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The Galvin brothers’ quietly stylish Café a Vin is ‘like an old friend’, say fans who drop by regularly for a Francophile fix. In contrast to grand La Chapelle next door, this place has all the
trappings of a genuine French bistro: bustling service, smart wooden furniture, parquet flooring and a polished-metal bar, plus a menu of ‘gorgeous’, honest Gallic fare. We’ve been impressed by
textbook tarte flambée, escargots and rock oysters with shallot vinegar, ahead of wood-roasted plaice with caper butter and Saddleback pork burger with choucroute and pommes allumette. Prix-fixe
menus are admirable for this affluent part of town, while the compact wine list takes a whistle-stop tour of France, with a handful by the glass or ‘pot’. There’s live piano music twice a week, and
a delightful garden terrace out back.
Galvin Café A Vin is the casual sister restaurant of the Michelin starred Galvin brand and sits next to La Capelle, another Michelin brand in the Galvin chain. The café is a much more casual restaurant that offers all day food and drink serving wood-fired dishes of meat and fish as well as some of the Galvin signature bistro dishes, with an emphasis on quality and service.We came here for lunch on a sunny warm day and asked to sit on the terrace style seating on Bishops Square provides a French continental atmosphere. The service was welcoming and professional...
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Having visited La Chapelle, and able to confirm that it deserves its plaudits, it was time to try out its more casual (and less expensive) little brother. The Cafe is connected to (and can be accessed through) La Chapelle, but has it’s own entrances, with 2 main internal dining areas, and 2 terraces, one facing Spitalfields Square, and the other, more secluded terrace on another side.While supposedly less upmarket than La Chapelle, the Cafe also looks rather stylish, with a very smart brasserie style and large zinc bar inside. The terrace facing the square is bustling on a nice day, and great for people-watching, but we opted for the quieter (on a Sunday evening) side terrace (which adjoins a smart terrace for La Chapelle.) It’s a lovely space, with plenty of greenery, heaters and uplighters, and feels far from the madding crowds...
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