Christmas menus London, party menu London, Fine dining Galvin Restaurants
Ah, August - the height of summer! London by turns swelters and sulks as passing phases of glorious heat and sunshine trade places with the inevitable showers and days of sullen grey overcast. So what could be on our minds right now? The Summer Sale we have going on of course where we're offering some stunning menus at La Chapelle, the Bistrot and Galvin HOP! Also, with the opening of the grouse season just appearing in the rear-view mirror, our Glorious 19th sees the return of this most noble bird to the menu after a week's grace to let them hang and achieve perfection before they reach our table. This marks the turning of the season in the kitchen - the harbinger of autumnal treats to come and a new season's produce to create with. So to go back to our original question, what are we thinking about? Christmas of course! Yes, hold your sighs and pronouncements that it comes earlier every year - we've been doing this a little while and the booking enquiries for the following year before the tinsel is even down from the tree - we like to give things a little time before diving back in so it's in July we start to workshop our Christmas menus in out London restaurants; then, by the time August comes around, we're certain we have the best range of fine dining Christmas menus in London. It's a gruelling job for each head chef as we're sure you'll realise - the sun beating down outside and the kitchen an inferno of preparation and service, they must cast their mind in to the chill depths ahead of them and think what will charm and delight a winter palette - what dishes can be made to fire the imagination and provide something deliciously different but also give a nod to the traditional staples which the season demands. No, menu preparation is a difficult balancing act at the best of times, but when one has to think six months ahead and source produce to trial it with in a seasonal kitchen, well - you can see how thoughts of that office Christmas party booking are further from their mind but in fact have to be considered most carefully. So, what have the teams at La Chapelle, Bistrot de Luxe and Galvin HOP been cooking up in their summer break? What will be on the Christmas menus in London for 2017? And, while we're at it, that other staple of the season - New Year's Eve - which restaurant will hit the sweet spot for you this year? Well, let's see what they have come up with!
La Chapelle is a feast for the senses, whatever the season, but it is undeniably a stage fit for a grandly welcoming Christmas party! Anyone who has visited during the festive period can attest to the team's assiduous decking of the halls with not just boughs of holly but a cavalcade of Christmas goodness from bespoke mixology at the bar to the best fine dining Christmas menus London has to offer. What's being served up this year? First, the Prix Fixe menu - home to three courses of Michelin-starred seasonal goodness for £34.50 per person1 Terrine of Highland game with quince puree vies for attention with mille-feuille of smoked & poached salmon and its accompanying horseradish cream, while also trying to fend off the veloute of salt-baked celeriac with truffle sabayon. And that, as they say, is just for starters! Ringing in the main courses is hand-made linguini with pied blue mushrooms, closely followed by crisp fillet of sea bream with cauliflower puree and braised endive & raisin dressing. Last but by no means least is a pot-roast supreme of pheasant, richly redolent of winter forests and ably accompanied on the plate by choucroute and pommes puree. The diner, now hopefully suitably sated set fair by the winds of friendship and conversation at the table (ideally accompanied by some well-chosen wine pairings) is faced with the enviable choice of finishing their meal with a Vacherin Mon't d'Or to lash creamily over a crispy baguette, a Valrhona Manjari chocolate mousse, rich and dark as sin and complimented sweetly by honeycomb & marshmallow, or of course a traditional Christmas pudding, drenched in Armagnac butter. Decisions, decisions! This is all before we even touch on the private dining menus, boasting Risotto of Perigord truffle, Jerusalem artichoke & wood sorrel, Supreme of Landes chicken, roast salsify, sprout tops & Alsace bacon, and of course apple tarte Tatin with Normandy creme fraiche - amongst other epic choices. Hungry yet? You can see what a terrible task it was for the team to conceive, test and re-test these menus - their dedication to the craft was as admirable as the skill exercised in creating them. With Christmas accounted for, what does the diner or party-goer want from a New Year's Eve restaurant? The feeling at La Chapelle was unanimous - we go for a gala dinner featuring classic dishes drawn from our treasured favourites alongside some new twists and all served up to the tune of the evergreen Ray Rich band, playing from 9pm until 1am - pausing of course to salute the turning of the year!
Onwards then, to Bistrot de Luxe, where Chef-Patron Chris Galvin and Head Chef Max Osborne have joined forces to create the sort of menu which songs are written about. Of all the Christmas menus in London, this is the one which combines traditional bistro cooking with the European Christmas ideal most keenly but without ever straying in to cliche. The Bistrot itself too is a joy at Christmas time, never better than when bustling and full of happy diners and a touch of tinsel adorning the classic dark-wood interiors. A glance through the window into the kitchen might reward you with one of the senior staff sporting some serious festive headgear. Might. You'll have to join us to find out... Anyway, onto the best Christmas party menu in London - or menus plural! The Christmas Prix Fixe is three courses of festive joy for just £17.50 at lunch or £21.50 at dinner - talk about value...! Starters include soupe a l'oignon with gruyere croutons, salad of Roquefort cheese, caramelised walnuts and endive or of course the eternal favourite lasagne of Dorset crab, beurre Nantais. When we reach the main course the comfort reaches glorious levels with slow-cooked rib of Cumbrian beef, heritage carrots, winter greens & hermitage jus going toe-to-toe with grilled aubergine, Basque pepper fondue, Neal's Yard yoghurt, coriander & mizuna, Seared fillet of sea bream, crushed Ratte potatoes, samphire, bouillabaisse & rouille and caramelised, laquered Goosenargh duck breast, bok choy and heritage carrot with ginger & coriander - an agony of choice...! Class ic side orders are available and then it's on to dessert where Valrhona chocolate tart with tangerine sorbet goes up against oeufs a la Neige "Snow eggs" with praline rosé and creme Anglaise and the mighty truffled Brie de Meaux. A more richly wonderful Christmas menu you will not find we think, in London or beyond!
Last but by no means least we head to Galvin HOP where Christmas is a way of life through November and December - thanks in no small part to the festive joy to be found in our Winter Garden! Hidden away in the space between HOP and La Chapelle, this great festive space offers the perfect spot to gather friends, family, or even the office Christmas party - booking is essential! A veritable Christmas wonderland, it is heated and decked out with all winter party accoutrements and can seat up to 20 people in style or accommodate 50 standing for drinks and canapes. From 1st December Christmas parties can be booked with a variety of menus tailored to your style of gathering - whether snacks like scotch eggs, pork scratchings and cocktail sausages with honey and whole-grain mustard, or hearty mains like Galvin Dog Deluxes, spiced Herdwick lamb, steak with onions & mushrooms pr salt & pepper squid with garlic mayonnaise. Dessert brings childhood favourites to life given the Galvin touch – richly decadent chocolate brownies, seasonal fruit doughnuts and chocolate choux buns make the choice a deliciously difficult one. New year's eve will bring Disco Fever to HOP, with a choice of early or late sitting, disco music all night long and a prize for the best-dressed which is always fiercely fought for.
So that's what we're thinking about this August, now that you've had the details, wouldn't you be too..?