut flaking in a mound of broad beans and herbs. As good a light lunch dish as you are likely too find. Mine was less successful. Belly pork was slow cooked but not enough of the fat had rendered down so the end result was greasy and left a slick of oil on top of the accompanying sauce. The top layer had a pleasingly crispy crunch to it and it sat on a layer of choucroute which gave off a waft of juniper berry. But, the weakness of the main player let down the dish.
I had pondered on Duck Confit as I always do when I see it on any menu. Seeing one carried passed as I ate my own slightly disappointing dish made me wish I had stuck to my original plans.
We did not have pudding and we stuck to water ( on my part at least because I am still drying out after the bar show) which kept the bill at a manageable £60 including tip for service which was unobtrusive and efficient.
They offer a set lunch of two courses for £15.50 which, for cooking like this represents terrific value. Well worth trying again.