Life is short, and London is bursting with restaurants, and because of this, visiting the same joint twice sometimes seems a waste: go, explore, see more.
However, if this magnificent restaurant went back to being a church, there’s a chance I’d renounce my atheism. I could happily come to a weekly service. It is one of London’s stunners: the building is a work of art, beautiful in the way the Wolseley is, and the Michelin-starred fare doesn’t disappoint the surroundings. Perhaps some of the experience feels a little stiff, but most of it is charming.
The main event: Roast beef is as it should be for Sunday lunch: pink, proudly British, and paired with a finely done Yorkshire, lashings of gravy, exquisite roasts and sweet glazed carrots. Instead, though, try the pork neck with black pudding, swede pureé and poached apples: near faultless, the crisp lift of the apple against the comfort of soft, bloody black pudding, the pork soft enough to render a knife completely unnecessary. Otherwise, there is sea bream with pumpkin risotto, or truffled white polenta.
The rest: ‘Fine food over fine dining’ has long been at the heart of the Galvin brothers work, but it’s difficult to find fault with much here. Wine-lovers with deep pockets will adore the list, and are liable to fall in love with the sommelier, whose recommendations shook my inner drinks nerd and said “Monsieur! It is all your Christmasses and birthdays at once!”. Live jazz from the Ray Rich band – who pleasingly avoid turning the place into a giant lift – meshed with the happy chatter bounding around the chapel’s 100ft vaulted arches. What I should just say is: I fell in love with the place.
Where is it? As befitting its churchly roots, La Chapelle is a place of sanctuary: it is a moment of heavenly calm in east London, but has none of the city dullness that marks so many of its peers also moments from Liverpool Street station.
Who’s behind it: La Chapelle marked the third opening for the Galvin brothers, Chris and chef Jeff. They first made an impression with Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, before taking things 28 stories up with Galvin at Windows.
When can I try it? Sundays, 12 noon until 3pm.
Cheque out: £34.50 for three courses. There’s the option of a carafe of wine for £9 – but at a stingy 250ml, it’s nothing more than a large glass tarted up. Ask to have wines paired with your meal: drink, enjoy, close your eyes when the bill comes.
Info: 35 Spital Square, E1 6DY, galvinrestaurants.com
Follow David Ellis on Twitter @dvh_ellis