What: An old-school French bistrot that draws inspiration from the bar à vins of Paris and Lyon.
Who: Brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin, who have opened Galvin Bistrot & Bar in the space adjacent to their Michelin-starred Galvin La Chapelle that previously housed pub concept Galvin HOP. The pair have drawn inspiration for their new opening from their sorely missed inaugural joint venture Bistrot de Luxe, which launched 15 years ago and closed in 2018. Galvin HOP was launched in 2016 as the respected duo significantly expanded their operations, but is understood to have closed last year. Alongside La Chapelle and Bistrot & Bar, the Galvin portfolio currently features Galvin Green Man in Essex and the Michelin starred Galvin at Windows in Mayfair.
The food: Galvin Bistrot & Bar offers a concise, changing menu of seasonal dishes, with the brothers continuing to follow their ethos of serving ingredient-led dishes that rely on a close network of farmers, fishermen and suppliers. Retaining an element of nostalgia, a number of 'signature' dishes from Bistrot de Luxe feature, including the steak tartare; and confit of duck with cassoulet beans and fresh flat leaf parsley. New dishes, meanwhile, include a cod and lobster brandade; pavé of cod with leeks & mussels in a mouclade sauce; and slow-cooked beer braised pork cheeks with a black pudding parmentier. The menu is substantial, with other notable highlights including Jersey oysters served with shallot vinegar; entrecôte steak and frites with smoked garlic butter; and calves liver with Alsace bacon and pomme purée. Prices across the board are approachable, with starters generally priced between £6 and £8, and mains between £15 and £20.
The drink: Founder of East London based Uncharted Wines, Rupert Taylor, who once undertook a trial shift with Chris and Jeff many moons ago, has sourced the wines from small vineyards across the world with La Chappelle sommelier Stephen Nisbet curating the Galvin Bistrot & Bar wine list. Alongside bottles of different vintages, there are also a number of wines on tap and available by the glass starting from £6. The restaurant also offers ‘brewery-fresh’ Czech Pilsner that's stored in burnished copper tanks suspended above the bar.
The vibe: Like the bistrots of Paris and Lyon, Galvin Bistrot & Bar adopts a classic look that's rich with mahogany, and offers both bar and table seating. Simple and elegant, the walls are adorned with choice vintage art including a fetching portrait of the Michelin man.
And another thing: Neatly adding a sense of theatre to the end of the meal, a dessert trolley snakes its way from table to table throughout service, with diners able to order their Baba au Rhum - that's served with crème Chantilly - by the inch, and watch as it's doused in their lashings of Navy Rum.
35 Bishops Square, Spital Square, Spitalfields, London E1 6DY