The first in a planned roll-out of pubs from the Galvin brothers, Galvin HOP has their trademark magic touch, says James Stagg
Galvin HOP might be pitched as a pub, but it's a pub that has the hospitality gold dust of the Galvin brothers all over it.
Galvin Restaurants executive head chef Warren Geraghty says: "Part of the reason I returned to work with Chris and Jeff was that I wanted to do pubs. We felt we needed a site to polish what we did know and learn what we didn't about pubs and also to do something different."
The space isn't wildly different from its previous incarnation, Galvin Café a Vin, but instead of wine the focus here is on beer. That impression is reinforced the second you step through the door thanks to three huge copper tanks located above the bar. These impressive vessels contain fresh unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell beer, which arrives weekly direct from the Czech Republic, and is served alongside a selection of craft beers and wines on tap.
The copper tanks contain fresh unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell beer,
which arrives weekly from the Czech Republic
Those that want something speedy and simple with their pint could be tempted by the counter close to the entrance offering the Galvin Dog Deluxe (£12.50). Though as the name suggests, this is no ordinary hotdog. The gourmet hotdogs are a product of a fact-finding trip to the Alsace by the Galvins, and include a brioche bun made using potato starter, combined with choucroute cooked with cider vinegar, caraway and juniper, a frankfurter made by the group's butcher, and crispy shallots. It is topped with Maille Chablis Dijon mustard.
Snacks and starters contain a raft of pub staples, but all developed and prepared with only perfection in mind. They include honey and Maille mustard chipolatas (£3), Dorset crab mayonnaise on toast (£9.50), and a gala pie (£7.50). Containing rare breed pork from Lake District Pork and Burford Brown eggs, all contained within exceptional jelly and a golden pastry crust, the pie is a real showstopper.
Treacle tart and clotted cream
"The important thing for me was that the pastry was as delicious as the pork filling," Geraghty adds. "The amount of times you see the pastry come back and the pork filling eaten, but this one is a match for it. We use a bit of beer in the jelly but we finish it with Marmite."
The kitchen is based around three key pieces of equipment: a Frima bratt pan, a Synergy grill and a wood oven. All slow cooking, stocks and soups, such as wild garlic and potato (£5.50), are done in the bratt pan, which is also used as a water bath for larger pieces and as a fryer for fish and chips. The Synergy grill is a large part of the section, dealing with dishes such as the Denham Castle lamb leg steak (£17.50) and Black Angus top sirloin (£19.50), which are served with watercress and home-made crisps.
Galvin dog deluxe
Completing the kitchen trinity that will be used as a model for all future Galvin pubs is the wood oven. In it go dishes such as Dorset snails and garlic butter (£8) and ratatouille and Parmesan gratin (£13.50), baked alongside whole fish and whole chickens, used in the day boat fish specials and spiced yoghurt marinated spring chicken (£16.50).
"The marinated spring chicken is incredibly popular," Geraghty says. "We just bar mark it on the grill, wrap it up and pop it through the wood oven. They come out so juicy and tender.
"When the ovens are turned off we slow cook duck in there wrapped in foil, which then goes into a duck salad. It's an amazing piece of kit; it just takes a bit of love and care."
The oven also turns out flatbread packed full of flavour. The kitchen buys lamb saddles for Barnsley chops, using the trimmings for the Herdwick lamb flatbread (£7) - it had been called lahmacun on the menu, but the simplified description has increased sales. The trimmings are mixed with spices and spread onto the flatbread, which is baked before yogurt, rocket and spicy olive oil is added to create a punchy, smoky dish that retains the authenticity if not the Turkish name.
The dishes on offer might be simple, but they're all authentically Galvin in their attention to detail, sourcing and execution.
Valrhona chocolate choux bun
From the menu
- Steak tartare, toasted sourdough £8/£15
- Galvin cure smoked salmon & lemon £10.50
From the wood oven
- Norfolk asparagus and romesco sauce £9
- Tarte flambé £8.50
- Galvin fish pie deluxe £17
From the grill
- Cumbrian beef burger £15.50
- Denham Castle lamb leg steak £17.50
- Strawberry doughnut £4
- Alfonso mango panna cotta £5.50
- Valrhona chocolate choux bun £6
35 Spital Square, London E1 6DY
Bar snacks: sausage rolls, scotch eggs and pork scratchings
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