Going for a bit of a low-key birthday celebration this year, the girls and I had dinner at Galley in Islington, founded by brother and sister team Marcel Grzyb and Oriona Robb. The menu at Galley is described as contemporary in nature, taking inspiration from seasonal ingredients and international cooking styles and flavours.
I‘m never quite sure how to interpret or define ‘contemporary’ – which is probably the same issue I have when trying to describe to non-dancers about contemporary dance, but I digress…
So, moving on to the food.
There were various types of seatings in the restaurant, including counter seats for those looking for more of an interactive experience. I had requested for the upholstered booth which looked more comfortable and gave us a bit more privacy.
Opting for a bit of bubbly for this celebratory occasion (any excuse for some bubbles), I ordered the Volcano cocktail (prosecco, blood orange sorbet, peach bitters, orange bitters), which was like a prosecco float – a good option if you can’t decide on a cocktail or dessert.
I haven’t had oysters for quite a while, so we tried all three of the oysters: Fine de Claire, Jersey Royal, and Crispy Tempura. All of them really fresh, and the tempura one had a light, crispy batter with an Asian-style dressing.
The menu was categorised into a selection of small and large plates, including a couple of seafood platters if you’re looking for something a bit more extravagant.
I do love scallops, and the hand-dived Scottish scallops were juicy and nicely seared, served with a creamy carrot and cardamom puree, with toasted hazelnuts that gave it a bit of crunch. The octopus and chorizo a la plancha was another one of my favourites, with a creamy white bean puree and smoked garlic pesto, which was really flavoursome. We weren’t too fond of the Cornish squid, which was slightly rubbery and not quite as crispy as we were expecting.
From the Large Plate selection, we share the Lobster Pappardelle and Pan-fried Sea Bass. The pappardelle sauce with heritage tomatoes and chunks of Jeruselam artichoke was quite light and fragrant topped with a lobster tail. The sea bass had a crisp skin and I liked the gnocchi which soaked up the delicious sauce of peas, courgettes, wild mushrooms and fragrant truffle oil.
We also had a couple of sides: chargrilled purple sprouting broccoli with crispy onions and lemon oil, and buttered heirloom carrots with an orange and parsley dressing.
The highlight of our meal was most definitely the dessert part. Not wanting to miss out on any, we ordered all of the sweet desserts, apart from the selection of cheeses. The white chocolate panna cotta had a nice wobble to it, topped with a sweet passion fruit sauce and crunchy bits of honeycomb and blackberries around the sides. The amaretto and Verona chocolate fondant was warm with a soft, gooey centre, topped with a fruity cherry compote, and some mascarpone ice cream on the side.
The lavender and raspberry crème brûlée had a rich and smooth centre, and a crispy caramelised top. The floral taste was maybe a tad too perfume-y for me, but otherwise a lovely dessert, and topped with a cute mini raspberry macaron.
I enjoyed all of the desserts, but my favourite was probably the salted caramel tart which was sweet with a buttery crust. Unfortunately there was no green tea ice cream available that evening, but the chocolate and honeycomb ice cream was still quite satisfying.
Each and every dessert was beautifully presented, and I loved the little flowers scattered about – I’m such a girly girl, I know…
Overall it was a pleasant and enjoyable birthday dinner. Thank you girls for celebrating my birthday with me and for the lovely gifts.
And thank you to the lovely staff that sang happy birthday to me – I look forward to returning next time, maybe for that seafood platter…
And more dessert, obviously.
The Cheekster, signing out x