Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, Marybone, London
Warm and friendly staff.
Sweetbreads and snails make an interesting combination on a textural level. The sweetbreads were firm and not mushy, and fairly well cooked. The snails had a pleasant grassy flavour, but on the whole were only ok texturally, not rubbery, but still a bit chewy and not as snappy as they could be. Bites of tangy capers enliven both components of the dish, and there is a dark sticky and savoury-rich sauce underlying the dish that while too sour on its own, complement both sweetbreads and snails fairly well.
The pork belly was served with an excellent rib-sticking braised pork cheek, along with some (savoy?) cabbage for contrast and little cubes of potato. Another dark savoury sauce, also well reduced (likely the braising liquid for the cheek), possibly enriched with demi glace. In contrast to the pork cheek, the pork belly was ordinary -- it had good flavour, but was uneven, with the outer surfaces and some parts dry, while other parts closer to the fat were moist. I was disappointed not to have any skin as there was a much needed contrast that was unfulfilled - nothing crispy on the dish to balance the meaty textures. Moreover, the skin on the outside of the roll of pork belly could potentially have evened the dish a bit and protected the meat from drying out.
I love fruit souffles, but they can be demanding. The blackberry souffle rose beautifully and had a deep sweetness of the berry, with a touch of its tang. However, the interior of the souffle came across as perhaps a bit too weighty and wet, lacking the lightness of a cloud that one longs for in a good souffle.
On the whole, an above average experience, but nothing approaching special.
I went here a few times not long after it first opened and couldnt fault any of the meals I had there - seems a shame if standards have dropped off. I wonder if either of the Galvin brothers are still in the kitchen or if are they concentrating on their Windows restaurant, and if that has any impact on the quality turned out at Bistro de Luxe?