Plenty of London restaurants wax lyrical about the history of the building they reside in, but the former life of this Michelin-starred outpost of Chris and Jeff Galvin’s empire is obvious from the outset. Housed in what was the Grade II-listed St Botolph’s Hall, the restaurant’s “absolutely stunning” dining room features double-height ceilings, marble columns, curving arches and huge windows.
You might expect a restaurant of such grand proportions to feel cold or devoid of atmosphere, but Galvin La Chapelle is the opposite, the undeniable warmth of the room buoyed along by plush drapes, gorgeous floral arrangements and candle light. These accents also ensure that La Chapelle doesn’t only appeal to City slickers, with the restaurant being a viable destination for date night or celebration dinners with family and friends.
Service achieves that winning combination of “attentive, but not overly so”, while the cooking combines timeless French technique with a light, modern touch. Lasagne of Dorset crab involves homemade pasta encasing a rich buttery mouthful of shellfish, while seasonal favourites such as loin of venison are cooked to perfection.
Elsewhere, velvety tagliatelle is crowned with white truffle and the pleasing crunch of toasted breadcrumbs, while dessert sees tarte Tatin (made with Pink Lady apples) served with a smooth dollop of Normandy crème fraiche to cut through the stickiness.
Alongside Galvin La Chapelle’s à la carte, you’ll also find an excellent three-course Sunday lunch which features the likes of roast rump of Cumbrian beef with Yorkshire pudding, roasted potatoes, carrots and green beans, while multi-course set menus with optional wine pairings are ones to save for a special occasion. While La Chapelle may be rooted in tradition, it’s not afraid to keep up with modern tastes either – note the dedicated vegetarian and vegan menus.
Excellent food deserves to be matched with wine that is just as impressive, so you’d do well to choose from La Chapelle’s extensive selection, which ranges from accessibly priced tipples by the glass and carafe, to Champagnes that clock in well above the £1,000 mark.