By Jonathan Hatchman, Food Editor, @TLE_Food
With over 30 awards to its name, as well as having retained its prestigious Michelin Star every year since 2009, our expectations of Galvin at Windows were already sky high, before even arriving at Park Lane’s Hilton Hotel. Opening back in 2006 (9 years to the day, on our recent visit), after ascending to the hotel’s 28th floor, the sweeping panoramic views are the first experience that’s on offer from the restaurant. However, although the daytime view of Buckingham Palace, Green Park and Hyde Park from our window-side table are impressive, it’s the constantly growing city to the East which boasts the most picturesque view, best seen from the balcony that follows our tour of the busy kitchen that’s approaching the end of lunch service.
Views aside, the restaurant itself evokes the glamour of the 1930s and provides a wonderful lunchtime atmosphere to sample some of the modern French haute cuisine delights from Head Chef Joo Won and Chef Patron Chris Galvin. Dining from the Menu Prestige (just one of the differing menus on offer), which is inspired by Seasonally appropriate ingredients, with three courses for £70. To begin, there’s a selection of deliciously lavish starters incredibly hard to narrow down to just one, with Cured Loch Fyne Salmon and Dorset Crab, Scallop Ceviche, and Ballotine of Foie Gras and marinated Prune. Eventually I decided to order the White Garlic Velouté, a creamy soup-like sauce that’s accompanied by a small portion of Lobster that sits beautifully alongside a rich orange confit Egg Yolk. Meanwhile, having been recommended by the waitress opted for the in season Roasted Asparagus served with delicious smoked Ham and a cheesy Parmesan sauce. Both were delicious.
Needless to say, the main courses had a difficult pair of entrées to follow. With a fair selection of Meat, Fish and Vegetarian options to choose from, we both went for a meaty main, with the slightly spiced Lamb Rump joined by confit Pork Belly, some Cumin-laced cooking jus and some devilled sweetbreads which excelled the dish to a whole new level of scrumptiousness. For myself, a thick fillet of Casterbridge Beef, cooked ever-so-slightly over my Medium-Rare order, albeit still appetising, joined by a range of Onion textures, lashings of Red Wine jus and some unnecessary, albeit delicious, pan-seared Foie Gras: a dish that’s more than worth the additional £6 supplement. Another worthy mention is the optional side of Pommes Purée that’s unbelievably smooth, well made and basic, in order to let the key simple ingredients impress.
On to desserts, a rich Chocolate mousse with Blood Orange curd and Passion Fruit Sorbet, a well executed Lemon, Banana and Caramelia Chocolate soufflé each washed down with a cup of intense black Coffee manage to provide a fantastic conclusion to a marvellous dining experience at a restaurant I simply cannot wait to return to.
Galvin at Windows can be found on the 28th floor of the Hilton Hotel, 22 Park Lane, London, W1K 1BE