A passion for food, the Great British pub and Essex resulted in the award-winning Galvin Green Man, as Chris Galvin explains to Mark Kebble
I love a great pub. There’s something rather comforting finding an age-old building with a warm welcome, the buzz of regulars and some great pub grub on the side. But even so, the Galvin Green Man took me by surprise.
The name Galvin is synonymous with high class cuisine. The Galvin brothers – Chris and Jeff – collection of London restaurants encompasses Michelin-starred Galvin La Chapelle, which offers modern French fine-dining in the heart of the city; Galvin Bistrot & Bar a quaint French bistrot serving small plates and hearty dishes just off Old Spitalfields Market; Galvin Bar & Grill in Bloomsbury a modern British grill; and Galvin at Windows, a modern-European restaurant with incredible views from the 28th Floor of London Hilton on Park Lane. It means Galvin Green Man stands out somewhat.
“We were so excited to open Galvin Green Man,” Chris Galvin says, “being so proud to come from Essex we always wanted a restaurant there. We saw the restaurant for sale in 2016 and knew we had to restore it to its former glory. We wanted to bring the pub back to the community. To make sure the pub was not lost and we continue to celebrate Essex talent and showcase local produce in our menus.”
The passion for all things Essex began when both brothers were born in Romford and raised in Brentwood. “I look back on my childhood in Essex as a very happy one,” Chris reflects, “with lots of space to run wild as an energetic kid and amazing days out with my family at the seaside and in the countryside.”
Chris recalls it was while travelling around France as an eight-year-old, eating as the family went, that he first remembers enjoying good food. But how did the brothers end up in business together? “We both started off working in the same restaurant as teenagers,” he explains. “I then went on to Southend College and Jeff went to Thurrock. After college we worked in a number of restaurants together, we knew we worked well together and didn’t want that to stop.”
That passion to keep working together eventually found its way to Essex. Set in the beautiful Essex countryside, close to Great Waltham in a building dating back to 1341, Galvin Green Man is now an award-winning, Bib Gourmand British pub and modern restaurant, boasting panoramic views and an extensive garden. They have been named Best Pub in Essex County, Best Pub in East of England and Best Pub in Great Britain 2021 at National Pub & Bar Awards, and in 2022 they were awarded Best Pub in East of England at the National Pub & Bar Awards.
Centred around locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, Green Man’s menu features modern British dishes as well as comforting pub restaurant classics. The drink’s list celebrates local breweries including Adnams Southwold, a calendar of guest ales and a wine selection from the best of England and Europe.
“Green Man is so different to our other locations, not just being our only site outside of London,” Chris picks up. “It is our only venue to have both a traditional countryside pub and a modern restaurant. We also have a huge beer garden and terrace for our guests to enjoy in the sunshine. We encourage guests to bring their dogs to our garden and pub.”
How have the brothers approached the menu? “We make sure our menu is always seasonal, fresh and made using local produce. We also make sure we have a short and sweet menu with a variety of options to make sure we have something for everyone. We are always on the lookout for new producers and growers in the local area.
“You can expect to see asparagus strawberries, Colchester oysters, Great Garnett pork, fish from the coast, local poultry, vegetables from Essex and our own homegrown herbs and honey,” Chris says on what to expect over summer. “Making sure we continue to adapt our menu to the seasons, we have some very exciting and light dishes on our menu to suit the warmer weather. We have a fantastic cucumber & horseradish gazpacho as well as an amazing Cornish spring lamb main course on our menu at Green Man.”
On the Essex food scene, Chris says “is very exciting and continues to grow, the support from guests in Essex is like no other”. And Galvin Green Man can be considered as one of those leading lights.