Have you heard of the Galvin brothers? They are Michelin starred chefs, and owners of Galvin Restaurants, which spread across Greater London, Edinburgh and Dubai – with a private dining option if you’re on the market for one of those.
Whilst I wasn’t on the private dining market (one day!), I was lucky enough to be invited to review the experience of dining in one of the Galvin restaurants, mainly Galvin at the Athenaeum in London’s Piccadilly.
I really was keen to find out what the vibe was like, and I am not going to lie – I pre-planned what I wanted to order. Yep, I was one of those pretending to choose as if I didn’t download a PDF Menu on the train and didn’t know what I wanted. Oh I knew. I knew. I knew the crab lasagne would be making an appearance on my table. But let’s start at the beginning.
Buzzed by the very refreshing and light prosecco, I waited for my crab lasagne while my date ordered the deep fried whitebait & tartar sauce (£7.50). This was mainly because I banned ordering the same dishes as me. As soon as my lasagne of Dorset crab, nantais butter sauce (£15.50) arrived, I dived right in. The minimal but beautiful blend of homemade lasagne and the butter sauce elevated the crab flavour to a genuinely triumphant level. It was the dish I came have. Could something on the menu beat this? Actually, could anything in my life ever beat this?
The whitebait & tartar sauce was a great starter, but it couldn’t be compared to the starter this restaurant is famous for. In retrospect, I’d probably pair the whitebait with an artisan beer, but on this occasion we happily had the Sauvignon Blanc (Vini Stocco, Friuli, Italy, 2016) which left us in a very happy place.
For our mains we had yellowfin tuna burger, Asian sesame slaw & avocado (£21.50) and Rose county beef rib eye, chips & green peppercorn butter (£28.00). The steak won this round, hands down. Accompanied by the classic Bordeaux (Terre Rouge, Dom. Bonnet, 2016), this was the main dish that made my date talk less and eat more. That’s how you know the food is good – silence at the table, despite a plethora of topics we could be discussing. The tuna burger was fragrant and I enjoyed the avocado twist (who wouldn’t enjoy an avocado twist?), yet I found myself eating everything apart from the bread it was in. I felt it dulled down the flavour and made the burger quite dry, which could work for some, but not for others. To add some moisture back, I sipped on the Galvin Bourgogne Chardonnay (2015), which was a beautiful addition to my very sea-themed meal.
But the time had come to sweeten the deal. After asking the waiter to wait a good 20 minutes before serving the dessert (I couldn’t speak, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think – that’s how full I was), we ordered the apple tarte Tatin, & cider brandy cream (£7.50) and blood orange cheesecake & poached Yorkshire rhubarb (£8). The cheesecake reinvigorated all of my taste buds and left me feeling light and refreshed. The tarte Tatin was brilliant, but I’d advise having it in autumn or winter. It’s much richer, so when it is cold outside, it will hit all the right notes.
Speaking of the right notes – the service at the Galvin was exceptional. The staff made us feel relaxed as if we entered a spa, and that’s how they will make you feel when you visit, which I’d highly recommend you do asap. No, but seriously, you must! The menu is very reasonably priced, and you will get a truly luxury service, without leaving with empty pockets. In London, that is a rarity. I almost regret publishing this review, as I’d love to keep Galvin a secret to myself!
Thank you to the Galvin at the Athenaeum for giving me an opportunity to review your dishes. I was not paid for this – my review is honest.