A week or two ago my mother rang me in a state of some confusion. She had just received her credit card bill for February and it appeared that her monthly spending was half of what it normally was (I think the exact words she used were 'half of what it should be'). She then asked if I would help to rectify this situation with an afternoon of shopping. Who was I to let her down in her hour of need?
We met for a leisurely coffee on Oxford Street on Saturday afternoon. A couple of hours later we were exhausted having sufficiently dealt with the credit card problem. The only possible course of action was a stiff drink and a hearty meal.
For cocktails, we headed to Texture, a restaurant and champagne bar near Marble Arch. The bar has, according to the website, 88 Champagnes by the bottle making it one of London's most extensive Champagne collections. They have also had an idea which is nothing short of genius: take your standard cocktail-fare and add Champagne. I had a 'Champolitan' which was, as the name suggest, a Cosmopolitan with the addition of Champagne. The cranberry and orange were less strong than in a normal Cosmopolitan but the Champagne added a different dimension and a hint of fizz that was delightful.
After drinks, we headed to Galvin Bistro de Luxe in Baker Street, the first restaurant opened by brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin. The restaurant is designed like a Parisian bistro with lots of dark wood and art deco fittings. The food is typical casual French cuisine with a choice from about eight starters, main courses and puddings.
Highlight of the meal was a Daube of Angus beef, Bourguignon garnish and pommes mousseline; two large chunks of slow-cooked beef with onions and button mushrooms in a rich and velvety sauce served with the creamiest mashed potato I have ever had in my life. I just about had space for a Vahlrona chocolate delice, a rich chocolate truffle cake, with milk ice cream.
So many good restaurants are sorely lacking in atmosphere but Bistro de Luxe had a real buzz, even early on a Saturday night and the food was so good that it will definitely become a regular haunt from now on.