Galvin at Windows, Hilton, Park Lane

It’s a breathtaking view over London from the 28th floor of the Hilton at 22 Park Lane, but that’s not the best thing about Galvin at Windows...

If we had to pick out what sets this place apart, it would be the combination of relaxed hospitality and reliably great food.
 
Start your evening with a cocktail in the chic but unpretentious bar with its 360-degree views over Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace one way, and the City and Shard in the other. We sipped excellently mixed Manhattans – it seemed only fitting considering the view. The bar is comfortably buzzing with young mixed groups of animated 20-30 something’s sipping champagne rather than the tables of suits we had anticipated (and it gets really busy with cool West London pre-clubbers after 10). If you can’t get a table in the restaurant you could enjoy a perfectly great evening in the bar doing some serious people watching while you work through the diverse cocktail menu and scrumptious tapas (beef teriyaki skewers, king prawns and mini burgers to name a few).

After a pleasant half hour soaking up the post-work buzz, we moved through to the main event; the elegant Michelin star restaurant with ceiling to floor windows over the city. We started with an excellent seared Scottish king scallops dish served with a subtle sweet corn purée and slow cooked pork belly and shellfish reductions. The plump succulent scallops were fresh, tender and perfectly cooked while the rich reduction was the perfect compliment. The second starter – a generous serving of thinly sliced marinated Loch Fyne salmon with fresher than fresh white Dorset crab meat was accompanied by a perfectly balanced sweet/sharp, clean/creamy beetroot and horseradish cream. Delicious.
 
We thought it couldn’t get any better. But then out came the mains. A poached fillet of flakey soft halibut, topped with a herb potato crust was served with golden enoki mushrooms and a subtle shellfish broth that blew us away. The second main course – monkfish – was a steaky beast of a fish dish with an orange glazed endive, powerful cauliflower purée, toasted pine nuts and punchy shellfish reduction. We’d been tempted by the robust fillet of beef we’d seen going to the table next to us, but were delighted by the subtlety of the flavours and quality of both fish main courses. There was also a simplicity that we loved, with each beautifully presented dish generously portioned (rather than fussy little dishes of style over substance). They also left a perfect little space for desert. And so we polished off the homemade caramelized pear tarte tartin and Tahitian vanilla ice-cream, reminiscent of my favourite little Parisian patisserie in Le Marais – plus a rich dark chocolate mousse with hazelnuts, which was to die for.

 
Would I come again? You bet. This is a great place for a special occasion if you’re out to impress with a wide menu, excellent wine list and stand-out female sommelier. Go for a date, check out the great value set lunch, or simply hit the bar for mid-week cocktails with the girls – with a side order of London skyline.

Approx £45-50 per head without wine.
 
Galvinatwindows.com
22 Park Lane, London, United Kingdom W1K 1BE

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