Galvin Bistrot de Luxe Marylebone
I’ve always regarded Galvin Bistrot de Luxe as the spiritual home of Chris and Jeff Galvin’s restaurant group. It’s a take on the classic French Bistrot both in terms of the menu and the restaurant’s interior with an emphasis on the ‘Luxe’ in relation to the food offer.The brothers have recently taken over the restaurant at the smartly refurbished The Athanaeum Hotel (see my review) and also just opened is Galvin HOP, their pub in Spitalfields. So I’m pleased to have been invited to review the beating heart of their burgeoning gastro empire to see how it’s faring. The room is classical Bistrot style; dark wood and cream with comfy bentwood chairs and Art Deco touches. Fiona and I scan the menu which speaks of largesse and good sourcing whilst sipping on a citrussy glass of NV Galvin Grande Reserve Brut (£12.50)…and some deliciously light cheese Gougères. I should also mention the bread and butter; the bread had a wonderful texture and a light malted flavour and the crust was crisp and intense. The butter had that rich freshly made taste and wasn’t overly salted.My Lasagna of Dorset crab, Nantais butter sauce (£13.50 ) was a silky, eggy (in a good way) pasta with its fluffy crab and scallop interior doused in a soothing citrusy chive and butter sauce. It’s a cardiologist’s nightmare but who cares when it’s this good. The dish is a Galvin classic and I order this plate of wobbly deliciousness whenever I can.I moved on to a glass of 2014 Galvin Chardonnay, Vincent Girardin (£7.50). It was buttery and full bodied which could probably be a description of the whole meal! The Chardonnay was a great match with my poached Atlantic cod, orange braised endive, juniper and rock samphire (£24.50). The fish was firm textured and the bitterness of the chicory was sweetened by the orange.Fiona’s 2015 Galvin Rasteau, Domaine la Soumade Rhone (£7.50) was bursting with blackberry flavours and was perfect for her beautifully plated tender honey-glazed Magret duck breast, beetroot, the highly prized Grelot onion and pomegranate (£25). The mains were both classic dishes but served with an original twist. Waxy Ratte potatoes were slathered with the iodine burst of a seaweed butter and ranks of green beans were crisp and …buttery! (£4 each).Apple Tarte Tatin and Normandy crème fraiche (£8) was a sultry take on Les Soeurs Tatin’s classic dessert; thick slabs of caramelised apple sitting on a flaky pastry base.I really like Galvin Bistrot de Luxe. It is an eminently civilised space that delivers on all levels but with a twinkle in its eye. The restaurant offers an amazing value Prix fixe with 3 courses for £15.50 at lunch and £19.50 for dinner so de Luxe dining is for once accessible to all. Galvin Bistrot de Luxe is a place for grown up fun and we all need a bit of that every so often.