|Last Orders||Mon-Wed 10.30 pm, Thu-Sat 10.45 pm, Sun 9.30 pm|
"I feel I have to stick up for this joint, even if its prices are now a bit betond my reach. I've been going there for ten years and the food has alwayd been excellent, although perhaps a year or two ago it was resting on its laurels. Ive just come back from a superb Sunday set lunch, beautifully cooked beef, a fantastic starter of salmon tartare with a potato gazpacho dressing like a chantilly cream, and a paris-brest peanut butter doughnut desert. All for 29 quid and a pot lyonnais of good cotes de roussillon for £22. Excellent."
"Better to choose from the a la carte menu as the table d'hote lunch is uninspiring."
"After ten years still our favourite London restaurant. Excellent service with friendly, knowledgable and attentive staff. Good wine selection with convenient 475 ml "pots" and food, as always, impeccable. Here's to the next ten years."
"Excellently prepared traditional French fare. Service that manages to be attentive and classy while staying friendly and unfussy."
"War, friendly and consistently very good"
"Excellent meal as always Escargots first rate"
Fancy jacking in corporate life and striking out on your own?
Brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin did just that. They've left their safe - and good - jobs, as head chefs at The Wolseley and L'Escargot respectively to set up this 'bistrot de luxe' in the anonymous environs of Baker Street.
The premises that were once Anda have been totally made over in a sombre-hued traditional vein: all wood panelling, dark slate and white linen. The aim is presumably to evoke a gentlemen's club or perhaps a continental brasserie like Racine, but the look has ended up a bit swish-international. Like a Four Seasons hotel.
Such 'corporate' styling seems odd for such a personal venture (the pictures, by sister Sarah being an honourable exception). And this rather 'safe' impression carried on into the cooking. The classic dishes were impeccably well-mannered. But, if they are truly going to 'wow', such artfully simple creations need real depths of flavour that, at least on this visit, was only intermittently present. Where is that ingredient X they kept back for the time when they would going to be their own bosses?
I don't wish to carp. My main course - a black pudding and oxtail dish - was outstanding. And this was only their second day in business for heavens sake! The Galvin brothers have quickly created a professional all-rounder at fairly modest prices in a thin area. And the overall style - including the slightly stiff service - will doubtless evolve as things settle in.
If I were to say something to them I'd say this. If your aim is a bistrot, even a 'de luxe' one, it shouldn't feel serious (or corporate). You've broken out guys: so lighten up.
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