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St Botolphs Hall, 35 Spital Square
020 7299 0400
Set in the “atmospheric” surrounds of a grandiose converted Victorian chapel, this Michelin-starred, Grade II-listed high flyer from the Galvin brothers comes complete with stone archways, iron chandeliers and awe-inspiring “ecclesiastical vaulted architecture”. As such, it provides a suitably lavish backdrop for a menu of highly worked, “expertly prepared” and intricately presented dishes culled from the lexicon of modern French cuisine – from the signature Dorset crab lasagne with creamy beurre nantais and pea shoots or pressed terrine of Landes guinea fowl, foie gras and Bayonne ham with sauce gribiche to tagine of Bresse pigeon with couscous, confit lemon and harissa sauce or poached chicken breast with herb gnocchi, kale and sauce suprême. To conclude, the perfectly caramelised tarte Tatin with Normandy crème fraîche is a must, while the enviable cheese trolley provides the perfect excuse for a glass of Hermitage La Chapelle from the mighty French-led wine list – although a few more “modestly priced” offerings would be appreciated. Some dissenters find Galvin La Chapelle “bland and deeply earnest”, relying on “snob value and French-derived gravitas”, but we’re with those who reckon it’s a triumph in the City.
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From: 01 October 2018
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St Botolphs Hall, 35 Spital Square
020 7299 0400
Liverpool Street Tube Station 205m
Liverpool Street Station 438m
Liverpool Street 280m
Mon-Sat 12N-2.30pm (Mon-Wed - 2pm, Sun -3pm) 6-10.30pm (Mon-Wed -9:30pm, Sun -9pm)
The Gallery at La Chapelle: Situated on the mezzanine level overlooking La Chapelle, this semi-private area seats 10-16 diners, who are served by a dedicated waiter. Choose from a selection of set menus, with wine recommendations from the head sommelier. Minimum spend £1,000 (lunch) and £1,500 (dinner).
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
Our first visit at a weekend lunchtime . We each chose three courses from the a la carte menu and enjoyed a
light Loire red from the lower reaches of the list.
I enjoyed my lasagna of crab in a decent beurre blanc. Proper Michelin star cooking. My wife's smoked salmon-based starter wasn't a dish that would test a good kitchen- more assembly than cooking she felt. The main courses of venison and lamb were again cooked and presented at the level you'd expect from a 1* restaurant. So tasty enough without offering up the intensity of flavours one would hope for, and get, at some restaurants towards the top of the one star spectrum. And here's a theme we'll come back to. We both elected to have the rhubarb souffle. We both enjoy souffles and love rhubarb, so there was a lot of anticipation of its arrival. The actuality though was a bit of a let down. The souffles were nicely textured, but whilst there was a general fruitiness and good colour , the flavour of rhubarb was sadly lacking and the overall impression of the dish was disappointing. Decent bread and coffee and we enjoyed our bottle of San Nicholas de Bourgueil. Service was pleasant , helpful, and timely throughout and the meal was paced nicely.
So how can I best draw conclusions? Well whilst the food we ate at La Chapelle was pleasant and certainly within the range of expectations we have for restaurants with a star, we would not put it towards the top of that range. In short there are similarly rated restaurants where our experience tells us to expect better food than we ate at La Chapelle. Places like Pollen Street Social, Fera, Murano spring quickly to mind.
But here's the problem. La Chapelle's pricing ( our bill for 3 courses, bottle of wine and coffee for 2 came to £218)seems to us to be very close to these restaurants that we think, in our experience, serve up superior food. The food quality and ingenuity here is more comparable with restaurants such as Trompette, the Glasshouse, Chez Bruce, Kitchen W8, and which in general terms offer food of comparable quality as La Chapelle but at lower prices in our view. So, for us we'd suggest that you can get somewhat better food in London for similar prices if you're looking for something very special, or comparable food for a smaller bill if you want something a bit more approachable.
The Chapel itself is in some respects very nice, high and airy. But adding a mezzanine certainly detracts for us. Its sort of like eating in a church, but not quite. Will we go back? Unlikely. There's a lot of restaurants in London with a star and this one doesn't really stand out in terms of innovation, quality of cooking or value. I think there's others as yet untried by us, that would be further up our priority list than a return here.
Food + drink: 2
This restaurant epitomises all that used to beset the London restaurant scene. At the insistence of the restaurant we did not arrive before 10pm due to the restaurant being "fully booked". Odd that when we arrive only around 50% of the tables were occupied. Apart from the sommerlier, it was pretty clear that the staff did not want to be there and at best were ill informed on the dishes they were serving. Two waiters tried to describe what was on the plate but neither quite got it. The food was average to good but way over priced by London standards. The signature crab ravioli had a lack lustre appearance with some very wilted leaves on top. But this is definitely not a four star restaurant and is offensive to the other Square Meal four star restaurants which are streets ahead of this.
Food + drink: 4
If 'The Antiques Roadshow' did restaurants, it would be like this.
The bland, overpriced experience of a bygone 1990s London, when punters were still finding their restaurant legs - when we needed to rely on snob value and French-derived 'gravitas'.
But London today is too exciting, and London restaurant goers are surely too confident, to need Galvin Lachapelle? It's perfectly nice; just dull.
Nice staff. Nice food. Like you could get at any posh restaurant. But not a single thing to set it apart. All deeply earnest. The people running this place should be inspired by its ecclesiastical vaulted architecture. Sadly, they seem to be cowed by it.
P.S. They really didn't need to keep pouring the wine and the water so over attentively. My friend and I are able bodied people who came to eat and talk, not to be interrupted every 3.7 seconds for medical rehydration.
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London Restaurant Festival - 3 courses & a glass of Brut English sparkling wine £38 per person
Michelin star Sunday lunch - 3-course & a glass of Nyetimber £38
Michelin star menu du chef - 2 courses & a glass of Nyetimber £34
7 course tasting menu & a signed cookbook £85 per person
7 course Vegetarian Tasting Menu and a signed cookbook £55pp
7 course Vegan Tasting Menu and a signed cookbook £55pp
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