Sitting where Spitalfields meets big business, this “exclusive” Michelin-starred outpost of Chris and Jeff Galvin’s empire is a beacon of warm hospitality and superb cooking among the City’s soaring glass and steel towers.
Housed in what was the Grade ll-listed St Botolph’s Hall, the restaurant itself is a magnificent space of soaring ceilings, marble columns, curving arches and huge windows. There are studded leather banquettes, candles and flowers, plush drapes, a shimmering cocktail bar and a glass and metal staircase leading to the mezzanine floor. It’s magic, a destination not just for City slickers but couples, families and friends.
“Ambience and service are top class”, notes a fan, 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 melting seared foie gras keeps company with glazed figs and crunchy granola. Elsewhere, tender Bresse pigeon is spiced with harissa, confit lemon and garlic.
As well as a lavish carte, Galvin La Chapelle offers a cracking Sunday lunch, tasting menus and seasonal events such as a grouse dinner, but also note the bang-on-trend vegan and vegetarian menus. These seven-course extravaganzas feature skilful and delicious dishes ranging from melon soup with fresh almonds to courgette flowers stuffed with quinoa or freekeh grains with basil, pine nuts and roast vegetables.
The comprehensive wine list favours the Old World over the New – so choose accessibly priced tipples by glass and carafe, or trawl through the fine Champagnes, Bordeaux and Burgundies. You can also splash out on a 1975 Château d’Yquem at £1,750 or delve into the impressive vertical tasting of Hermitage La Chapelle vintages from 1952 to 1990 – although you’d probably have to sell your house.