Galvin la Chapelle… Where did the service go?

CALL me French, call me picky, call me direct but if there is something that I don’t like when I go to a restaurant and that is when the service fails.

We all have our moments when we’re tired, when feigning a smile is easier than saying a proper hello, when staying away from a social conversation is the better than seeming bland and unengaged. I’m the first to have been through these moments. More than once, even.

But when it comes to going to a restaurant, a service you pay for, you expect a smooth experience where all you have to worry about is choosing the right dish. ‘Eat and relax’ should be your motto of the moment.

Galvin la Chapelle has built-up a good reputation since its opening at the end of last year and the cuisine from the two brothers has received very good reviews.

The venue is beautiful and, like entering in a church, there is a certain atmosphere which demands respect. Respect for the food, respect for the people, respect for the work.

But unfortunately, the service didn’t seem to agree. I know that it is hard to judge from a one-time experience but this one time is the one that you remember.

No toast for the foie gras, no bread for the main, no wine suggestion before the mains were served, rudeness from the Maitre D’. They may be details but they spoiled the feast.

And the feast was delicious. The whole meal was really a success.

The Lasagne of Dorset Crab, velouté of chanterelles was presented in layers, as a Shepherd’s pie. Even though the dish was quite rich as a starter, it was smooth and creamy. A promising introduction to the meal.

The tajine of Bresse pigeon with Aubergine caviar and Harissa sauce was an explosion of flavours. The pigeon pastilla, the quintessential Moroccan dish, was perfectly cooked with good tenderness. The spicyness of the coucous and the smoked taste of the aubergines gave the whole dish a very good kick full of flavours.

The Parfait of Seville oranges, sablais biscuits was a pleasant introduction to spring. The herbs and the slightly grilled oranges looked like butterflies flying on the plate while the parfait was creamy and light with a fresh orangey taste.

Despite a disappointing service, Galvin La Chapelle is a place to go for the quality of the food and the beauty of the place. It was sunny outside that day and once we left the place, smiles were on everybody’s face. A very good sign.

Galvin la Chapelle
35 Spital Square
London E1 6DY
020 7299 0400

Galvin la Chapelle on Urbanspoon


17 thoughts on “Galvin la Chapelle… Where did the service go?

  1. Oh shame, shame.
    Great food and poor service and I won’t be back.
    NOt quite as great food but truly excellent service and there’s a good chance I will be.

  2. You’re right, I actually liked my meal there and would have enjoyed the whole event had it not been for the service that was pretty horrific.. and it wasn’t one thing, it was a series of tiny hiccups, mistakes and rudeness *sigh*

    Well, the food was good 🙂

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  4. what the hell, should you have eaten your foie gras w a spoon, like a pud’? they should know, and be told about their service. tsk tsk sorry it ruined the good food for you.xshayma

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  6. Like Sasha, this is the first I’ve heard of rude service (and I had a positive experience at La Chapelle a few months ago). How was the maitre d’ rude?

    No toast for foie – that’s definitely unusual, but then again, even when foie/liver dishes generally come with toast, it’s never *enough* toast, so I always end up asking for more. When places say no (like they did at Great Queen Street), *then* I think they’re rude.

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  8. You’re all crazy, of pretentious french.
    If people don’t smile at you it’s probably because you don’t smile at them.
    La Chapelle is one of my favourite restaurant in London and I’ve always have a perfect service.

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