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|Address:||London Hilton, 22 Park Lane, London W1K 1BE|
|Tel:||020 3463 0299|
|Price: £78.00||Wine: £20.00||Champagne: £68.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Fri 12N-2.30pm Sun 11.45am-3.30pm Mon-Sat 6-10pm (Thurs-Sat -10.30pm )|
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I so wanted my dinner at Galvin Windows to be blow-your-socks-off good. Really really wanted it to be. And yet I left feeling a little deflated and disappointed.
Don't get me wrong, the food is very good on the whole. We chose from the Menu Prestige, which at £65 for three courses is a little steep in comparison to something like Marcus Waering at the Berkley. The choice however was good and varied enough, though not vast, and I was torn between the venison and the fillet of beef bordelaise (which incurred a £5 supplement)
The amuse bouche was superb – pumpkin bavarois, mushroom cream, topped with a parmesan froth. It was spectacular, although they lose a few marks by not telling me it had pistachio mixed into the parmesan froth. I have a partial nut allergy which I told them about before ordering, but still the amuse bouche came with the pistachios! Fortunately pistachios, hazelnuts and almonds are the only three nuts that I am not allergic to, but still it could have been a close call.
Starters for my partner were scallops in a slightly nondescript veloute of some sort, whilst I had a duck and foie gras terrine. The scallops were perfectly cooked – lightly browned on the outside, squishy in the middle and full of flavour, A shame then that the veloute was so bland in comparison and did nothing to lift, or complement, the scallops themselves. My terrine was very good – full of flavour, and came with an astonishing piece of brioche toast which I could have kept eating all night.
Mains – my partner had a roasted fillet of cod whilst I went for the beef. The fish elicited murmurs of delight, whilst the beef was actually really rather good, with slices of ox cheek underneath and a lovely bordelaise sauce. The smoked potato puree was also rather good, although not spectacular enough to elevate it onto another plain from other forms of mashed potato.
Dessert was a huge tarte tatin to share – huge in that it was a full dinner plate size, cut in half. Lovely looking caramelised apple, crisp pastry, but otherwise very run-of-the-mill taste. The vanilla bean ice cream didn't do enough to lift the dessert. In truth, and this isn't being harsh, Cafe Rouge offer almost as good a tarte tatin, but for considerably less money.
A lovely touch is their tisane menu, with some great teas. I had a “Tisane sans souci” which contained orange, lemon, possibly some bergamot, and other exotic herbs and flavours. Lovely. As too were their homemade marshmallows which we had set our beady eyes on all throughout dinner!
So after all this, why did I leave so deflated? Well, the food is very good no doubt, but sadly nothing more than that. It just wasn't spectacular enough – the flavours weren't so alive that they rearranged your taste buds. It was good fare, well executed, but lacking in imagination. Compared to the aforementioned Marcus Waering at the beginning of this review, it is evident that Galvin is trying hard but doesn't quite get to that level. That is before taking cost into consideration!
A couple of other things annoyed us. First, you are not allowed to wear coats in the bar. They must be checked in. If we wanted to keep our coats, and it was very cold that evening, then we would have had to go straight to the table. So after a bit of a stilted and incredulous conversation with their front of house, we checked our coats and headed into the bar. It took ten minutes for our drinks orders to be taken, five minutes for them to arrive, which was expected, and before we could even lift a glass to toast each other, a front of house girl came over, took our drinks off our bar table onto a tray and brusquely said that our table was ready and we should follow her. We hadn't even managed to have a drink in their bar!!! I found this really poor service, totally ignorant of letting a customer relax into a venue.
Then at the table, we had been seated for two minutes before a surly waiter comes over to ask for our orders! We still hadn't managed to drink any of our champagne!! And so it continues – no doubt the service staff want to ensure your every need is looked after, but this should be done discreetly without a constant ten minute return to ask questions or to prompt ordering. The restaurant wasn't even so busy at 8pm so why they felt they had to rush us into ordering, I don't know.
It is a shame when these aspects of service remain more prominent as memories in my head than the food itself. That is saying all that needs to be said. Yes, the view is spectacular and worth the visit alone, but honestly I won't be coming back.