Galvin at Windows boasts one of the most spectacular dining rooms in London and you certainly don’t have to be a tourist in order to appreciate one of the most varied skylines in the world. Located on the 28th floor of the Hilton Park Lane, standing at 101 metres in height – the bustling hotel lobby, filled with luggage and babbling tourists, makes it hard to imagine the glamorous restaurant and bar that awaits you upon exiting the lift.
The interior is inspired by the clean lines of the Art Deco era and looks equally striking on both a summer’s day or when the sultry ‘mood’ lighting comes into play in the evening, making the bar a popular venue with Mayfair business men and couples enjoying an aperitif ahead of a romantic dinner. A less formal bar menu with a selection of tapas-style snacks can also be enjoyed, encouraging diners to visit more regularly than just on special occasions.
The main dining room offers the more celebratory option and, although you expect to pay a premium for such a dramatic view, the food really has to impress. Thankfully, the moment you do draw your attention away from the panoramic horizon you’ll realise that Galvin at Windows isn’t just a pretty face. A celebration of French haute cuisine, choose from either the al a carte Menu Prestige (£70 for three courses) or the 7 course tasting Menu Degustation (£99) with the option for wine pairing by the head sommelier.
Chris Galvin’s career as a chef is legendary and, when asked by Corbin & King to head up the kitchen of The Wolseley when it opened in 2003, he not only helped to make it one of the hottest table reservation lines in the city but firmly put the Wolseley breakfast on the map. Corbin and King’s burgeoning restaurant empire no doubt provided a wealth of inspiration to Galvin whose first foray as a restaurateur saw him team up with his brother and fellow chef, Jeff, to establish Galvin Bistro de Lux on Baker Street in 2005, currently celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Just one year later and the brothers opened Galvin at Windows to critical acclaim, followed by the approval of a Michelin star in 2010 which they have retained ever since and which secured the restaurant’s reputation for exemplary French cuisine. Whilst Chris and Jeff went on to open a further five restaurants, Windows remains the fine dining flagship, with Chris acting as Chef Patron and heavily involved with maintaining the same standards.
Joo Won, who hails from South Korea, first joined Windows in 2006 as a senior sous chef before being promoted to Head Chef in 2013 following the departure of Andre Garrett to Cliveden House in Buckinghamshire. Having stepped into the role seamlessly, Won is partnered by an impeccably slick and personable front of house team commanded by General Manager, Fred Siriex, one of the most recognisable faces in the industry having worked at Le Gavroche and appeared on several TV programmes including ‘Michel Roux’s Service’.
The wine list not only offers something for all budgets but provides the opportunity for some serious imbibing. The classical French dishes are extremely well executed, whilst benefiting from vibrantly modern presentation. Marinated Loch Fyne salmon accompanied by Dorset crab, orange, beetroot and horseradish cream proved a refreshing preamble to a hearty main of Cumbrian Angus beef fillet, sinful foie gras, honey roasted parsnip and pomme purée. A dessert of Rum baba was accompanied by a delightful golden raisin compote and crème Fontainebleau; the sponge beautifully light and doused in potent syrup, with the hint of fruit creating rum ‘n’ raisin heaven. As for the view – I would have happily dined blindfolded.
Galvin at Windows, Hilton Park Lane. For more information visit the website.