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Michelin-starred chef siblings Chris and Jeff Galvin have added to their slowly expanding empire with a restaurant at The Athenaeum. Like Galvin at Windows and The Pompadour by Galvin, this newcomer is in a hotel, and like Galvin Bistrot de Luxe and Galvin La Chapelle the menu features French classics such as steak tartare with toasted sourdough. The Athenaeum however has a stronger British accent than its siblings; we especially enjoyed a pretty starter of dressed Portland crab with Hampshire watercress and rye bread. Other similarly simple dishes also fared well. Soused Cornish mackerel with ratte potatoes and cucumber was a deluxe potato salad with a lively dressing, while a thick slice of calf’s liver was perfectly cooked pink all the way through, scattered with crisp leaves of sage and sitting on a buttery bed of slow-cooked fried onion. Prices are generous for the Mayfair hotel location; a trencherman-sized Dingley Dell pork belly with black pudding clocks in at just £16.50. To finish, puddings such as cherry Bakewell tart are aimed at the sweet-toothed. All-day eating, including breakfast and afternoon tea, is another plus – a boon for tourists and local suits – but it does mean there’s an inescapable feeling you’re sitting in a rather bland hotel dining room designed for international tastes. The equally new Bar at the Athenaeum deals in innovative twists on cocktail classics, but if that’s not your thing, there’s always the hotel’s famous whisky collection.
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