Galvin at Windows

My meal at Galvin a couple of weeks ago was a birthday celebration with an old friend who, until a cold and rainy evening early last year, I hadn’t seen for well over 10 years. We re-connected online and I am one of the only people I know who can say that facebook has brought something meaningful into my actual, real, offline life.

I remember the nervous feeling as I approached that first meeting with my friend after so many years, battling against sheet rain, hoping it was worth it, crossing my fingers we wouldn’t have grown apart in incompatible directions. As you can probably guess, I had nothing to worry about and that freezing wintry night catching up on 15 years of life events over burgers and cocktails seems a world away now from the glorious balmy evening at Galvin. We gazed out over London, champers in hands, and toasted our birthdays (on the same day), some big changes (both of us, work related) and the joy of a rekindled friendship.

Galvin is on the 28th floor of the Park Lane Hilton and I’ll admit I felt a tad nervous – not because of the height (although it does make me wobbly) but because of the blazing sun – the place is all windows for chrissakes. I’ve been to Galvin before however and so knew that I would again enjoy their highly entertaining management of the blinds, which go up and down more often than the lift to the restaurant.  I swear they must employ someone full time to operate the controls – or perhaps they’ve got some poor sod on work experience doing it.

The view is truly stunning, which is always a worry with a restaurant as they may rely on it to pull in the customers rather then focusing on the food. Fortunately for Galvin, this isn’t the case. Both feeling a bit skint, we decided to go for the ‘La Carte’ dinner menu (£33 for three courses), which Galvin have introduced on the back of the success of their ‘credit crunch lunch’ offer.

I started with a very pretty and summery plate of smoked salmon with Cornish crab and avocado puree. The salmon was silky and excellently smoked, the amount of crab just on the right side of the line between subtle and and lost and the avocado puree super smooth and creamy. A touch of pickled ginger at first caught me off guard but was nonetheless a welcome surprise due to my serious pickle addiction.

My friend ordered the asparagus with poached quails egg and grapefuit hollandaise and I’m going to assume this was good as I can’t remember anything she said about it. In fact, things started to get a little hazy from here on in, perhaps due to the pre-dinner cider (we both hail from the shire) followed by bubbly and then some excellently matched glasses of wine. I do remember being impressed by the friendly sommelier but I’m afraid the names of his choices escape me now (I know, I know but I have a full on wine post coming soon so forgive me).

I continued on a fish theme with sea trout and wild asparagus, which I’ve not tried before. I found the flavour stronger than the regular green variety and ever so slightly bitter. The fish was perfectly cooked with faintly translucent, meaty flakes and a good crispy skin. My mate ordered the beef with yet more asparagus so between us I think we gave the 2009 asparagus season a damn good send off.

For dessert we ordered the apple tart tatin for two, which arrived in the pan, was cut in half at the table and served with caramel sauce and Calvados crème fraîche, which I immediately plonked on top of the hot tatin for oozy, melty hot ‘n cold goodness. I noted dessert envy glances from a neighbouring table. It was truly one of the dreamiest tatins I’ve ever tasted and I’m still annoyed that it managed to defeat me, which is really saying something because I’m pretty greedy.

For £33 I think the ‘La Carte’ menu at Galvin is great value. The food was delicious, well presented without being fussy and importantly, not stingy on the portions, which can be a danger with a fixed price menu offer. If I have to find something to complain about it would be the fact that the service can be a little bit too attentive at times but mostly, we were too busy chatting for this to be a problem.

There was no hint of embarrassment from my long lost friend as I snapped these photos by the way – during only our second meal together at Wahaca, I broke out the camera and was delighted to find her not the least bit self-conscious or concerned that I might have lost my mind. I knew at that moment we would be friends for years to come.

Galvin at Windows
22 Park Lane
0207 208 4021

Galvin at Windows on Urbanspoon

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15 thoughts on “Galvin at Windows

  1. I’m due to meet up with an old friend that I’ve not seen since Uni next week (we also found each other on FB), I hope it’s as good as your experience! Have been dying to try Galvin for ages, will definitely give it a go, for that tarte tatin if nothing else, oof!

  2. I can’t wait to try Galvins now, I have been curious about them since they are so active on twitter (don’t they have a twitter menu or something simillar?) and reading the menu always seems like such a good deal to me. I’m going to scale the dizzy heights in the coming weeks…..

    ….but not before the lobster salad at belgo 😉

    kangs last blog post..Morgan M: The French can still cook [Invite to Review]

  3. Helen,
    You write so well and your comments always make me smile! The food looks delicious and what could be better than sharing it over a glass of something delicious and chatting to an old friend! Well done you!

    Merlottis last blog post..Lack of Kitchen

  4. I’ve always found the food outstanding (and so edible) here despite nagging doubts that the manager might be more concerned with Tweeting his autobiography into the ether than ensuring smooth service. The food and service reveals that he is ambidextorous. Spelling!

  5. I also met up with a good long lost friend though facebook last year and had a wonderful lunch at Harvey Nics in Leeds catching up on 14 lost years (in fact it took our waitress over 20 minutes to get us to shut up and focus on the menu so she could take our order!).

    Your meal sounds lovely – I had a look at their La Carte menu last week so I might give it a go.

    We had wild asparagus at MsMarmiteLover’s Underground Restaurant on Saturday. It’s clearly the in thing at the moment!

    The Ginger Gourmands last blog post..The Underground Restaurant

  6. Krista – Brilliant! So now I am one of only two people I know :)
    An American in London – Yes I think you may be right. This was hugely butter, perhaps because there wasn’t much of it or maybe they did something to it to take the bitterness away.
    Helen – That tatin was SO good. I am still thinking about it!
    MsMarmiteLover – Agreed. I was nervous but needlessly so, the food was great.
    Kerri – It is a total bargain considering I couldn’t actually finish it all
    Genuineness – Yes it is the lighting definitely. The tatin was the best I’ve ever eaten. Just delicious. It must have been a ‘blinds down’ moment.

  7. I’ve yet to make it to Galvin for dinner (sorry Fred but I will soon!). And I’ve never seen wild asparagus before, so now I know what it looks like. What a delicious way to end the dinner too!

  8. Sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate your birthday, and the £33 menu sounds excellent. As for the wild asparagus, I was in Istria, Croatia during wild asparagus season, and all the locals were outside foraging for the stuff. I bought some at the local market and my usual method of a quick blanch wasn’t enough to kill the extremely bitter taste of the wild asparagus there. Perhaps in the case of wild asparagus, a little goes a long way?

  9. Last year, a good friend of mine who I haven’t seen since I was about 18 (more than 15 years ago!) got back in touch via Facebook…as she was planning a trip to London! It was great to catch up with her, and it was honestly like those 15+ years had never happened.

    Love your photos. Really beautifully crisp and clear.


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