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Jam-packed, deafeningly noisy and yet irresistibly romantic, the Galvin brothers’ original hit fully lives up to its billing: ‘it ain’t a bistrot for no reason’, notes one reader, referring to the
bluster-free vibe, hectic pace and sure-footed, ‘very French’ food. Wood panelling and tightly packed white-dressed tables set the tone, and the menu is stuffed full of deftly executed Gallic
classics including juicy snails, steak tartare and daube of beef. The signature lasagne of Dorset crab with beurre nantaise is an alluringly wobbly, generous stack with a moat of herb-flecked cream
sauce (‘small but perfect, much like Kylie Minogue’, notes one drooling fan), and whole fish is a highlight – perhaps lemon sole with brown shrimps, beurre noisette and crisp green samphire. To
finish, make time for the tarte Tatin or accept a visit from the ever-welcome cheese trolley. The good-value wine list is tailor-made for loosening tongues – so be prepared for some cross-table
I was there on an early dining package menu with a group of girlfriends (three courses and a glass of kir royale for £26) and my first pleasant surprise was that this isn't one of those places where those on a "deal" are treated as subordinate to the a la carte customers (I'm glaring at you L'Autre Pied). All the dishes are on their a la carte menu as well so these aren't "specials" using cheaper/ left over ingredients, you are getting the real McCoy. As soon as you enter there is no question whatsoever as to the nationality of the food on offer. Dark wooden floors and wall panelling punctuated by mirrors along with startched white table cloths and wooden bamboo back chairs are unmistakably Gallic. Service is of the old school French variety minus the sterotypical rudeness, in fact all the waiters are rather lovely...
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It’s the sort of place you could take your grandmother. Or someone really dull. It won’t scare them.Unusually, there were a lot of people there over the age of 50 which is always an unexpected pleasure in a Central London restaurant these days especially since I am approaching a milestone birthday of my own and need to know where these places are.Perhaps the oldies like it because this isn’t trendy or quirky and doesn’t have any gimmicks. Or play any music.It’s a simple brasserie, reasonably priced and with competent service. It’s the very first in the Galvin chain and very different to the other Galvin offerings...
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