The Galvin brothers are siblings extraordinaire. Chris was the opening head Chef at The Wolseley and Jeff took on the role at Marco Pierre White's 3 Michelin starred Oak Room. They have 5 restaurants in London, 2 in Edinburgh and 2 Michelin stars. In May they will open yet another restaurant at The Athenaeum when it completes a refurb. Still, they find time to run Galvin's Chance, giving young, disadvantaged adults a chance to get into the hospitality business. It is a brilliant program, “galvinizing” those with neither training nor employment, and changing their lives. I just love that!
The full Galvin range is beautifully presented at 35 Spital Square. The new pub is attached to Michelin starred Le Chapelle. Noise, beer and hot dogs in the one, degustation and elegance in the other. It seems the brothers needed to come back down to earth from their starry heights, and they have. The food is simple in the extreme. Even seasoning is kept to a minimum. The emphasis is on good quality, well sourced ingredients with equally good, well informed service.
First we sampled a glass of Pilsner Urquell. The original pilsner, it is unpasteurized, fresh, slightly tart, with a beautiful bitter finish. A pint and a gourmet hot dog is pick o' the week at £15!
The Galvins also have 2 eponymous wines on the menu: a Chardonnay from Bourgogne and a Grenache/Syrah blend from the Rhône valley, both at £9.60 a glass. The white was a great glass of wine. Citrus and apple with a buttery finish. This was particularly good with our smoked salmon starter (£10.50). The salmon had a beautiful smokiness and was only lightly salted. Served with rye toast and some cress.
The lovely spice and hints of prune in the red wine lost out to an extraordinarily dry finish. A Malbec from Cahors (£6.80) was smoother, fruitier and easier to drink.
Portobello mushrooms stuffed with a brie and herb crumb (£7) were well executed and ample, but lacked wow factor, the brie offering little kick.
An 8 oz Herdwick PDO Barnsley chop (£17) sounds a bit highfalutin for a pub menu. Herdwick: a pure breed of sheep. PDO: protected designation of origin, in this case, Cumbria. Barnsley chop: a double loin lamb chop. The point is, this meat is certified and fully traceable. A really good chop! Served with a silky smooth peppercorn sauce. I poured half on the meat and drank the rest.
Spiced yoghurt marinated poussin (£15) was cooked to perfection. Tender, juicy and reminiscent of tandoori.
A sticky medjool date pudding (£5) had a good balance of sweet and spice but could have been warmer. The Valrhona chocolate choux bun (£5) was a fab take on an éclair with the great taste of dark cocoa in the pastry and a super light cream.
I'm nearly ready to convert to Galvinism. An invitation to review the new restaurant at The Athenaeum would clinch it!