Anyone that has been following me on Twitter or read my last post will know I have recently become a fan of Cafe A Vin which is connected to Galvin La Chapelle. On our last visit the restaurant manager, Alessandro Piombino, or Alex as he is known, gave us a little tour of La Chapelle. The setting is fantastic, the high ceiling and original features of the building marry well with the modern classic dining furniture. You feel a moment of occasion as you enter La Chapelle, it really is quite a breathtaking venue. I feel it must put a lot of pressure on the chefs to ensure the food lives up to the expectation.
Alex greeted us and showed us to our table. A great table, seated so we could view most of the restaurant. A table we later found out is Sara Galvin’s favourite. My wife enjoyed a Kir Royal while I had a glass of champagne as we perused the menu. It took some time to figure out what I was going to have as I could really have eaten everything on there. Finally we decided:
Escabèche of yellow fin tuna, aubergine caviar and coriander
Ballotine of Landaise foie gras, peaches & Pain d’ épice
Assiette of French veal, carrot & cumin purée, sauce diable
Soufflé of apricot with Valrhona chocolate
Apple tart Tatin, crème fraîche
The foie gras was my choice and the inclusion of peaches in the dish intrigued me. I was not disappointed with my choice. A silky smooth foie gras which was lifted by the sweetness of the peaches. My wife enjoyed her starter too, the Tuna did look fantastic, and two empty plates were taken back to the kitchen. As you can tell, we both went for the same main course after the veal dish being explained to us. This was us being adventurous. The assiette of veal consisted of braised cheek, belly, brain and sweetbreads. Four parts of veal I have never had, in fact I think I’ve only ever had loin and rump. My wife struggled with the brain which I felt was a strange feeling in my mouth but tasted so good I had to eat it all. I actually struggled with the cheek which I found quite rich and sweet with this being my wife’s favourite part of the dish. For me the winner was the sweetbreads. Never had them at all before and something I will be looking out for again.
There was a nice break between the main course and dessert while we finished off our wine (ready for me to have a dessert wine). My dessert came with a glass of 2007 Pacherenc du Vic-Bihl Brumaire, Alain Brumont. A great wine, very sweet which it needed to be with the tart. Oh, that pastry on the tart, just amazing, the apples juicy and caramalised so well. I hadn’t even noticed my wife wolfing down her Soufflé so I assume it was very good. SHe even started tucking into mine. We ended with the usual petits fours, coffee and drinks, a brandy and a port. The petits fours came in a small silver dish, two chocolates and two cherries sitting on a bed of crushed cocoa beans. That smell, I can still smell it now as I was allowed to take it with me, not the actual dish of course. I thought this a great touch though as the cherries carried some of the flavour of the cocoa with them and I think possibly the best, juiciest cherries I have ever had.
I suddenly realised it was about 10 pm and that meant there was table turn around. Considering we sat at 7, I liked this as it meant we could really relax. There was never any rush. It does annoy me that so many restaurants turn their tables round and when you’re paying for what is not a cheap meal, I think it is a cheek to make you leave the table. So well done to Galvin La Chapelle for letting people take their time and enjoy the surroundings and of course the food. I never like putting the price of a meal on here and will just say it isn’t cheap but then it is worth every penny. The staff are just so friendly, welcoming and thank you to them for organising the signing of my Obsession cookbook. I will be seeing some of the Galvin staff again next week at Cafe A Vin (yes again).
Booked via www.toptable.com
Galvin La Chapelle details can be found on www.galvinrestaurants.com
Special mention to:
Sara Galvin, the perfect host.
Julia & Ruby for the tweets @Julia_GalvinRes and @Ruby_Galvin Res
And to Alessandro Piombino, enjoy your holiday.
Our sommelier who suggested a very nice crisp white wine from the Rhone region. Sorry I did not make a note of the wine, I remember it was a St Peray though. We agree with her though that a white Chateauneuf du Pape would go so well on the wine list.