From October 2016…
I had never been to a Michelin star Restaurant before so when London Restaurant month rolled around in October I thought it would be the best time to try!
I go out around once a month with friends to somewhere new so a couple of us booked up to go to Galvin at Windows. It’s on the 28th floor of the Park Lane Hilton and the views across London are outstanding.
The welcome from the staff was excellent; they were formal yet welcoming and very well turned out. Our table was located on the raised centre section of the restaurant meaning we got to enjoy the views and see across the whole establishment.
We had booked for the 3 course set menu and set about making our choices. One of my group, being a Muslim, was catered to as much as was possible by the kitchen and had no trouble choosing tasty dishes.
We were given a free amuse-bouche of cold pea soup with smoked eel and Granny Smith apple. A delightful fresh way to start the meal. My palette, and that of my friends, may need a little refining though as we all thought it would’ve been nicer warm.
For starter I opted for the ballotine of pigs head. This was an incredibly tasty terrine of pork meat with black pudding cubes through it, sour dough toast and pickles on the side; just like you’d have in the finest French wine bars.
My friends had celeriac velouté and smoked mackerel dishes. I tried a little of the celeriac velouté and it was delicious and rich but we both agreed that there was a lot of it and the richness stopped her from finishing it. My other friend had the smoked mackerel which looked stunning and he assured me tasted great except for the fact he found himself picking small bones out of it.
For the main I had beef bourguignon with bone marrow jus. This was as good as it sounds with the beef melting in my mouth and the rich, sticky bone marrow jus giving it a beautiful coating. The vegetable garnishes were well cooked if a little cold, perhaps they spent a little too long at the pass. My friends both had the salmon dish and agreed that it was possibly the best salmon they had ever had. I don’t remember the garnishes but I do remember that we couldn’t convince one of my friends that you’re supposed to eat the crispy salmon skin; what a waste!
The desserts were very good; I had spiced William pears and my friends both had the jelly and ice cream. The pears came as a small dish but finished off my meal very well leaving me nicely satiated. My friends disagreed on their jelly and ice cream; one thinking it was amazing and the other thinking that there should’ve been more jelly, less berry. Both enjoyed the ice cream though.
The meal was finished off with some delicious truffles and marshmallows. I particularly liked the passion fruit truffle.
The meal, all in all, came to £170 including water, wine and service charge. For a 3 course Michelin star meal for 3 people, I’m certainly not complaining as it is not something I will be doing that regularly.
I can’t say it was the best meal I’ve ever had but from what I know of Michelin it’s not just about the food. The whole experience was exquisite. The staff were perfectly polite without being stuffy, even having the occasional laugh and joke with us. The restaurant itself was posh but inviting. I particularly liked that they give each guest a postcard and offer to post it anywhere in the world. This is a really nice touch. We each sent a card and within a few days they had arrived!
This is a fantastic restaurant and if you haven’t been you really should. I may or may not be back again because there are so many other exciting places I want to go and eat!