We were recently very kindly invited by family-owned 5-star luxury hotel Athenaeum, whose list of current and former regulars includes Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, and Kim Kardashian, to try (for free) the fixed price £37.50 three-course deal (which includes unlimited dessert) at their restaurant Galvin at the Athenaeum , an offer we could not refuse, having previously heard many good things about this fine restaurant.
The location on Piccadilly close to Hyde Park Corner, in a building previously owned by the famous Athenaeum private members club, which moved into nearby Pall Mall (and which has 52 Nobel Prize winners amongst its current and former members), could not be better, and the old building has been perfectly refurbished with state of the art technology and plenty of original artwork everywhere.
Galvin at The Athenaeum is under the supervision of Michelin-starred chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin. The two brothers, who are usually known for their French dishes are for the first time focusing on British dishes with a modern touch (even though the menu does include a few of their well-known French trademark dishes). The menu is full of top-quality British produce from independent farmers.
We were immediately taken in by the friendly, warm, pleasantly bright, elegant atmosphere, and by the perfect service. After short deliberation we decided to go for Portland crab, avocado, toasted English muffin & hollandaise, and smoked duck, plum, poached egg & hollandaise for starters. As our mains we chose grilled lobster, lemon, garlic & parsley butter, and Rose County rib-eye, Béarnaise and chips (both coming with a very reasonable £9.50 supplement). The dessert was going to be from the buffet.
The bread with butter arrived just after we had ordered, and was delicious. The crab and the egg, duck, and plum dish, which followed soon after, were beautiful to look at and very tasty. The strip of cured duck meat had the perfect texture, and the question came to mind, why don’t all egg dishes come with duck.
Ms B was also very pleased with her large lobster (so was I when I tried), which went extremely well with the unusual mix of grilled mushrooms, watercress, dill, and other herbs and the sauce. I loved my steak and the sauce that came with it. In this country, it’s not a given, not even at the high end, to get your steak medium-rare when you order it medium-rare (it might still arrive just a tad under well-done), but these beautiful people know their steak.
The unlimited dessert was fabulous, and especially Ms B seemed right in her element, returning several times to the buffet (unfortunately because of an accident with the camera the pictures of the little sweet masterpieces met their maker, not making it into this blog post).
(c) Athenaeum Hotel, all other photos (c) Berkeley Square Barbarian
We’ll return soon, this time as paying customers. 5 out of 5 in our book.
We recently tried another one of the Galvin brothers’ restaurants: Galvin at Windows, review here, which was a great experience, but we preferred Galvin at the Athenaeum. Further restaurant reviews can be found here (two-starred Lafleur, Frankfurt), here (Gruvelageret, Spitsbergen), and here (one-starred Benoit, Paris).