Step through the oscillating doors of The Hilton Hotel, make your way through the grand lobby and take the lift up to Gavlin at Windows. Situated on the 28th floor, the restaurant offers spectacular views across London. Launched in 2006, Galvin at Windows is just one of the restaurants in the Galvin Group; owned by brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin, the restaurant celebrates seasonally inspired modern French cuisine, with a regularly changing menu that takes in a wide range of influences – not least Head Chef Joo Won’s Korean heritage. Adjoining Galvin at Windows, is the restaurant’s recently relaunched bar, 10 Degrees. Named after the ‘golden hour,’ when the setting sun creates a dusky glow over the City of London, this is the perfect spot for pre (and post) dinner drinks.
Extending across the majority of the 28th floor, Galvin at Windows is a grand, open space with large floor to ceiling windows. It is simply decorated with elegant furniture to match the brown and cream colour scheme. One of the restaurant’s main features is the impressive wine rack, which encompasses an entire wall, holding some of the finest wines, selected by Chef Patron Chris Galvin and the restaurant’s Sommelier, Rudina Arapi. With views like this, little is more, anything else would just be a distraction.
The great thing about Galvin at Windows, is that for a high end restaurant it offers a variety of menus, with different price points, making it a favourable place to dine for many. It’s perfect for client meetings, big celebrations, date nights and even family occasions – Chef Joo Won has even created a mini Sunday roast just for smaller bellies. Though situated in The Hilton, dinner guests stretch far beyond those staying in the hotel, with people coming from beyond London for a taste of the Galvin charm.
Any menu with truffle on immediately has my attention. So naturally, I was sure to try every dish with this in the title. After nibbling on giant green olives and freshly baked breads, we tucked into our starters, cured salmon with Oscietra caviar, and a salad of violet artichoke, crones, truffle cream and confit mushrooms – after joking about ordering a ‘salad’ for a starter, I was quick to retract any previous comments I had made, it was delicious. The Sommelier paired our dishes with a glass of Sancerre and Chablis – as you can imagine, there were zero complaints. For my main course, I continued with the seafood theme, opting for the lobster tail, scallop and sea bream in a rich bisque – the depth of flavour in the sauce was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. My company for the evening chose the fillet of Scotch beef, which came with even more truffle. Naturally I tried this too, washing down the wonderful flavours with a long swig of his Valpolicella, expertly paired once again.
There was a small interlude between mains and dessert, where we had the pleasure of meeting Chef Patron Chris Galvin himself. After introducing us to the rest of the chef team, he took us onto the outside balcony, an area usually inaccessible to diners. I could have stayed here all night, talking all things wine and food with Chef, with the city skyline as our backdrop. Returning to the restaurant we enjoyed a platter of cheeses before moving onto the sweets. We shared the banana and chocolate soufflé with peanut butter ice cream, and caramelised apple tatin with vanilla ice cream; there was no contest, the tatin was a clear winner, and we were sure to enjoy every last drop of the sweet and sticky caramel sauce it was served with. We culminated the fantastic meal with a measure of fine whisky in the 10 Degrees bar, soaking up the final views.
In a nutshell
For a restaurant that’s just lost its Michelin Star, the food and the service was nothing short of perfect. I have no doubt that it won’t be long before stars are on the wall once again. Lunch set menus start at £31 for two courses, while dinner is fixed at £82 for three courses. They also serve Saturday brunch from 12pm – 3pm and a roast on Sundays. For the complete experience, be sure to visit both the bar and the restaurant, for sweeping 360 degree views of the city.