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Galvin at Windows*

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Reviewed by The Wild Boar

Bearing a shiny new Michelin star, this beautiful restaurant is just one out of four restaurants in the newly emerging Galvin empire. Receiving largely positive reviews from both critics and bloggers alike, I’ve been wanting to try them out for quite a while.

Located on the top floor of the Hilton hotel in Park Lane, arguably the most impressive part of the restaurant is the highly impressive view of southwest London. Luckily, we were seated overlooking the Serpentine River and Kensington Gardens. We didn’t get to see much of the restaurant (was busy looking at both the wife and the view) but it looked fairly impressive while also being quite busy.

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Part of the reason we went to Galvin @ Windows for a Sunday lunch was because they still have a set lunch on Sunday. We both had three course set meals (£27) but one of them included half a bottle of wine (three choices of red and white each), half bottle of water as well as a cup of coffee for £42.

Two types of bread were offered – sourdough and olive and nut. They were both pretty decent, but nothing fantastic. The Pigpig was a bit disappointed that the bread wasn't warm. Let’s move on…

Galvin at Windows, London 01

Veloute of pea, soft poached duck egg”. The pea mixture was simply brilliant; a smooth creamy velvety concoction full of the sweet pea flavour. The occasional scattering of split peas added the only texture to the dish. Meanwhile, the egg yolk added even more richness to the soup. A great starter.

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Salad of smoked trout ‘3 ways’, Jersey Royals, asparagus & mustard”. Unfortunately, this looked as unsubstantial as it was uninteresting. There were rillette, croquette and plain smoked trout versions.

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Steamed fillet of hake, piperade, saffron potatoes & black olive tapenade”. I didn’t have a lot of good experiences with hake, but the meaty fish was perfectly cooked here such that it retained the juices and flaked apart beautifully. The sweet flavours from the piperade (sautéed onions, peppers and tomatoes) complemented the fish well while the olives added a mature twist.

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Roast corn fed coquelet, braised celery, pommes Anna & sauce Bois Bourdain”. Essentially roast baby chicken along with some slow cooked celery and a healthy slash of sauce. The sauce was pretty good, nice balance of flavours (sweet, salty, sour) which didn’t overpower the naturally mild-ish chicken taste.

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Vanilla pannacotta, Gariguette strawberry semifreddo, basil & strawberry jelly”. This was a really interesting combination for me; the pannacotta itself was already quite nice with the strawberry pieces but the semifreddo (felt like a granite) added a nice twist. The little hint of basil was just enough to make it different without being too overpowering and weird-ing it out.

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Dark chocolate tart, mango & cumin scented Chantilly”. Luckily we were smart enough to finish off the pannacotta first, because this chocolate tart was incredibly rich and it would have been difficult to appreciate the milder pannacotta later. Anyway, the chocolate itself was great and the tart crust was delightfully crunchy but I wasn’t a big fan of the cumin aroma.

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Altogether, the total cost was £80 for two sets of three course meals as well as a half bottle of wine, a bottle of still water and a cup of coffee. Along with the coffee were some petit fours while some marshmallows were delivered along with the bill.

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Galvin at Windows, London 10

Food – 7.8
Service – 5.5
Atmosphere – 7.5
Value – 5.0

Including the three recent Michelin starred set lunches (Launceston Place, Hibiscus, Ledbury) all costing about £40 (total) each, this was arguably the weakest and most unimpressive of the foursome. Not to say it was bad or poor, but in comparison to the other trio, some of the dishes here were somewhat ordinary especially the smoked trout and roast chicken.

Also, you may have noticed I didn’t mention an amuse-bouche, simply because we weren’t offered any although I’m not sure whether this was intentional or not.

Still, my mostly positive experience means I am interested in trying out the other chains in the Galvin line.

Best bit: the view, really awesome.
Worst bit: gimme a moment… no, sorry, cant think of anything too negative.

Galvin at Windows*
22 Park Lane,
Tel: +44 (020) 7208 4021
Official website

Galvin at Windows on Urbanspoon

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