We arrived at Galvin Bistrot de Luxe for their 8th Birthday celebrations and received a warm welcome from Sarah (reception team). Also, Naomi (reservations manager) had kindly organised with Kevin (Kevin Trew, Head Chef) a special gluten-free birthday menu which he designed especially for Jason given his new dietary requirements.
Loved the relaxed, brasserie atmosphere of this Galvin branch.
Amuse-bouche of pork sausage rolls and chickpea & herb squares arrived whilst we looked at the menus. Augustino (Deputy Maitre d’) realised Jason would not be able to eat these and quickly arranged for some gluten-free toasted seeded bread with olive oil to be brought over.
I went for the special birthday menu, starting off with veloute of Potimarron squash soup accentuated with chestnuts and ceps. This was perfect transitional food easing you gently from the end of summer towards autumn, warming and delicious.
Jason got a starter of Tomato Gazpacho with olive oil and balsamic vinegar decorative drizzles. It had a wonderful, intense flavour of tomato. A great start to the meal. I enjoyed the cheese puff-pastry straws that had come with Jason’s gazpacho, as he was not able to eat these; they were a lovely extra touch though.
Next up was lasagne of Dorset crab, rich with beurre Nantais. It was fabulous, although I shudder to think how many calories the sauce contained. Luckily, Galvin don’t go in for any of that ridiculous calorie counting on their menus enabling me to enjoy my crab in blissful ignorance. I mopped up every last bit of the sauce with bread, as they encourage you to do in France where the sauce is considered to be the best part.
Jason was served smoked salmon with gluten-free bread, which had smoky and citrusy flavours and created nice memories of enjoying a light summery meal outdoors.
Unfortunately, by the time I got to the main course I was flagging slightly from all the rich food and couldn’t really appreciate the pithivier of pigeon which was just too heavy for me at this point. We also had lovely service from Augustino who was very concerned over how little of my pigeon I had eaten. I reassured him that the pigeon was faultless, I had just misjudged how much food I could cope with. I liked that he wasn’t afraid to initiate what could have been a difficult conversation about the food.
Jason’s main course was guinea fowl with new potatoes, girolle mushrooms and shallots on a bed of spinach. These were great flavour combinations, with the girolle mushrooms’ mild peppery notes, sweet shallots and the irony spinach complementing the light gaminess of the tender and delicate guinea fowl breast fillet.
However, luckily at this point my separate dessert stomach kicked in and I was able to enjoy the refreshing nougat parfait with autumn berries that was the perfect balance of berries, crunch and cream.
Jason tucked into a beautifully light and airy blueberry soufflé which was served with a fragrant vanilla sorbet. It was the highlight of his meal.
Jason was impressed with the trouble Kevin and his team had taken over creating and preparing a special gluten-free birthday menu for him. Thank you to Augustino, Sarah and Bogdan for pleasant and attentive service through the evening.
We loved the experience at this Galvin, right down the touch of giving us little madelines to take away at the end; it’s like finding the best French bistro only better because it’s in our hometown!
We will be going back soon.
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