The good things about Galoupet, a Provencal wine bar that does food, are that it is opened all day, that it features a very impressive wine list and the only FOH who manned the floor was rather helpful. And for me the goodness did not seem to extend much beyond that..
From the outside one (including my taxi driver) could barely envision a restaurant/wine bar. The interior was crisp at first sight but a good few minutes later it appeared white-washed and rather soul-less. The angled mirrors did not reflect truth.. I looked a lot slimmer than I am. There were a few ladies who lunched sipping wine and attired very comfortably. Sure they appreciated less “truth” in the mirror. The food menu was not particularly Provencal or French. It spelt fusion – a lot of Asian influences – but read less sophisticated than Nopi. There were about 15 dishes, half of which you could opt for a small portion. Price hovered between £5 and £12.
Grilled Watermelon, Thai Basil, Baby Fennel (1) was utterly confused. Juicy but tasteless watermelon hid clumsily beneath the bush (not of the ladies) of stringy fennels, dill and assorted basil leaves. Sweet basil (Thai one tasting rather mint-like), Greek basil, and Italian basil. I felt herbally intoxicated and left the dish unfinished. Stone Bass, Burnt Tomatoes, Coriander (2) was lovely. Decently cooked bass. Crispy skin. The acidity and smokey-ness from the tomatoes accompanied the bass well while the extra salsa-like garnish of tomato and coriander was uplifting. My only criticism would be the portion of the tomatoes was bigger than the bass, evidently making it a tamato dish. Chilli Pork “Rib Eye”, Cucumber, Coriander, Lime (3) was a Thai dish without the Thai factor. I admired the chef for using proper Thai red onions. Almost all Thai restaurants in the UK don’t (and shame on them!). The pork was rubbed with chilli, well marinated and well charred. More charming spicy kicks from deseeded chilli in the cucumber salad. It was also a good dish.. but I could pretty much assemble the same thing in less than 10 minutes (excluding time for marinate). No twists to make it restaurant-worthy.
All the food so far came in a bowl, which I thought very bizarre and did not facilitate eating.
Desserts.. luckily my Madeleines (4) arrived on a plate. A PLATE!!! If they could use plates for this, why the hell not for the rest? Assorted mini-Madeleines – hazelnut & honey, chocolate, sesame – were baked to order. Despite the wonky look, there was warmth and loveliness to them. And distinctly flavoured, too. They didn’t have St John‘s wow factor but definitely tastier than ones at Bar Boulud.
I liked it that the dishes were light and reasonably refreshing. No doubt were there some good ones and my Meursault was pleasant. But, at £40 it was a rollercoaster for a meal. Not expertly done. Not terribly executed. The ladies next to me who paid the bill and were leaving did not seem to dislike it. I did not dislike the food… but for a restaurant Galoupet made me crave for more. Identity on the menu perhaps? At the moment I can only say the place attempts to milk the best out of both worlds. French wine.. meets diet conscious, herb-focused, nearly carb-less menu evidently for the Knightsbridge clientele. It did not win me over.
… and I would have also loved to see my food on a plate.
My head rating says, “6.5 out of 10″.
My heart rating says, “4 out of 10″.
13 Beauchamp Place
Tel. 020 7036 3600