Longing for some French cuisine but don’t know when you’ll next make it to Paris?
The good news is, you don’t have to cross the Channel to get a taste of the City of Love.
Brothers Jeff and Chris Galvin have decided to put their Michelin stars to good use and open up a brand new restaurant in East London.
We caught up with them to find out more…
Tell us about your new Spitalfields opening, Galvin Bistrot & Bar…
Chris: We originally conceived it during the first lockdown; having been through hard times before, we know that people like comfort food, and places where they feel at home.
We used to have a restaurant on Baker Street called Bistrot de Luxe, which sadly shut in 2018, so we wanted to channel its spirit.
Jeff: We love places like Parisian bars au vin [wine bars] and wanted to offer that convivial feel, with classic dishes like steak tartare and escargots. We’ve got a fun twist on the rum baba [a French dessert]…
Chris: …it’s presented on a trolley, then you order it by the inch. You just say ‘when’, then we pour rum all over it.
You’re Essex boys — how did your passion for France and its food come about?
C: As kids we’d drive down to Spain for holidays, going through France. Mum and Dad would stop at roadside ‘relais’ — little hostelries which were mainly for lorry drivers — and they didn’t speak a word of French, so there was a lot of pointing at menus and bravely trying things.
J: Later, we were classically trained in French cuisine at the Savoy and the Ritz, but we still love little bistrots — informal places with paper tablecloths, Duralex wine glasses… you can still find great ones in Paris, often run by chefs who’ve worked at a Michelin-starred restaurant who now cooks with cheaper ingredients, but the same level of skill.
You first opened back in October, then lockdowns two and three happened — does it feel like a whole new reopening?
C: I think we were open for all of 11 days before we had to shut again. But we’ve spent the past few weeks training with the staff and liaising with our regular suppliers who’ve been getting back up and running.
Ultimately, we can’t wait to get back to doing what we love, which is looking after people.
J: We might have to kiss everyone who comes through the door initially!
What’s on the menu?
C: You’ll find seasonal ingredients like English asparagus, peas, broad beans, Jersey royals… we also have a wood-fired oven outside on our terrace so we’ll be grilling the catch of the day. We’ve got fresh-brewed Pilsner from Prague and wines on tap.
J:Now all we need to do is pray for sunshine!
Find out more at galvinrestaurants.com.
Need more eating out (or in) ideas? Try these…
Planning a BBQ? Impress your guests with one of the kabab kits from Persian restaurant, Berenjak. You’ll get deliciously marinaded lamb and chicken, onions and tomatoes to grill, and flat lavash bread to wrap it all in.
The best bit? The 2ft long metal skewers, which will make you feel like a fancy fencer.
£30, serves 2. Available nationwide; berenjakbazaar.com
Posh up your picnic with the new afternoon tea from The Rosebery, the tea-room at London’s Mandarin Oriental hotel.
Located by Hyde Park, just order in advance then collect your hamper full of exquisite sandwiches (such as egg and black truffle, and braised black leg chicken with asparagus), dainty cakes (from pear tart to chocolate gateau), scones, cream and jam, and Champagne.
£140; serves 2. Available every weekend until 17 May; mandarinoriental.com
Finish & Feast
Still not managed to bag a table at your favourite restaurant? Finish & Feast ride to the rescue with their new range of summery feasting menus to make and devour at home.
From Friday 30 April, you can order a South Pacific BBQ feast from Caravan chef Matt Burgess; Lobster and Crab from sketch’s former exec chef Herve Deville; a Southeast Asian feast from Sticky Mango’s Peter Lloyd; and an Indian BBQ feast from Parminder Singh (of former London haunt, Indian Accent).
From £60; serves 2. Available nationwide; finishandfeast.com
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