Have you heard of The Galvin brothers? Or perhaps their restaurants? Galvin Restaurants, founded in 2005 is a family run collection of French Restaurants by Michelin-starred brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin.
I went to try out their Essex branch in Chelmsford; voted ‘Best Pub in Essex’ by Pub and Bar Magazine. So with that intro; it had a lot to live up to!
I went for a three course meal and even did a little wine tasting. They have wines on tap which was new to me, but apparently means they don’t have to open a new bottle each time so nothing goes to waste. Which makes sense, also they can’t exactly be corked either. I tasted the white, rose and red on tap offerings and was very impressed. They were fresh and at a good temperature and it means you don’t have to worry about which bottle to share!
The menu has a lot of choice but they kindly gave me a vegetarian and gluten free menu to make my life SO much easier! Check out the menus here.
I started with the Portwood Farm Norfolk Asparagus and Lemon Mayonnaise, then had the Risotto of Home Grown Morrel Mushrooms, Peas and Wild Garlic and for desert I went for classic vanilla and chocolate ice cream.
The combination of the dishes left me full but not heavy and each dish complimented the next.
A simple starter of asparagus and mayonnaise is perfect in my eyes. Vegetables don’t need a lot of fuss but to be cooked perfectly and complimented with a simple garnish or sauce and the Galvin team cooked the asparagus to perfection. Not too soft and not undercooked. The Lemon Mayonnaise was a fresh and tasty update to one of my favourite condiments. I know Mayonnaise isn’t groundbreaking but it doesn’t need to be. Also the light starter meant I had lots of room for my main but wasn’t starving waiting for it.
The Risotto; well I can tell you on my diet I have eaten A LOT of Risottos. It’s usually the go to gluten free / vegetarian option, but luckily I’m a fan. I wasn’t going to choose it as the stuffed tomato and curried aubergine options looked great too. But then I was told the mushrooms were hand grown on site, and this made me want to try them! They were great, a nutty flavour that complimented the garlic and peas incredibly well. The rice had a good texture, there’s nothing worse that hard risotto. And the sauce which tasted like a broth of the vegetables with olive oil and topped with cheese all came together to make a great dish. I literally finished it all so it must have been alright…
I always have to finish with an ice cream, sorbet or something similar. I don’t like heavy deserts and I usually can’t eat them as they are full of wheat (I’m gluten free). A good ice cream is actually pretty hard to find, and again it doesn’t need to be fancy. The way you can tell without tasting a vanilla is usually the vanilla pods, those little black flecks in the creamy ice cream, which mine had.
My friend who had a pork dish with crackling and roast vegetables also loved her meal but couldn’t finish it. It was huge so I don’t blame her.
Now lets talk about the setting / atmosphere. We went on a Sunday afternoon at 6pm. It was sunny and great weather to sit indoors or out. The restaurant is based in the middle of the countryside in essex and in a beautiful location. I’ve got this dreamy idea of settling down in Essex one day so any time I can visit I’m up for it. This just made me want to live by the restaurant, it’s so lovely.
There were people sat both inside and outside during our visit; they have seats outside the front and a lovely, vast garden space outside to sit in too. It would be perfect for kids on a sunny day.
It wasn’t overly busy but busy enough to keep the staff on their toes. It made for the perfect atmosphere for us, it was calm and relaxed but enough going on to feel fun.
I would go back in a heart beat. Maybe even have my next birthday there, the only shame is you really need to drive or get a cab there, but it’s totally worth it trust me.
Now if they could just open one near my parents in The Cotswolds that would be perfect… My mum eats meat but is lactose intolerant and celiac and my dad’s gluten free and vegetarian like me, so eating out is fun…
Find out more: https://www.galvinrestaurants.com/
This is my friend Skai – check out her blog: http://www.scentofblanc.com/