“ Type: Italian / Address: 71 Haymarket / London / SW1Y 4RW / United Kingdom / Tel: 020 7839 3939 „
Recently Mr Tart and myself went up to London for the weekend to see Phantom of the Opera. We were staying very near the theatre which is on Haymarket so we wanted somewhere close to the theatre to eat as well. I'd printed off some of Martin's (money saving expert) two for one vouchers but as we use these quite a lot we decided we would only use them as a back up if we couldn't find anything else. I'd remembered that there was an Italian restaurant opposite the theatre so we headed there first. It turned out to be Galileo's and we both liked the look of it so we chose it for our meal.
LOCATION AND OPENING HOURS:
Galileo's is located at 71 Haymarket in central London across the road from Her Majesty's Theatre. The nearest tube station is Piccadilly which is served by the Piccadilly and Bakerloo Lines.
The restaurant is open every day for lunch and dinner. On Monday to Thursday it is open from 12pm to 11pm. On Friday and Saturday it is open from 12pm to 11.30pm and on Sunday from 12pm to 10.30pm.
The weather was absolutely horrible the night we went and only having one umbrella between us we were glad to get in somewhere quickly! The restaurant looks fairly standard from the outside and fairly Pizza Express and Prezzo like in its décor and layout.
We were seated and provided with menus straight away. The restaurant has two levels and seats 120 people but it was pretty full due to its location. We were sat on the top level opposite the door which was fine because although it was raining it was relatively mild. However, I could see this being a problem if it was in the depths of some of the freezing weather we've had recently with people constantly going in and out of the door.
The waitress came over very quickly and asked us for our drinks order. A we were ordering from the set menu and there weren't very many choices on it we were ready to order our food straight away too.
Our drinks (2 Peronis) came very quickly, with frosted glasses, which I think is a good touch, as well as the glasses of water which we asked for. The Peronis were averagely priced at £2.60 per bottle. Mr Tart had been planning to get a glass of wine but he thought that the wine was overpriced at £4.10 for the cheapest glass of house red or white.
Our starters came quickly which with a pre theatre restaurant is exactly what you want, even though at other times it might have felt a little rushed. I think that if you had ordered from the a la carte menu it would have taken longer for the food as I would think that most people would order from the set menu. To start I chose the mixed salamis with olives. This was four pieces of different salamis and green olives. It was really delicious although it could maybe have done with some bread and dipping oil to go with it. Mr Tart had the smoked salmon roll filled with prawn, cucumber, mayonnaise and chives, which he said was really nice but that it was a little small for him - I'm fairly convinced that the man has hollow legs!
For the main course I had the mushroom risotto. Again, this was very good. There wasn't a huge amount but risotto is always quite filling so it was plenty for me. There were big, proper pieces of mushrooms in the risotto which were really tasty. The food was well seasoned and didn't need any salt added to it. The one thing that wasn't offered was any parmesan which I was a little disappointed by when I thought about it after - although I didn't worry enough to remember to ask for it at the time! Mr Tart had the roast pork loin which was served with Cannellini beans. He was really happy with it although again the portion wasn't huge.
I chose not to have dessert as I didn't fancy either of the choices on the set menu, but Mr Tart went for the tiramisu. He really liked this and was happy with his choice. The set menu only had three starters, three mains and two desserts to choose from so there's not a lot a leeway if you don't like certain things but I'm known for my fussiness and it suited me really well.
There is lots of choice on the a la carte menu as well. There are pizzas which range in price from £7.20 to £12.85. There are also meat, pasta and fish dishes available. Lots of them sound really tasty but I thought some were quite expensive (for example the sirloin steak was over £20). There is a good dessert menu as well but I thought this was really expensive (with ice cream at nearly £6 and cheese cake or panna cotta at nearly £7).
Our meal came to just under £35 not including the tip. My meal was £11.95 and Mr Tart's was £14.95 and there were three beers altogether. I thought that this wasn't bad value considering the central London location, but the choice of food was limited and the portions were quite small. We were lucky that we were staying so close so we didn't have to pay for transport. A two for one meal with a voucher would have been cheaper but it was nice to try something different.
We both enjoyed our meal at Galileo's. The food was really tasty. However, although for the location the price wasn't bad, I think that for the amount of food it was quite pricey. A case of swings and roundabouts! I would recommend the restaurant for a pre-theatre dinner. The a la carte menu looks really nice but I think the prices would prevent me choosing it as I'm not sure that the standard of the restaurant warrants those prices and you'd just be paying for the location. So I'm giving Galileo's four stars for the meal we had, good food in a good location, taking one off for the small portions and the limited choices.