Oriona Robb together with her sibling Marcel Grzyb, the former head chef of 10 years at Soho institution Randall and Aubin, join the Islington dining scene by opening Galley on the 2nd of February 2016. From the name of the restaurant and the seafood pedigree of the former place where Marcel used to work, it’s obvious what’s in store. In case you wondering, the galley is the name for the kitchen on a ship. I read somewhere that Marcel’s cooking is inspired by flavours from North Africa, Asia, South America and Europe too. Sounds like were in for a treat. The restaurant interior is stylish, there’s chestnut hued trim finishings, matching table tops, dark velvet banquettes, a separate cocktail bar, open kitchen with a marbled bar. Oriona a fashion and make-up stylist by trade has done a good job making the looks crisp & elegant.
A White Lady whilst I wait for my fellow dinner guest… I was impressed.
The menu is well put together with a seafood focus of course:
Cornish Squid (£8) with Japanese pepper sauce, baby coriander. The Japanese pepper sauce really made this dish, which had a perfect balance of sweet, spice and citrus from the lime leaf. Intensely satisfying indeed.
Octopus & Chorizo a la plancha – caramelised onion purée, smoked garlic pesto (£9). Get every component of the dish on your fork and in your mouth, you’ll be kissed with incredible flavour. The smoky chorizo matched the charred octopus so well and the pungent garlic and inherently sweet onions gave it that melt in the mouth attitude.
Burrata – charred asparagus, brioche croutons, warm tomato sauce, aged cherry vinegar (£9.5). The sharpness of the tomato worked well against the creamy burrata – my dinner date complained that the portion size of the cheese was way too small though. I couldn’t argue with her.
Soft shell crab (£9.5) taken from their platter menu. Soft shell crab is a crustacean I cannot live without and seeing that it was my first time here, I wanted to save some real estate for the rest of the dishes, so ordering a whole platter can wait for my next visit. That Japanese dressing featured again and it was tongue nectar. The crab flavour on the other hand was masked by too much batter.
When did I go? March 2016
The damage: £70-£80 per head with drinks.
The good: We opted for the small plate format which was ideal for first timers as it’s all about trying as much as possible when you’re a first timer. The octopus and chorizo a la plancha was intensely satisfying to eat as was the cornish squid. Everything was served up gracefully as service was fast but also super sorted. I would try their large plates next time, and yes it does warrant another visit! It was my first time dining in Islington and it wasn’t shabby at all overall.
The bad: There were some really likeable dishes overall but some less so convincing, I would miss out the Devon crab, yellowfin tuna. It was a shame that soft shell crab wasn’t a triumph.
Address: 105-106 Upper Street, Islington N1 1QN
Phone: 020 3670 0740
Closest tube/train station: Angel