Last Updated on August 23, 2021
Fine Dining in the Sky – Galvin at Windows is back.
Most of London’s Park Lane Hotels have a fine dining restaurant. Many of them are very fine indeed. Galvin at Windows though has the ultimate bonus of being set right at the top of the Hilton Hotel Park Lane on the 28th floor, with floor to ceiling windows providing fabulous views across London and that intimacy, elegance and luxury that seems to come by default from a penthouse setting. Galvin at Windows is an iconic special date destination that opened in 2007 and held a Michelin star till 2020, a year after the departure of Fred Sirieix who had been general manager since the restaurant’s launch. New general manager Peter Avis has been joined by Marc Hardiman and there is a fresh, young feel to this London classic.
We started our evening with drinks at 10degrees, the restaurant’s opulent bar, before moving into the splendid dining room. A glass of Galvin Brothers Champagne was the perfect accompaniment to our amuse bouche and we tried our best to avoid too intense a raid on the breadbasket.
This part of London is seldom cheap, but the à la carte menu here was reasonably priced, with starters all under £30 and main courses under £50. There’s also a lunchtime market menu at £39 and set dinner at £45 for three courses (with an excellent range of options on each), two tasting menus and a Sunday lunch menu. So, plenty to choose from. Browsing through, I was impressed. It’s the kind of place where, if you stick to a set menu, you’ll still feel as if you are being treated but won’t upset the bank manager. Or, if you want to push the boat out, the tasting menus and à la carte offer a real treat.
We met the new(ish) chef Marc Hardiman, an impressive and articulate man who clearly has a mission. His heritage, from some of the UK’s finest restaurants and a career that has taken him around the world, should stand him in good stead to catapult an iconic restaurant of the last decade into the next.
I have to confess to making a beeline for the starter of my choice – creel caught Scottish langoustine with pigs cheek and lightly spiced tea. The pretty plate of sweet and succulent langoustine and earthy pigs cheek mousse was served with a warm consummé tea. Paired with a glass of Sancerre Fouassier, from one of the oldest Domaines in the region, this was a delicious way to start the meal.
My companion ordered the picture-perfect plate of heritage beetroot with smoked cod’s roe, hazelnut and oxalis (wood sorrel). No complaints from him and the pairing of Calcarium Nu Litr orange wine from northern Puglia was a good match for the earthy notes of the beetroot.
I found selecting the main course particularly tricky. The menu has five options – and I really would have liked to try four out of the five dishes. Eventually, partly because I’d been cooking halibut at home and didn’t fancy finding out what it should have been like, I picked the Dover sole and Portland crab, grenobloise, étuvée of leeks, Wiltshire truffle. In fact, grenobloise generally refers to a sauce of browned butter, capers, parsley and lemon – a classic serve. Here there was also a soft boiled quail egg and a light potato purée which was topped with shaved truffle. I loved the combination of flavours in this light but elegant plate.
My pairing of St Aubin Domaine Larue was delicious; full of minerality and well rounded – a fine match for the fish. Although the area is better known for red wines, St Aubin has specialised in whites and produce delicious white Burgundy wines.
Meanwhile, my companion picked the dry-aged grass-fed beef with a short-rib tartlet, yeast, carrot and lovage. A classic plate of beautifully cooked fillet steak with a few tasty morsels to complement the meat and a rich jus.
Yes indeed, this dish was on my own wishlist. If only I could have had it all! His wine pairing was Sideral San Pedro from Chile, a top-ranking Cabernet Sauvignon blend from a New World estate that has been around for more than 150 years. No, I didn’t get a sip. Blame it on Covid!
Galvin are famous for their Tart Tatin so my own dessert was pre-destined. Of course, it was every bit as good as I remember, though it doesn’t quite have the ‘gram appeal of the fabulous Solero ice enjoyed by my companion.
Dessert wines (of course) – a Jurançon for me and Monbazillac for him brought the meal to an end…well nearly.
I’m not sure quite why I am so capable of drinking a double espresso at 10 pm – but I manage to do so with great regularity. Here, it meant another small treat in the form of petit fours.
And of course, a view
There’s nothing really to fault with the offer from Galvin at Windows. It’s the kind of place I’d put on any special date night list. The kind of place where I’d feel treated. And the kind of place where it’s just about reachable to treat myself.
Service was impeccable throughout the evening and for me, there’s just nothing to fault with Galvin at Windows. Now I just need an excuse to go back!
Galvin at Windows
22 Park Lane
Tel: 020 7208 4021
Disclosure: We were guests of Galvin at Windows.