Galvin Green Man - Howe Street, Chelmsford
It’s difficult to find fault with the Galvin Green Man. It’s an excellent venue, and the food is as good as you’ll get in any pub. It’s been been thoughtfully restored in the bar area, and the restaurant looks incredible.
We were recently invited to the Galvin Green Man in Howe Street, Chelmsford to check out their ‘Little Green Man Club‘. The Galvin Green Man is one of the oldest pubs in Essex. It has a bit of family history for me, as it’s actually where my parents got engaged MANY years ago. The pub was taken over by Chris & Jeff Galvin, and given an extensive refurbishment. I’ve meant to go for a while now as it’s had fantastic reviews from friends and family that have visited. It’s been awarded the Best pub in Essex and overall winner of the Best pub in the East of England at this year’s Pub & Bar awards.
Set in 1.5 acres of riverside meadow amidst beautiful countryside with the river Chelmer as a companion. The pub consists of two main parts a dining room and a Great British pub. Working with local-sourced seasonal ingredients, the menu concentrates on classic pub dishes of the highest quality created by Galvin protégés while the bar serves craft ales with a strong emphasis on working in partnership with local craft brewers.
Little Green Man Club
The ‘Little Green Man Club’ runs each weekend. On Saturday, kids can watch a movie with free entrance and free popcorn from 2pm in the communal room. On Sunday, Kids (up to age 12) can eat a free lunch and parents get a free glass of Prosecco if they’ve ordered before 12pm. You don’t have to dine on a Saturday to take advantage of the film, so it’s a great idea if you want a beverage and keep the kids entertained!
The Galvin Green Man doesn’t shy away from its pub roots. This isn’t a dark and dingy watering hole. The main dining area is bright and airy, with a large brick fire in the middle. The kitchen area is open slightly so you can see the chefs crafting each meal. The old bar area is very traditional, a place where you could happily sit with a beer or two putting the world to right with friends.
It’s not trying to be fancy or something it isn’t. However, this isn’t your average pub. Not at all.
Ordering and Service
We were one of the first diners in on the Saturday we visited. J gets a bit hangry, so lunch at 12.30pm is for the best. From the moment we stepped in the door, the staff were some of the best I’ve ever experienced. They made a fuss over James, and interacted wonderfully with him. I was slightly concerned that the place was so quiet, however, by 1.30pm it was heaving. Despite the increase in customers the service was just as personable as it was at the start. There also seemed to be a good amount of staff dealing with customers.
I had a query with one of the dishes and I was pleased the waiter’s response was “I’m honestly not sure, but I’ll find out”. It’s fine by me if staff don’t have every answer, I’d rather they check than make up something on the spot.
The Kids menu on Saturday of £9 for 3 courses was excellent value. The portions were sizeable too. The main courses range in price from £11.50 to £17.50 – not cheap. However, this is a Galvin establishment – with this kind of quality, I’d happily pay more!
Food and Drink
So, let’s take a look at what I ordered..
Starter – Heritage tomato, goat’s cheese & basil pesto
I’m not always a massive fan of tomatoes, they have to be ‘good’ ones. Theses were VERY good. It was a lovely light starter to begin the meal. It was a good size, and the basil pesto was amazing – I’d have licked the plate clean if I wasn’t so civilised!
Main – Green Man Ploughman’s, coleslaw & bread
It wasn’t immediately obvious if this was a vegetarian Ploughman’s – it isn’t. However, they removed the meat and made it veggie for me. It was a ‘proper’ Ploughman’s, no half measures here. It was a big, hearty plate of food. It defeated me, I wanted to save room for pudding. The bread was clearly freshly made, the butter was slightly salted, and the cheese… It was incredible. I could have eaten a plate of the cheese alone.
Dessert – Treacle tart & clotted cream
I love a Frangipane tart, and this was as good as they get. There’s very little else to say – it was spot on!
I had a glass of Prosecco with my meal, and that was the perfect accompaniment. I think my only criticism of the food was that there could be a few more veggie dishes. I was happy with what I had, but as a potential repeat customer it’d be nice to have a few more choices to go through. What I did have was amazing.
The Galvin Green Man is fully accessible for those less able. The recent refurbishment has meant the toilets are in great order. I particularly like that they have several ‘private’ dining rooms, ideal for smaller family functions. The ‘Communal Room’ (where the films are screened) can also be hired out to watch sporting events on a big screen, which is an excellent idea.
The Little Green Man Club was fantastic, after lunch we retired into the communal room with J. The film came on, and J sat on the beanbags. Miss A and I sat with him enjoying their excellent coffee. During the film someone from the kitchen came in with loads of bowls of warm popcorn. I don’t really like popcorn, however, when it’s the fresh, and clearly made minutes before – I loved it!
It’s difficult to find fault with the Galvin Green Man. It’s an excellent venue, and the food is as good as you’ll get in any pub. Whilst it’s an informal environment, the food is prepared to an excellent standard. It’s been been thoughtfully restored in the bar area, and the restaurant looks incredible. The icing on the cake are the staff – delightfully engaging and friendly. I can’t wait to go back in a few weeks for Miss A’s birthday celebrations. If you’re near, go – if you’re not, get your butt to Essex! Either way, ensure you’ve booked, it can get booked up very quickly.
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