Thursday, 21 July 2011

[Restaurant - Fusion: Mediterranean/Asian] Hyundai Galloper - my Noble Chariot Awaits; Galoupet of Knightsbridge

Location - Knightsbridge, London [UK]

The Hyundai Galloper. A humble, re-badged Isuzu Trooper, an unpretentious vehicle barely worth re-branding many would think. I am struggling to find a link with this and the restaurant of Galoupet, even a tenuous one, not insinuating that the restaurant is a facsimile of any sort. I really couldn't think of better title. Oh dear.

It was that time again. Another week had passed, thus another indulgent meal was required. It is a strenuous living. Whilst Galoupet was one of my choices on my, well, not-so-short list, it was not the first choice of the evening - that was Bocca di Lupo, but serves me right to attempt to book on the evening after having been told at a previous occasion that they are usually booked up to 4 weeks in advance. Hmph. Galoupet it was then! I just remembered the quirky blog leading up to the Restaurants' inauguration. Err. And that is how the decision was set in stone. The menu was interesting, melding different styles and cuisines into some infinitesimally worded dishes, not copious. More than enough to convince me. With George convinced, it was on to get our grub on. Except, we could not find it. Despite driving up and down the road a couple of times searching in vain for a parking spot, so we parked in the next continent along. Which we figured was just as well enough as the short walk would dispel a couple of the malicious calories from the trillions we would inevitably have no restraint in destroying. Walking up and down the road we STILL could not find it. Hunger mounting. Must. Not. Eat. Limbs. Then in a fit of intense cerebral activity, we figured it wise to actually count the Door numbers along the road as we walked. Found.

How odd - if it could be more unassuming it would simply be a gap between its neighbouring restaurants. Stroll in, confirm reservation, appropriately and a fashionable 5 minutes late [de riguer naturally] and, this is a very minimalist place, quite austere. In fact, the forgot to put a restaurant at the front, it's all at the rear. Like a mullet, the party was at the back. A rather small party. And also I was hungry. So, sat down at our couples' table, and consulted the waitress on the cranium troubling menu.

~ Starter ~
- Grilled Watermelon Salad with Mint
- Corn Crusted Aubergine, Green Tomato Chutney & Goat's Curd
- Figs, Fregola, Purple Basil, Orange, Konbu, Hazelnut
- Octopus, Fennel, Kohlrabi, Miso

At this point it should be obvious that I am quite the glutton for gastrointestinal punishment [why must it taste so good and hurt so bad </3], but the starters were not all for me. Though were half for me, so I only had two "whole" portions in the end, splitting them with George. This was on suggestion of the waitress who clamoured they were small "tapas" sized portions, perfect for sharing.

She lied.

They were almost full portions in of themselves. So much so that we were having to eat just to create space on the anaemic table for the remaining starters. And water. And cutlery. So how did they fare? Accordingly:

  • Grilled watermelon - Epic, both in isolation and in combination of its ingredients. This really was eye opening, or rather, mouth opening, and a struggle to "share" - it was perplexing how grilling basically water, in fruit form, released so much flavour, combining a delicate sweetness from what I presume was a reduced sauce, with perhaps some mirin with a freshness of the mint. It really was perfect, both in the separate constituents, and when combined as a whole, piggy forkful. 
  • Figs & Fregola - My selection determined by my sinful carb- cravings as of late, quite a few ingredients in this one. Separately they were almost all delicious - delectable figs, and the oranges and nuts were lovely, the loner Fregola being a bit bland on its own. Combined, it improved the whole combination, with some welcome sweetness [oh hai!] from the figs, a nice acidity and moar sweetness from the orange [oh hai again!] and a nice crunch from the nuts.
  • Aubergine - Some awesomeness obviously needs some balancing, and whilst not an offensive dish, it was rather bland in isolation, much better when everything was combined. The aubergine on its own did not taste of much, the corn breading being underseasoned, or rather, tasting just like corn breading. Which would mean not much. I cannot remember what else came other than the Goat's curd, but even that disappointed a bit - I have yet to experience a goat's cheese that has made me utter myself sweet nothings like that sampled at a Wine Bar in Sorrento. In all, a bit bland. Meh
  • Octopus - Probably the most disappointing of the starters, and not ordered by me, so, I can lay on blame willy nilly. The octopus was a bit overcooked, meaning it was essentially octopus flavoured mush, and bland in isolation. Combined with the fennel and others it provided a subtle hint of aniseed. Otherwise relatively fine, just, bland. 

~ Main Course ~
- Norfolk White Free Range Chicken, Miso, Peach, Ginger

A last ditch attempt at ordering something out of the normal, almost preferable to self-immolation - I generally avoid chicken as it is as interesting as paper. Unless deep-fried. And there was no sign of the Al Baik Chicken. Nevertheless, it has been a while since I had ordered chicken, and it was otherwise the most interesting "sounding" dish. And obviously this one was one of the Incredible Hulks' personal pets. With a breast this size, the animal must have at least been as big as a cow. This may trouble my attempt to leave space for dessert. Bah. I promptly ploughed in to the monstrosity. A lovely char surrounded it - I'm one of the strange individuals that cherishes the char, it is my favourite part of anything grilled. Carbon. YUM. Extremely moist [teehee] meat as well, but chicken is chicken, so still as interesting as paper. Grey paper. The sauce however, was delightful. Quite.

Predominantly peachy, a discovery I made at the same time as discovering that water was indeed, wet. Rather sweet as well, almost like a jam. Hmm..Combined itself well with the smokiness of the charred chicken, and generally cutting through the rich meat. It just lacked much else really. Nice, just not memorable. Other than for out-sizing me.

~ Dessert ~
- Pistachio, Vanilla & Olive Oil Cake, Vanilla Ice Cream


This was. All kinds of epic. I went into a pleasure paralysis for a few short moments [realising that said inactivity was denying me of dessert]. This was fabulousth! Such a rich cake, but not by dint of sweetness, it was just, rich! The olive oil permeates through the cake just giving a delectable rich taste, which could not go any better with the pistachios. The vanilla ice-cream just added to it. ARGH. Very lightly sweet, it cut the richness of the cake adding the right amount creaminess and nom. Even when the ice-cream melted and the olive oil trickled, the combination was sublime. Jeebus, this was incredible, and chosen on a quick glance at a suggestion on one of the review sites. That person should be sainted. The cake was so incredibly life-affirming that I have no recollection whatsoever of the dessert wine, or espresso. Or much else.

I need this wholesale. NAO. 

~ Drinks ~
- Some White Wine
- Some Dessert Wine
- Espresso

Selecting the wine at random, or rather at the waitresses suggestion for having nary a clue as to what was being provided and how it combined with the food, I have no recollection of what was ordered. The dinner wine was essentially made of cask - it was cask in liquid form. That is to say, to the nose it almost had the aroma of whiskey, with prominent woody tastes. After a while when enough was consumed, I was quite aware of this. Probably lent itself to the charred chicken ^_^.

With regards to the dessert wine and espresso, refer to the above - I was in a flash-coma from the Olive Oil cake, to the point that I had a memory void of anything not pertaining to the cake. I was, of the cake.


...And then the Bill came. Hold on. This, was actually quite reasonable, considering that deceitful fiend of a waitress fooled us into ordering starters for a small nation. Everything about the meal, was a pleasant experience, especially so with the price not administering us a gentle "FU" for the privilege. Beyond factors that matter little, like the austere ambience, the unassuming to the point of being anonymous enough to not even have a visible name anywhere front room, and the table of Americans trying to communicate with Mars, everything was a general pleasure. Especially as stomach was quite satiated.

Portions, were copious as stated, befit for a country, not individuals, and all the while the presentation was meticulous and as a whole, everything tasted excellent. There were a couple of disappointments but even then only because there is so much you can expect from the core ingredients. The fact that in combination, despite the sometimes eccentric descriptions, everything was thoroughly well balanced was quite appealing. As evidenced by the fact that absolutely nothing was left. I think a plate may have been eaten too. Service was excellent as well, with plenty of suggestions, and understanding of our gluttony. And then there was the cake. JEE-BUS.

Ok, I have collected myself. Even George's dessert of some Ecuadorian chocolate farmed from a single cow on a desolate mountain field was sublime. There was no actual grounds for complaint. Barring those infernal Americans.

So, really, Hyundai Galloper? 

I guess it sounds similar to the restaurant name. ^_^

And you'd never see one in this area of London - much as how despite the location, Galoupet provided a thoroughly unpretentious meal despite the eclectic dishes, combining a variety of different flavours that most of the cases combined really well rather than in separation, almost exaggerated portions [much to our delight] and a thoroughly reasonable price for what was consumed. Not that you could say that Hyundai is a mark of any real pretensions. Seriously though, GALLOPER?! 

Meh, I guess it beats the noisy crickets typically traipsing through my mind. 

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