In a nutshell
A stylish new seafood-focused restaurant comes to one of the busiest dining streets in Islington.
Head chef Marcel Gryzb founded Galley with his sister Oriona Robb, a stylist who oversaw the interior design. He spent 18 years at Randall and Aubin, the iconic seafood restaurant in Soho including 10 as head chef.
The menu is heavily biased towards fish as you’d expect from someone with Marcel’s cooking heritage – in this case peppered with influences from Europe, Asia and North Africa. Small and large plates are served all day alongside huge hot or cold seafood platters and a short oyster menu. Brunch is served 11am – 1pm, Thursday to Sunday.
What’s the room like
Galley’s interior mixes up marble, Moroccan tiles, antique mirrors and brass fittings to an eclectic but very stylish effect. The most covetable seats are the green velvet banquettes at the side and back of the room, and an open kitchen runs down one side with high stools for perching and chef watching. A small separate bar runs along the front of the restaurant with French windows which will open out onto to the street in hotter months.
We ordered a mix of small plates to share. The Galley fish stew was a perfectly cooked cast-iron pot of chunky fish and shellfish in a deep bisque-like sauce. Cornish crab crostini came with a smear of smoky rich garlic aioli. Both the crab and the tuna we tried in the tuna tartare with avocado, mango and nori were sparklingly fresh. Another (non-fishy) winner was the rich, oozy Wookey Hole cheddar and ham croquettes, which we fought over to the last forkful. We swerved traditional puds to try a Galley granita from the dessert cocktail menu, an icy mix of Ron Abuelo rum, bitters and prosecco.
Cocktail enthusiasts will not be disappointed. As well as an inventive list there is a whole section of prosecco-based sparkling cocktails and a gin and tonic menu with twelve different combos on offer. From the wine list we were recommended a light Italian pinot noir which held up well to all the punchy flavours in our dishes. The rest of the wine list is well priced, starting at £20 with plenty choice under the £30 mark.
Even though Galley looks pretty swank from the outside, once inside it has a lovely, warm neighbourhood feel. The staff are friendly, chatty and knowledgeable about the dishes and the atmosphere is fun and buzzy. The all-day menu creates a relaxed vibe which means you could just as easily drop in for a well-crafted cocktail and a couple of small plates as go for a full three-courser.
105 Upper St
London N1 1QN
Written by Janine Ratcliffe, March 2016
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