Galvin Dishes of the Decade: winter

Galvin Dishes of the Decade: winter

by Great British Chefs 06 March 2015

We chat to the Galvin brothers about a decade of Bistrot de Luxe - their much-loved Baker Street restaurant - and their plans for a special culinary celebration.

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Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Chris and Jeff Galvin have been producing some of this country’s finest French food for 10 years. It all started in their Baker Street restaurant Bistrot de Luxe, and to mark the occasion, this year they will be serving some of their signature plates for their ‘Dishes of the Decade’ celebrations.

Since the doors opened at Bistrot de Luxe, the brothers have been celebrated for their take on French cuisine; a focus on simplicity, passion and seasonality have always been the cornerstones of their cookery. This philosophy has carried on to their following six restaurants, but to mark the anniversary they are bringing some of their favourite dishes back to where it all started.

‘After five years, we made a plate and gave it to all our favourite customers, but the day comes and goes, so we had the idea of celebrating for a whole year. When we first opened, people asked ‘what do you want from a bistrot?’ I said a word that no one uses anymore, which is longevity, to be in business in ten years time. And like all things in life, it goes so quickly and here we are’

The occasion is not about reviving old favourites for one month only - January and February’s dishes of Lasagne of Dorset crab, Apple tarte Tatin and Crêpes Suzette are all mainstays of the Bistrot de Luxe menu, dictated somewhat by the fiercely loyal customer base’s adoration of the dishes. Lasagne of Dorset crab in particular has become a somewhat iconic dish at the restaurant - the perfect kick of richness and decadence you expect from the best French food, alongside a pillowy lightness that is frankly unforgettable. If you know someone who has eaten this dish, they are likely to have raved about it.

The brothers’ dedication to a classic tarte Tatin is such that they host an annual tarte Tatin contest at Bistrot de Luxe, with the winners becoming the proud owners of a glass apple-topped trophy, and their name engraved on a copper Tatin tin. Their love of this dish comes from fond childhood memories of their grandmother, a prolific family cook:

‘We love apples, and our gran was mad on apples. She had an enormous family and forty or fifty people (grandchildren, nephews, nieces) would go round and see her at different times’ … ‘Until you become a cook, you don’t realise the amount of work. Everyone went home with a pie, and everyone got fed when they were there’

March’s dishes promise another firm favourite; Soupe de poisson - a dish that the chefs travelled far and wide for when seeking the perfect bouillabaisse flavours:

‘I love the mystery of these dishes, what should be in it, what shouldn’t be in it. We’d do these tours where we go in search of the perfect bouillabaisse… Andre, who was the chef from Galvin at Windows, loved this molecular milkshake version… I thought ‘Can I eat this?’ - it was a beautiful glass, but if you closed your eyes it was incredible, the layers, the depth of flavour. My favourite was the one down by an open fire in a cast pot by the port, so it’s horses for courses really. It’s a meal in itself, if you make a beautiful rouille, good quality Gruyère, croutons, it’s just lovely.’

The celebrations will continue throughout the year, with the dishes changing with the seasons. In high summer, expect dishes such as their fantastic Escabeche of yellowfin tuna followed by a Savarin of summer berries, and when autumn ushers in game season, classic dishes like Daube of venison or duck cassoulet will be there to comfort diners as the weather turns.

Each month, lucky diners (selected at random) will receive their dish of the decade on the house, presented on a special Dishes of the Decade plate. For up-to-date news on the celebrations, follow @galvin_brothers on Twitter and the hashtag #DishesoftheDecade Galvin Bistrot de Luxe 66 Baker Street London W1U 7DJ Tel: 020 7935 4007