There’s something very enchanting about seeing London from a great height. It’s a cool winter evening and we have views across Hyde Park and with Christmas lights twinkling in the distance. Galvin at Windows sits on the 28th floor of the newly refurbished London Hilton, and although the hotel is less impressive than its other Park Lane peers, this Michelin star restaurant has a unique charm. The bar next to the restaurant has views over Mayfair and there is an impressive selection of cocktails. It’s dark, atmospheric and is the perfect setting for a date. The restaurant is a long, airy and sophisticated dining room. With the thick linen and sparkling glassware, you immediately get a sense that this restaurant is the destination for special occasions.
We were sat on a round table on the lower floor, with a spectacular view of Hyde Park. We were served a basket of freshly baked bread and treated ourselves to some cocktails. I recommend The Dolphin (Passoa liqueur, Campari, strawberries, guava juice, all top up with Champagne) if you like something bubbly and sweet or The Foal (Absolut Wild Tea vodka, apple juice, vanilla syrup, fresh lemon juice, sweet basil, lemongrass, Thai chillies) if, like me, you like something refreshing with a bit of a kick.
Galvin at Windows is in its eighth year of service. The menu is modern French haute cuisine created by Chef Patron Chris Galvin and Head Chef Joo Won and they received their Michelin star in the 2010 Red Guide. General manager, Fred Sirieix, has perfected the service at Windows; it’s second to none. The waiters are warm, friendly and have an extensive knowledge of the menu. The sommelier deserves her own mention, as her wine pairings for each course were outstanding.
We started with a delicious amuse bouche of cod, sundried tomato and olive puree served with thin, crisp croutons. I followed this with a starter of seared scallops. These were cooked to perfection. The sweet taste and soft texture of the mollusk was beautifully complemented with the saltiness of the crispy chicken skin and the buttery taste of the sweetcorn. I also tasted the ballotine of game and Foie Gras, which was rich and flavoursome. For our main course I enjoyed the roasted loin of Lamb. This was served pink, tender and succulent and the meat was one of the highest qualities I have tasted. The braised belly and distinctive sauce it was served with added an extra dimension to the dish. We also ordered the roasted fillet of cod and the sommelier paired this with a Côtes du Rhône Viognier, Gendrines. The honeysuckle and apricot flavours of the wine livened up the buttery flavours of the cod and made this dish rather special.
I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but the waiter insisted we tried their Mont Blanc dessert. This was unquestionably the highlight of the meal. The chestnut dessert had the perfect balance of textures and a creamy vanilla sweetness. The dish was presented elegantly and served with a delicately sweet Marron Glace and quince. It was suggested we enjoyed this course with a cool glass of Madeira and this was the perfect accompaniment. My appreciation for the technical skill involved creating desserts has certainly returned. Hats off to Head Pastry Chef Nelson Barros Sá.
Galvin at Windows is the perfect setting for a formal meal and the menu will not leave you disappointed. You can literally write home about it as one of their extra services is a complimentary postcode with the view from your table sent to anywhere you wish. It’s these little added touches that make the experience unforgettable.