Galvin HOP is defined as a Pub Deluxe by their owners, but what does this mean? Is this the French definition of a gastropub? Well, the Gallic maestros behind this pub certainly has pedigree. The Galvin Brothers have worked at some of the capital’s most famous restaurants: Chez Nico at 90 Park Lane, L’Escargot, Orrery, The Lanesborough hotel, Wolseley and countless others. Also let’s not forget, La Chapelle also owned by the Galvin Brothers, is a Michelin-starred neighbour of Galvin HOP.
This whole venue is a class act from the food to the service to the design. It would take a very mean-spirited person to find fault here. The front bar is relaxed yet sophisticated, dominated by giant copper Pilsner tanks above the bar. The dining space at the back is understated and congenial including a small covered garden.
The menu might look like simple classic pub cuisine, but it it a list of endless joy from start to finish. Their Rosanna onion and Cornish cider soup was hearty and had the right viscosity. Dorset snails and garlic butter had a fair dose of herbs on top to spice up the molluscs; far too often at other restaurants, you get tepid tasting snails but at Galvin HOP it is a flavoursome affair. Also note their purposeful highlight of using British ingredients where possible.
I would challenge any reader to find a fish pie deluxe more glorious than the one offered by the Galvin Brothers. Its potato topping is perfectly ridged and glazed, the fish is of an outstanding quality and they even managed a runny yolk egg inside the pie. Even the buttered peas and carrots tasted fresh from the farm.
Hot dogs are another speciality of the venue. Their royal dog deluxe is plump, meaty and wrapped in irresistible bacon. Every bite is tasty prime quality meat unlike typical hot dogs when you are more than likely to be biting into fat than meat. They also have a counter preparing fresh Maille truffle mustard to go with your hot dogs.
The desserts are not to be missed. We tried the highly indulgent Valrhona chocolate choux bun and it was easy to see why Valrhona produces some of the world’s finest gourmet chocolates: it was silky, smooth and light. This is one dessert you are unlikely to share with anyone else.
Finally, your visit must include trying out their thirst-quenching fresh unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell, which are brought weekly from the Czech Republic. Not many other places in London can boast of offering this. Even non-beer drinkers would find this beverage irresistible with this freshness, you get a much fuller flavour and deeper taste with less bitterness. Don’t forget to ask the barman for a Czech pour if you want to find out how to enjoy this great beer the proper way.
The Galvin Brothers have redefined what a pub experience should be and this is going to be a hard act for anyone else to follow.