Galvin La Chapelle

Gold Award
43 Reviews
££££
French

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SquareMeal Review of Galvin La Chapelle

Gold Award

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 pricedofferings 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.  

Good to know about Galvin La Chapelle

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
French
Ambience
Big and bold, Cool, Formal, Quiet conversation, Traditional, Widely spaced tables
Other Awards
One michelin star
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating
People
Romantic, Special occasions

Galvin La Chapelle Also Offers

Galvin La Chapelle
Private Group Dining

Location for Galvin La Chapelle

35 Spital Square, London, E1 6DY

020 7299 0400

Website

Opening Times of Galvin La Chapelle

Mon-Sat 12N-2.30pm (Mon-Wed - 2pm, Sun -3pm) 6-10.30pm (Mon-Wed -9:30pm, Sun -9pm)

Reviews of Galvin La Chapelle

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43 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

David H

Perfectly decent food. I'd question whether the restaurant is special
20 February 2018
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.
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Paul P

Totally overrated.
05 February 2017
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.
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marc C

The Antiques Roadshow
14 January 2017
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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Roger M

Roger
06 September 2016
Excellent food which was well presented and was both flavoursome and well seasoned. Service was good despite the restaurant being very full at the time. Good selection of wines, however, it could be improved by having a few more modestly priced offerings (wasn't much of quality in the £50 to £75 a bottle range, but there are many wines in the £125 plus range and a small selection of considerably cheaper wines - just needs more of a selection in the middle price range). Very pleasant atmosphere and interesting architecture.
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Paul A

A disappointment
11 August 2015
This was a rather uneven experience. The room was impressive, but with a huge number of covers and intrusive airco. The staff showed a distinct variability in performance which, in some cases, amounted to being completely unobservant and uninterested, and in others warmth and professionalism. Another question mark regarding the professionalism of this outfit was squarely placed after the performance of the sommelier who seemed incapable of pronouncing French words comprehensibly, which is seriously ironic given the close links of Galvin with the great Rhône winemaker Jaboulet and the wine pairing with the Menu Gourmand consisting entirely of some of the latter's world-renowned best wines, and yet the young lady who served us to begin with knew just what was required. The restaurant manager, who eventually showed an interest in how our experience was going, was extremely good, but presumably he is responsible for staff training. The seven course Menu Gourmand began with what we were given to understand is a signature dish, lasagne of crab and scallop mousse with a lovely chive-laden beurre Nantais. The main ingredients were nice and the crab did not dominate, the good temperature stayed consistent and the presentation was excellent. At least we were told what that dish was, which was not the case for the next two dishes, which were simply plonked on the table and the servers were away in a flash. We were not impressed by either the ballotine of Landes foie gras, which had been so creamed up as to be difficult to identify, especially from the texture point of view, and which we also found underseasoned, which it had to remain as there was no salt in the cellar, or the "chaud-froid" of heritage tomatoes comprising a slice of beefsteak tomato with some mozzarella in the centre plus a deep-fried ball of some green tomato with an unidentified filling in mine but nothing in my wife's. A one-star rip-off if ever there was one, a verdict offered by the diners on the adjacent table. Pavé of cod followed, accompanied by charlotte potato, peas, cobnuts for crunch, girolles (French) and an interesting vin jaune sauce. The best dish of the evening was the spectacularly presented tagine of very tasty Bresse pigeon on couscous with nuts and olives, a quail's egg on a bed of spinach, a clove of garlic, harissa sauce and a perfectly matching baba ganoush mix. The cheese course, a soft and creamy cow's milk cheese from the south of France, was served with perfect figs and a marvellous complement of crystallised honey. A classic tarte Tatin with Normandy crème fraîche made a decent finale to the meal, which had promised more than it delivered and, given the current emphasis in the restaurant trade on local produce, paid little attention to the air miles factor. To say that the best thing about the evening was the outstanding wine pairing is quite sad, but that was our verdict.
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Anon

Slippery Slope
16 July 2015
Overall the lunch experience was OK, but there were components that didn't come together. Lunched at GLC around a year ago, very dramatic and food and service worked. This restaurant suffers from an "over-waitering" of service as much of our conversation was interrupted by efficient waiting staff. The sommelier was genial, and qualified but appeared to be wrestling when describing the extensive list. The sweetbreads I had were fine as was the chateaubriand for one, a great idea... the deserts were sensational the chocolate and the Mille-feuille were of superior quality. But I did feel that the service required more "seasoned campaigners" rather than "the cheapest in town" We did like the waitress with glasses, who appeared to "get" the customer experience. By the way, I didn't care much for the screaming baby at these prices....
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Mr. Paul B

Expectation gap never as wide as this...
04 June 2015
Given all the plaudits this place (and its owners) has had, and some very good reviews, I was expecting nothing much short of excellence. Wow, how wrong was I... The biggest problem was the food. When your order "lasagne of native blue lobster" you expect there to be actual pieces of lobster in between the layers of pasta - however, not a single morsel of lobster was involved, just a bland mousse that could have been made of any seafood. For £18.50 that was robbery. Then our two mains, beef and lamb, the former for £35 and the latter for £32.50. The piece of beef was the smallest I have ever seen - honestly not more than about 100g, with just a couple of dull vegetable to keep it company. It was also gristly and so despite its size my partner left half of it. The lamb was almost as parsimonious and equally poor in quality. My partner then had tarte tatin, but rather than being unctuous, sticky, caramelly and sweet, with crisp pastry, it was simply baked apples on a thick, doughy piece of pastry - she left half of it. Having seen what came before I fortunately declined a dessert. The wine service was poor, especially for a place that is supposedly a wine place. If you're going to hide the bottle away on a separate table then you need to be on top of things. Having had to ask for an initial glass to be poured after a long wait, our glasses were then refilled either too slowly or too quickly - it just seemed to be whenever the sommelier happened to be passing by, irrespective of the content of our glasses. There was no offer to decant our wine. The front of house service and the bar service were good. The waiting service was friendly (except the sommelier, who was miserable). This place apparently has a Michelin star - all I can say is that if the Michelin inspector had had our meal last night he would have taken his star away with him when he left.
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Ms/Mrs. Toni G

Lunch at La Chapelle
01 June 2015
We had a lovely lunch with relatives that were visitng us from Itay. Since we had a late breakfast the restaurant were very accommodating when we changed our table reservation from 1.30 to 2.30pm and when we arrived, there was no issue with having two courses instead of three of the set menu. We chose the roast beef and there was a small issue with how the beef was cooked; our requests had not reached the kitchen but our plates were removed immediately and all brought out again together perfectly cooked as per our requests. The roast beef selection was excellent served with wonderful roast potatoes and an excellent gravy. There was a lovely atmostphere in the very busy restaurant and the live jazz was a welcome touch. The service was very good with very attentive and friendly waiting staff. I look forward to going again and would thoroughly recommend it. The wine list is a little steep in terms of price, perhaps a few more mid-range wines would be a welcome addition to the wine list.
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Mr. facebook A

28 April 2014
Galvin La Chapelle is one of the best
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Mr. Stuart C

21 April 2014
Bearing in mind just how many people work in a relatively small area, it is perhaps somewhat surprising that there is a lack of top notch restaurants. Maybe it's a sign of the times and diminishing expense accounts but, whatever the reason, Galvin La Chapelle is one of the best. Located in an old church next to Spitalfields gives a lovely ambience and a nice feel when you first walk in. I have eaten there several times, for both lunch and dinner and with clients and friends and it has never disappointed. If there is a criticism, my wife and I often have a last minute early dinner at restaurants that offer a set menu. The set menu here was a little limited but then it probably isn't the main target market. In short, if you're looking for a City restaurant to impress a client or a date, this fits the bill. One extra bonus – it has an outside area for warmer days, something the City needs.
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