Restaurant review

The Galvin brothers’ Café à Vin offers a delicious taste of France in London

Although London and Paris might be a Channel apart, London’s Michelin-starred Galvin brothers Chris and Jeff have re-created a delicious corner of France with their Café à Vin venture.

My companion and I stepped in to the lobby next to the Galvins’ fine dining La Chapelle restaurant, and admired the zinc bar and panelled ceiling. Seated at a padded banquette corner table across the wooden parquet, we chose from a concise, mouth-watering menu to a backdrop of gently tinkling ivories.

I started with a half dozen rock oysters (£12), accompanied by a crisp Touraine sauvignon, while my companion enjoyed the starter special of the day – artfully written in swirling liquid chalk on the elegant overhead mirror – in the form of salt and pepper squid (£7.50) with a chilled glass of Picpoul de Pinet.

My main course special of John Dory with braised artichoke and fennel (£16), served drizzled in warm butter strewn with capers, plump golden raisins and toasted pistachios, was paired by the sommelier with a white Burgundy. My companion’s seared bavette (£15.50) came with ‘pont neuf potatoes’, which turned out to be crisp-yet-fluffy chunky chips that made a classic pairing with her steak and Rhône Valley red wine. Desserts of rhubarb cheesecake (£5.50) and a cheese plate (£8) were a luscious full stop to a very Gallic meal.

Eve Middleton

Galvin Café à Vin

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35 Spital Square, London E1 6DY

Tel: 0207 299 0404

www.galvinrestaurants.com

Main courses from £8.50