2nd July 2015 – 6.45pm
I made an impromptu visit here with a friend that I had not seen for almost ten years. After coming here a few times (including their massive Sunday lunch), I knew this was a safe bet for great food. There is a good range of food on offer on the menu and covers a range of prices. The restaurant has a very French feel, with a central bar area that shows off some of the seafood. My friend put the helpful waitress through her paces, not only asking for recommendations on which cut of steak is best to have rare but also about types of wines that would meet her preferences. Once advice was sought, we ordered. I went for steak tartare maison (no surprise) followed by lemon sole with a side of Chantenay carrots. My dining companion chose the crab tagliatelle followed by a sirloin steak, a side of fries and a peppercorn sauce. Bread was brought to the table which was tasty and the butter soft enough to spread. The wine was brought in a delicate carafe. The eye to detail is high here, as when my friend went to the toilet, she dropped her napkin and picked it up and placed it back on the table. A waiter noticed this and discretely took the napkin and replaced it with a fresh one.
When the starters arrived, I knew I would be happy with the steak tartare as I have had it here before and it didn’t disappoint. I still maintain that this is the best tartare I’ve eaten in the capital. It was fresh and zingy, with the ingredients cut finely rather than coarsely to provide subtlety. The egg was incredibly creamy and bound the meat together well. The toast was not overdone and held well against the meat. On the other side of the table, the crab tagliatelle was being enjoyed. It is unusual to see crab with tagliatelle rather than linguine. She said that there was a gentle level of aniseed running through the dish.
I had been advised by the waitress upon ordering that the lemon sole was served on the bone. I don’t mind this too much with fish where it slides off the bone such as this one. The fish was quite large and covered in capers and lemon. Luckily I like capers quite a bit but it might have been a bit much for some diners. I did find the fish a touch overdone but only a little. The capers added a nice dimension, not just to the fish but to the accompanying crushed potatoes. The lemon wasn’t intrusive but brought the best out of the fish. That side of carrots were lovely and buttery but were perhaps too much for me to eat on my own. My friend’s steak was cooked as requested and seemed to be enjoyed. Again, the side of fries was quite large for one but she had a good go at demolishing them.
Although our intention was to also have dessert, we just couldn’t manage it. Desserts I’ve had here before have also been tasty. Overall, Galvin offers a high standard of dining in a relaxed setting.
Food – 8/10
Service – 10/10
Atmosphere – 9/10
Value – 8/10
Overall – 35/40
Cost – £95 for two starters, two mains, two sides and a glass of wine