Dinner for two, without wine, £100
There will not be a more impressive dining room in London than Chris and Jeff Galvin's latest opening. Following the success of Galvin at Windows on the 28th floor of the Park Lane Hilton, the brothers last year converted a Grade II-listed chapel near Spitalfields market. With soaring, exposed brick walls up to the criss-cross of beams in the timber roof, marble pillars and velvet drapes, it is so unlike a City dining room that nothing quite prepares you for it.
Smaller alcoves at the side provide intimacy while a private dining area for 12, on a mezzanine above the kitchen, adds a modern touch with all its gleaming glass and steel. After such a jaw-dropping entrance, there's significant pressure on the food. But a gorgeous, delicate lasagne of Dorset crab, with a buttery velouté of chanterelles, kicked things off memorably. A terrine of duck confit and foie gras with red-onion marmalade hit the spot, too.
The mains provoked some plate-swapping as food envy took over. The duck breast, oddly cut into chunks, came in a classic blend of braised red cabbage and apple. But plaudits went to a tagine of squab pigeon, which was a work of art. The tender pigeon on a bed of couscous was surrounded by a smooth purée of aubergine and spinach and served with a bowl of fiery harissa. The cheese trolley, loaded with French farmhouse varieties and a chilled chocolate fondant, arrived with banana yoghurt ice cream, raising smiles all round.
If you can't make it for dinner, a three-course lunch is a steal at £24.50. Just go—if only for the fabulous dining room.