The Galvin Brothers' more elegant destination for modern French cuisine, an airily opulent room and service as smooth and lush as béarnaise.
Brother Jeff’s patch of the Galvin empire, La Chapelle is no mere branch of Baker Street’s Bistrot de Luxe, but an altogether more elegant destination for modern French cuisine. Look at the 100ft-high vaulted ceiling for an inkling of the building’s former life as a parish hall – it’s now Grade II listed. Deeply padded brown leather chairs and crisp linens add to the sense of airy opulence.
Service is as smooth and lush as béarnaise, with staff persuasively suggesting champagne aperitifs, offering another delve into the excellent bread basket, and pointing out the menu’s signature dishes – lasagne of Dorset crab sounded too good to refuse. Classic assiette of lamb (including a nutty fried sweetbread, stuffed courgette flower and shallot purée) worked better than the intriguing combination of roast salmon with white peach, mussels and verjus beurre blanc. Sunny fruit flavours were put to more effective use in a starter of foie gras ballotine with cherries and spiced brioche, and banana and passionfruit soufflé with white chocolate sauce.
The restaurant claims to have the world’s largest collection of Hermitage La Chapelle, with bottles dating from 1952. Without a City bonus, wine prices may seem unkind, but the cheapest red (a Portuguese Ribatejo, £22) is a big, smooth wowser. We like the more casual next-door Café a Vin very much too.