We’re just back from our visit to Chef Patron Chris Galvin‘s Galvin at Windows, which boasts incredible 360 degree views of London from the 28th floor of the London Hilton on Park Lane. I should say “usually boasts”, because we picked the worst time to visit, considering that it was a dark, rainy, cloudy day, but the friends we met up with (two other couples) and us, we were still immediately bought in on the atmosphere. The interior décor combines modern elegance and state-of-the-art comfort with the glamour of the 1930s.
Everyone I know hates 1960s architecture, and rightly so, but this true gem, which was completed in 1963, is one of the nicest buildings I’ve seen. It looks surprisingly modern from the outside, but the main selling point is its Y-shaped layout, which means you are always next to at least three window fronts. The fact that this building won several best hotel prizes recently, more than half a century after it was built, speaks for itself. It has seen its fair share of ups and downs, with all the famous people that have spent time here and all the crazy parties that must have happened in the 56 suites, but also with tragedies like the IRA bomb that killed two and injured dozens in 1975 and with the death of the Cranberries lead singer earlier this year, while residing at the hotel.
Service was fabulous from the moment we arrived, with one of the waiters being particularly entertaining and humorous in a low-key, quiet way, and absolutely all staff being extremely helpful, friendly, professional, and amazing.
My wife, Ms B, had come across a special lunch deal for £30, which included three courses (three options including one vegetarian option each for the starter and main) and a Bellini. I went for the poached pollock flakes, roasted potato, caramelised onion & parsley for starters, and roasted rump of pork, boudin noir, carrot & cider jus for mains, and added a red wine poached pear, almonds, yoghurt foam & vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Ms B chose salad Lyonnais, pea puree, crispy bacon, soft boiled egg & lemon and thyme dressing as her starter, salmon quenelle, shellfish cream & fennel salad as a main, and “Matefaim” apple cake, croquants & crème fraiche ice cream as dessert.
I was very pleased with my poached pollock flakes and enjoyed the little ceremony of the waiter pouring creamy sauce over it at the table. My wife loved her salad Lyonnais, which wasn’t anywhere near as hearty as we know it from France, but delicious.
My pork was surprisingly (and pleasant at that) down-to-earth, traditional cuisine, with the carrot & cider jus adding a bit of sparkle in terms of look and taste. The salmon quenelle was perhaps not perfect in texture and not very intense in flavour, but still a fine culinary experience there, delivered by head chef Joo Won.
We both liked our desserts. I was particularly fond of my wife’s apple cake and the crème fraiche ice cream.
We enjoyed our lunch today and will be back soon. 4.5 out of 5 in our book. 5 out of 5 if you focus on the overall experience. 10 out of 5 on a sunny day, no doubt.