Tel: +44 (0)20 7833 1380
Address: 56 Paddington Street, Marylebone, London W1U 4HY
Cuisine Type: French (creperie)
Baker Street (METROPOLITAN, HAMMERSMITH & CITY, CIRCLE, BAKERLOO, JUBILEE)
Nestled in the moneyed streets of Marylebone is La Galette, which declares itself a “traditional Breton creperie”. As such, it possesses all the familiar Old World prerequisites: a hanging chalkboard with the day’s specials, blonde wood interior, a few token tables perched precariously on the ledge outside under the restaurant’s awning. It’s predictably charming, if a bit clichéd, though its attempts at sophistication are marred somewhat by the looming spectre of the ubiquitous All Bar One across the street.
Never mind—the staff is friendly and you are ushered to a table regardless of whether or not your dining partners have arrived. There, you’re confronted with the rather puzzling spectacle of little green bowls at each place setting—they look a bit like Japanese teacups.
The teacup mystery is solved when drinks are ordered—they’re meant to hold cider, or “cidre” as it is spelt, French style, on the menu. Cider is the standard drink in creperies, and there are several different types on offer here. It’s worth eschewing the rather obvious choices for the more unusual flavour of the Poire de Normandie. As its name suggests, Poire de Normandie is a pear cider, and is light and sweet without any of the acidic aftertaste that so often accompanies similar drinks.
Unless you’re ravenous, skip the hors-d’oeuvres— they’re relatively unexciting (bread, tapenade, and the like)— and head straight for the galettes themselves. A galette, by definition, is a “Breton buckwheat pancake”, so don’t be surprised when your order arrives looking absolutely nothing like any of the crepes you may have eaten in the past. These are quite brown in colour, and instead of being rolled or wrapped, they’re quite artfully folded in a square around the fillings they contain, almost like a frame surrounding a painting. The Galette Complet (a bargain at £6.25), a combination of ham, cheese, and egg, is moist and deceptively filling. Other interesting choices include the Galette Provençal (£6.95), which contains ratatouille and is lightly spiced. Galettes can be made to order as well, so if nothing on the menu strikes your fancy then you can always request your own special combination.
You may finish your meal quite stuffed and wary of crepe overload, but since most of us associate crepes with pudding, it would feel almost like a crime not to order one for dessert. The chocolate crepe (£3.95) is a bit thin, but the chestnut cream and honey crepe (£4.25) is sublime– worth ordering, even if you are quite full.
All in all, La Galette provides more than adequate reason (good food, gracious service, reasonable prices) to visit Marylebone’s lovely environs.