If you haven`t yet been to Galvin at Windows, give them a call and make a reservation. Galvin offers some of the most spectacular and unique outlooks over London – with panoramic views over the West End, Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace. It`s worth a visit just for that.
But look beyond the incredible views (not literally) and you`ll find there`s a whole lot more to discover. Head Chef André Garrett has put together a truly wonderful menu – the sort that you find almost impossible to choose from – which is complemented by a hugely capable, polite and knowledgeable team. All things considered, Galvin offers everything you could want for a truly memorable night out in London – a fact that was reflected by the numerous and varied clientele there on a Wednesday night (cheery, albeit fairly sophisticated, family outings; important looking business diners; and young couples gazing lovingly into each other`s eyes).
And what of the food?
Following an aperitif in the bar, overlooking most of Central London, we sat down to a delightful amuse-bouche of ham hock in jelly, with carrot foam and carrot cake – a lovely way to start. We opted for a selection of wines. The sommelier offered to match a different label to each course at his discretion, which he did admirably and with aplomb. If you`re looking to treat someone (or yourself) this option is definitely worth considering.
My dining partner opted for the seared foie gras to start, which was served with a spicy duck pastilla, confit lemon and date consommé. This came with a wonderful Glen Carlou Chardonnay 2009 – light and refreshing. Meanwhile I chose the seared Scottish scallops with wild sea vegetables and oyster emulsion, accompanied by one of my favourites – a Loire Valley Vouvray. Lovely though this was, I must admit on this course I felt I`d missed a trick – the foie gras was one of the best I`ve ever tasted! I shall definitely order this myself next time.
For the main course I chose to stick with fish and ordered the braised turbot. This was served with linguini, cucumber and oyster in a wasabi and oyster velouté. I`ve always found turbot to be rather fishy (if you get my meaning), but the sharpness of the wasabi worked perfectly to offset the strong flavours. Interestingly, our sommelier recommended a red for this dish, which I was happy to try (despite being a little dubious). As with almost all of his picks, it was inspired: a soft and slightly oaked Little Yering Pinot Noir 2008, which worked well with what is, after all, a rather fleshy fish. My friend ordered cutlet of Pyrenean lamb, slow cooked shoulder, kidney brochette with anchovy, capers and aubergine. I`m told it was every bit as good as it looked but, regrettably, by the time I looked up for a taste, it was all gone! The swine. The lamb came with a well-rounded Paul Jaboulee Aine St Joseph 2008. Delicious.
At £65 for three courses, this meal was not only every bit as good as the view, it was also great value and we were perfectly full after the main. And yet, we couldn`t resist one more course. The caramelized Royal Gala apple tarte tatin came highly recommended and our sommelier had a dessert wine he insisted we should sample – a 2005 Domaine de l’Ancienne Cure Monbazillac Cuvée Abbaye. As desserts go, I don`t remember ever having better.
As you can tell, I`m rather a fan of Galvin. I thought the food and the views were exceptional and well worth a return visit, but it was the service (unlike several other Michelin-starred establishments I could list!) that made this truly an evening to remember.
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