Monday, 11 August 2008
Pre-Theatre Supper at Galileo's, The Haymarket, London
As Alex had his show at Her Majesty's Theatre last night, Guy and I headed to Galileo's for dinner beforehand.
We've been to Galileo's twice before, and both times I've always been vaguely disappointed, but I was hopeful this time would be different. To be fair, we got stuck in traffic, and they were very understanding about us being a half hour late.
The thing about Galileo's is that they are always so busy. The tables are so close together that it goes beyond the cosy and becomes a bit of a logistical nightmare. The food is quite good, but I think part of the reason for their brisk trade is their proximity to Her Majesty's Theatre. You can literally walk out of the restaurant, take a few steps across the street and find yourself in the lobby. I think they can attribute much of their success to that.
In my opinion they really fall down in two areas. Number one, their menu is almost unchanging; it's very structured and predictable. And the second thing is, the toilets are filthy and totally unacceptable. There was even a broken toilet seat in one of the ladies' loos this time. Guy said the gents was dire again as well.
Now having said that, Guy and I had a perfectly acceptable meal, starting with bruschetta which was very traditional and very good. Guy had a seafood risotto to follow, which he said was lovely. I tasted it and was not that thrilled, but I'm not really a mixed seafood kind of girl, so it wasn't really a fair trial. I asked for spaghetti with tomato sauce - which was not on the menu surprisingly, but was very willingly prepared. I was given a generous serving and it was delicious.
It's just that there is just nothing special about this restaurant, and the atmosphere, while convivial, has no soul. I don't think we'll be going back again - I'd take the trouble to go into London earlier and eat elsewhere before going to Her Majesty's Theatre next time. Not that I think this review will do Galileo's any harm at all, they get so much passing trade and their food is very acceptable. I just think that with a little extra care, and a touch of originality - plus some serious hygiene improvements downstairs in the loos - they could go from being "just an Italian restaurant" to being something absolutely wonderful.