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Galvin HOP – A Tantalising Galvin Bistro in the City:
On the edge of Spitalfields, Galvin HOP is more than just a backdoor to Galvin La Chapelle. My first visit, for the Galvin HOP Brunch was lively and, I thought, extremely good value for food that was closer to lunch than breakfast. So, I didn’t hesitate when I was invited back to try their dinner menu of bites, little plates and big plates (their words not mine).
In the meantime, Galvin HOP has had a makeover. Out has gone the traditional pub/bistro styling and instead there are funky chairs, the sort you or I might aspire to for a contemporary dining room. There’s modern art on the wall too.
I liked it – somehow everything seemed brighter and lighter.
There is a sense of humour about the food on offer in Galvin HOP. It’s colourful and bursting with flavour. If it wasn’t for the bleak weather outside you might imagine yourself in Spain or the Caribbean rather than a bistro and bar in the City. And, what’s more, everyone smiles. I’d defy anyone to come here and leave in a bad mood.
We started with ‘bites’ of chorizo croquettes with saffron aioli. Classic Spanish style croquettes made with a thick bechamel and packed with salty chorizo, dipped in crunchy breadcrumbs and fried before being topped with a little topping vivid yellow saffron aioli. Forgive me for thinking these looked like mini Trumps…
Pairing for us with a Maclaren Grenache Rose was spot on – rich and fruity enough to cut through the chorizo, but fresh and vibrant.
Next a stunningly beautiful tempura courgette flower stuffed with goats cheese and served with a beetroot reduction and pine nuts. A fabulous combination of textures and flavours, I was particularly impressed at how substantial this dish seemed. It wasn’t the dainty mouthful I’d expected despite being listed as a ‘little plate’. It was paired for us with a Greek wine, a fresh, creamy glass of Manolesakis Estate Exis White 2017.
That was followed by grilled mackerel with fennel and orange – another pretty plateful, which I foolishly thought was the last dish as we’d skipped to ‘big plates’ by now. Gentle reader, I ordered French fries from the ‘bites’ menu – which come with a light lime infused Sriracha mayo. Totally moreish, I now know I could happily turn up at Galvin HOP and feast on ‘bites’. Though I’d doubtless be tempted to move further down the menu.
A glass of Campuget Invitation 2017 white from Costi̬res de Nimes, the easternmost appellation of the Languedoc was pleasantly minerally and an excellent pairing with the mackerel.
And then there was more…
Confit pork belly, a classic dish with borlotti beans, chorizo, burnt apple puree and the crunchiest crackling ever was paired with a South African Mouvedre, Spice Route. Both were perfect for the damp, chilly September weather.
The weakest dish of the evening for me was the miso glazed aubergine (perhaps because my heart still belonged rather firmly with the similar dish on offer from Yuu Kitchen). This rendition was a work of art but just had a little too much char for my taste. The wine, on the other hand, was a fabulous Chateau Moncets, Lalande-de-Pomerol which was soft and fruity.
I was by this stage fuller than I should have been thanks to the extra French fries. But, we still indulged in a chilled chocolate fondant with salted caramel and milk ice-cream, served with a delicious sweet Coteaux de Layon 1ere Cru Chaume, a light dessert wine that rounded off the evening splendidly.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Galvin HOP and found the grazing menu and relaxed atmosphere perfect after a hard day. The main Galvin HOP menu doesn’t have the wine pairings we enjoyed but does have a good selection of reasonably priced ‘Tap Wines’ and unpasturised Pilsner Urquell on draft together with a small beer and cider list. If you want your meal paired, the sommeliers from sister restaurant Galvin La Chapelle will step in to help.
There are plenty more dishes on the dinner menu I’d like to try – from Joo Won’s Korean chicken to a Roast Poussin with baby leek and confit potato. So, I’m sure I’ll be back, very soon indeed!
35 Spital Square
London E1 6DY