Michelin star restaurants in London Galvin Restaurants
We started 2016 with the doors closed for the last time on our more casual Spitalfields home, Café a Vin, something of a landmark amongst casual London French restaurants. The doors only stay closed long enough for our skilled team of craftspeople to refit the interior before it re-opens on its new incarnation as Galvin HOP – our first pub. HOP was born out of the desire to embrace beer pairing, casual dining and the influences of both British and French cuisine on both of those things. More than that it is a desire to keep looking for new ways of doing things, new ways of offering guests things which will delight them. When we launch HOP officially on January 27th, it is with foaming pints of fresh, unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell from shining copper tanks installed above the bar and hot dogs which were the fruit of six months of research and development.
Next door in our Michelin-starred restaurant La Chapelle, thoughts moved on from hot dogs to something rare and remarkable enough to mark the extra day given to us by 2016’s status as a leap year. The decision taken was to hold a natural wine dinner so head buyer for the group Andrea Briccarello set to working with head chef XXXX to create pairings worthy of only coming round every four years.
Inspired by February’s wine dinner, head chef of Bistrot de Luxe Tom Duffill joined Andrea Briccarello at the Real Wine Fair at Tobacco Dock. This event is the highlight of the calendar for Natural wine aficionados and Tom whipped up a storm in the temporary kitchen creating casual dishes to match with the lively and vivacious selections Andrea curated.
Meanwhile, in Essex, the brothers started brewing up the next project in the shape of the renovation of The Green Man, a country pub near Chelmsford. Seemingly a world away from Michelin starred restaurants in London, The Green Man had been closed for several years and fallen into disrepair as a result. The deeds were signed and work began – taking great care to respect the original and enchanting features of the building while adding much more to it. The pub sits amid a sizeable bit of ground too and to give form and shelter, 300 beech trees needed planting. In this situation, you could hire landscaping contractors, or you could gather a dozen chefs, front of house and head office staff and make it into a day out – can you guess what happened?
At the Guild of Craft Chefs Awards, Chris and Jeff were honoured for their contribution to the London restaurant scene over the last decade and more with the Special Award. It’s not for prizes that they, and we all, do what we do but nod and a little something for the mantelpiece never hurts either. It’s a buy month as the annual Tarte Tatin competition comes round again where all comers can take on the classic recipe in a bid to have their name engraved on the ceremonial mould ket at Bistrot de Luxe, while at the end of the month another new opening - Galvin at the Athenaeum. Set in the ground floor of the iconic Piccadilly hotel and part of a multi-million pound refurbishment, Galvin at the Athenaeum marks a second collaboration for Galvin in this way, just a few minutes’ walk from the first on the 28th floor of the Hilton Park Lane, Galvin at Windows. A different style of dining from the Michelin-starred restaurant on the top of the tower, Galvin at the Athenaeum steps away from the French influences of our other restaurants and celebrates the rich tapestry of British recipes and culinary traditions.
The Bar at the athenaeum also comes under our watch and, with the help of leading international bar consultant Giancarlo Mancino, is created as a haven of bespoke cocktails. This process also bears fruit at the original Bistrot, giving it what few French restaurants in London have – drinks such as the Claypot Negroni - Manchino Vermouth Rosso, VII Hills Gin, Nardini bitter - or a Scattia Koniks Tail vodka, Chartreuse, marjoram, East Imperial Ginger - plus many more classics given a Galvin twist. As well as these delights, the big screen in Le Cellar relays action from Euro 2016, as do the newly added projector and big screens at Galvin HOP which kick-start a summer of top-flight sport at Galvin.
To celebrate Bastille Day at Bistrot de Luxe, Head Chef Tom Duffill takes a trip to Paris to gather produce for an exclusive one-night-only menu. Not only are the ingredients as authentic as it’s possible to be, but the menu itself is created with guest chef Vincent Maragone of celebrated Parisian restaurant Chameleon. The two chefs take a tour of the markets of Paris before returning to London to cook up a suitably celebratory menu which fuels an unforgettable evening of Liberte, Egalite and Fraternite in Baker Street.
High summer in London sees the return of some grand traditions of ours and the continuation of a spectacular summer of sport as the Rio Olympics get underway. The first of our traditions is the Galvin Gastronomic menus at both La Chapelle and Bistrot de Luxe. Each August we like to give each head chef the challenge of creating a five course tasting menu showcasing our best and then serve it for £29 per person. At the risk of being immodest we think it’s fair to say that these menus have joined the foodie calendar, as what other French restaurant in London, or Michelin-starred restaurant in London for that matter, offers so much for so little…? On top of this, both restaurants once again celebrate the opening of the grouse season with a very special dinner on the glorious 19th. Yes, this is a full week after the first birds are shot and in years past we have joined the rush of restaurants looking to take a bird which was shot that morning on the table in London that evening. Experience has shown though that this unseemly haste denies the bird a full chance to shine so these days we wait to select the best examples which have been aged to bring out their fullest flavours. 2016 brings some truly magnificent birds and makes for a genuinely Glorious 19th! Meanwhile at Galvin HOP, the festival of sport which is the Olympics raises temperatures on the big screens as we cheer on Team GB. It must have helped as they go on to an historic medal haul and 2nd place overall!
As the first shades of Autumn creep into the leaves around Chelmsford, the finishing touches are added to the new roof on the Green Man. Menus are being finalised and excitement is palpable – not just with us but with locals who can see the progress being made. Meanwhile, over the border in Hertfordshire, another of our projects is reaching fruition as we proudly open the doors on Galvin at the Centurion. Located in the magnificent Centurion Golf Club and spearheaded by Jeff, who develops the menus and presents a spectacular opening night personally, Galvin at the Centurion gives diners the chance to enjoy not just top-flight food but also world-class 18 holes as well! Also, for those who watch Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, September brings an episode where Britain’s first Michelin-starred brothers make an appearance…
October sees great celebrations as both La Chapelle and Windows retain their place amongst the Michelin starred restaurants of London – a huge credit to the teams at both restaurants and we couldn’t be more pleased. At Windows, as a part of a project with the Korean Tourism Organisation, we celebrate Halyu - the New Wave of Korean culture – for the whole month. Joo Won creates a unique Korean fusion menu, taking in Korean ingredients and traditions and marrying them with classical French techniques. In the bar a special cocktail is created to accompany Korean canapes which can be ordered while taking in the exhibition of Korean photography which adorns the walls for the month. In Chelmsford, we are nearly ready to open the doors on Galvin Green Man and hold a series of locals nights to introduce ourselves to the neighbourhood. We can’t help but be bowled over by the warmth of the welcome from the community and count the day until opening proper!
November began with the launch party for The Green Man and we opened its doors officially on November 7th. Eight months, £3 million and a whole lot of love went into the refurbishment and to see it all come to fruition is a glorious thing. Set in 1.5 acres of Essex countryside alongside the river Chelmer, The Green Man is a proper pub which serves proper beer and proper pub food, jmade with local ingredients. Opening night saw friends, family and locals mix enjoy the pub together, along with members of the Essex cricket team. It was a wonderful way to start and a return home for Chris and Jeff – from French restaurants in London back to a pub in their native Essex. A little later in the month our Harrods home, Demoiselle, completed its move upwards within the Knightsbridge institution to the fourth floor. From its new home in The Conservatory, Demoiselle now not only has elegant French cuisine but also an enviable view over the heart of London. Meanwhile, over at La Chapelle, a magnificent lunch was the setting for the announcement that the restaurant is now an official ambassador for our long-time friends at Maison Jaboulet Aine. Their top wine, Hermitage La Chapelle, was the inspiration for the restaurant’s name and Caroline Frey, winemaker for the family-run Jaboulet was smiling as much as Chris and Jeff were at this wonderful occasion.
We closed out the year with a festive whirl as each restaurant celebrated Christmas in its own inimitable fashion. Our truffle brie made a very welcome return and we had a hard job keeping up with orders for it from our gift shop. New Year’s Eve saw three different styles – at Bistrot de Luxe we got groovy, at La Chapelle things were jazzy while at Galvin HOP we went back to the 90’s. All in all, 2016 has been a momentous year for us and we would like to thank everyone – all of our hard-working staff and of course wonderful guests, for making it so. We’re looking forward to an even brighter and bolder 2017!