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Test Driving Galvin Hop - a new Spitalfields pub

What can you tell us about Galvin Hop?

This is the Galvin Brothers' first foray into the pub business. Best known for Galvin at Windows, La Chapelle and the Bistrot de Luxe, they've taken the former Cafe a Vin in Spitalfields and refitted it as a pub. This means a big focus on the main beer attraction - very fresh unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell - plus some changes to the seating to make it a more convivial place to drop into for a drink.

To add to this they've built a big takeaway section. It's mainly based around their takeaway hot-dogs, but there are plenty of bacon rolls and pastries in the morning too.

It's not the only pub planned for the Galvin's this year, as they are getting ready for a big revamp of their Green Man pub in Chelmsford too.

Where is it?

It's in Spitalfields market, closest to Bishopsgate (taking the space of Cafe a Vin). It's nearest to Liverpool St Station, but Shoreditch High St is a short walk.

How about the food?

The change to a pub has brought with it many changes to the menu - the first being the addition of bar snacks like a sausage roll, pork scratchings and rarebit. We went for the Scotch egg, which was good although a wee bit smaller than expected - it's a quail's egg - but it was only £2.50.

The other big addition is the range of deluxe hot-dogs which showcase another team-up, with Maille's black truffle mustard. These are huge, piled high with onions and come with a very generous portion of very good fries. For £12.50 it's a good-value meal all in itself. The dogs are also available to take away if you're just passing by.

As for the rest - highlights were:

  • The spiced Herdwick lamb flatbread - our favourite dish of the night, easily. There was a huge amount of this - wonderful value for money at £7 - and even though we should have been pacing ourselves for later, we couldn't stop ourselves from eating every last bit. Excellent.
  • The aged saddleback pork T-Bone (£16) - a massive slab of pork, but cooked to perfection. Went down a treat with the ratte potatoes and N'duja (a must-have side at £3.50).
  • And two desserts with lovely fillings. The Valrhona filled choux bun was amazing  (£6) - followed closely behind by the rhubarb doughnut (£4).

And what about drink?

The main event here is Pisner Urquell, the unpasteurised beer taking pride of place in two huge tanks at the bar. There's a blackboard to tell you when the last tank was opened, and while we were there it switched to a new one, accompanied by the ringing of a bell to make sure everyone knew (although cue a few glances to check they weren't calling time already).

It's definitely THE beer to get here, even though bottles of alternative craft beer are available, and we could tell the difference in the new tank. That said - apparently enough pints are drunk every week to mean a new tank every four or five days. 

If you're on a lighter drinking day, the shandies are also well worth a mention - the floral in particular (adding apple and elderflower to the pilsner). Plus there are beer cocktails.

There is wine, of course - you can also have five wines from the tap - starting at £4.50 for a 125ml glass with bottles starting from £18.50.

Overall thoughts?

The change to a pub is good news for this Spitalfields spot. It's better pitched as somewhere to pop-in for a drink and snack spot as much as it is for an evening meal (or quick lunchtime spot). This coupled with some excellent food and a very good pint of beer make it an easy recommendation.

Galvin Hop is at 35 Spital Square, London, E1 6DY.   Find out more about Galvin Hop

Hot Dinners were invited to Galvin Hop. Prices are correct at the time of writing. 

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