What: Seasonally inspired modern French haute cuisine
Why: For the view/the food/the service
Where: 22 Park Ln, London W1K 1BE
Our Favourite Thing: Lemon & caramelia soufflé with brown sugar ice cream
Website: Click to visit
Galvin at Windows is one of 7 from the Galvin Restaurant Group but I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say it is the highest, located on the 28th floor of the London Hilton. Make sure to pick your floor before getting in the elevator to save having to get out half way up because you realised that the lift you’re in doesn’t have buttons inside it and isn’t going where you need it to. That’s just one pearl of wisdom I learnt at my trip to the Michelin star French restaurant, more to come so pens and paper at the ready.
Galvin at Windows is aptly named because most of the walls are actually windows, boasting amazing views of London over Hyde Park reaching over to the Shard (hard to miss), Gherkin and the London Eye. Typically it was a bit grizzly when I went as is Sod’s Law but I can imagine on a sunny day the sights of the city would very pretty *bursts into God Save the Queen*.
There are two things the French do well; food and service. Galvin at Windows offers both of these in spades, from the doorman to the receptionists to the waiter, the staff worked like a well-oiled machine that seemed to personally care whether the customers enjoy their experience, while rather expectedly the food was top standard. What the French don’t seem to do well is vegetarian food, in fact so much so that Galvin at Windows doesn’t even offer any vegetarian dishes (dessert notwithstanding). If you don’t happen to be a huge fan of meat and fish then you needn’t fret as a quick request to Head Chef Joo Won will have him tailoring his dishes for your needs.
The meals at this high end restaurant are typically small and visually attractive as they are presented to us but what they lack in size they make up for in flavour and richness. The Cured Loch Fyne salmon, Dorset crab, fennel compote and avocado purée was amazing and fresh, while the White garlic velouté, native lobster, confit egg yolk & black garlic cream (sans lobster) was also delicious. For mains we opted for the Roasted Fillet of Halibut, braised octopus, seaweed pomme purée & lime beurre blanc under recommendation and it was a wise choice although the octopus stole the limelight from its fishy counterpart. I was whipped up a sweet onion tagliatelle with sautéed vegetables and pea puree which couldn’t be faulted.
The meal snowballed in flavour and ended in a bang with dessert, the Nougat Parfait with caramelised banana, Muscovado meringues & black pepper ice cream was a feast for the eyes with its piped tendrils escaping from a mound of sweet goodness. My Lemon & caramelia soufflé with brown sugar ice cream was some kind of magical, fluffy creation from outer space where their desserts are more advanced than our own and they have mastered perfection. This is worthy of a last meal request, I might apply now – just in case.
To summarise Galvin at Windows was exactly as expected for a restaurant worthy of being inside the Hilton; it was classy and refined, the food was aesthetically pleasing and delighted the taste buds while the staff were charming and amusing. And if you recognise the manager, it’s because he starred as the maitre de in First Dates, no photos please.
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