Galvin at Windows in Park Lane is the sort of restaurant that your humble reviewer never goes to. It’s almost intimidatingly posh with a Michelin-starred chef Andre Garrett. You imagine the prices are astronomical.
From the 28th floor you are, in fact, close to the stars. (I was also told Mr. Clooney would be in later). From your table you have a view over London, the wheel winking red in the distance like the eye of Sauron.
Galvin at Windows has a £58 menu (£48,a glass of free bubbly and coffee if you are on Twitter) which, for this level of cooking is a bargain. Proving you don’t have to break the bank on the drink either, we chose the cheapest wine £16 for a bottle of white Cheverney ’07 from the Loire valley, mildly petillant, with just the right level of acidity.
After a complimentary amuse-bouche of tuna, divine little baguettes and a pyramid of butter from Bordier, I picked the Blue fin tuna which melted on the tongue like the freshest sashimi.
My sister chose the trio of oysters, presented on tiny sea salt and pink peppercorn plinths, baked on choucroute, grilled and raw with a soy sauce dressing. This was accompanied by lightly toasted sourdough bread.
The front of house staff are precisely trained. We watched one waitress spend 5 full minutes just laying a table cloth.
For mains I chose the wild mushroom (trompettes de la mort) risotto, foresty, earthy, each grain of rice sticky and separate, punctuated by aged parmesan wafers.
Sis had the freshest sea bream with the lightest gnocci in pumpkin foam. So this is molecular gastronomy…where texture transforms the experience of eating as much as flavour.
The cheese trolley winked at us seductively
“Shall I go fully goat?” asked my sister.
We are given a selection of 8 cheeses, placed clockwise in order of strength. Wafer thin biscuits and grapes expertly complement.
As we gaze at other diners, my sis has a ‘belle de jour’ moment:
”when I fantasize about being a call girl for a rich, older, grateful man taking me to a restaurant, this is it”.
The sommelier pours us a dessert wine ‘Manseng’ made from petit et gros grapes. It’s a discovery for me; amber, smoke, honey, pear drops and rosemary syrup. I can’t get my nose out of the glass:
“Is this the glue that celebrities sniff?”
Collette said of this grape variety “I was a girl when I met this prince; aroused, imperious, treacherous, as all great seducers are.”
A pear Tarte tatin for pudding; they say it’s for 2 but it could easily feed 4, arrived with 3 jugs: cognac crème fraiche, fudge sauce and double cream.
Chocolates were then carefully extracted from a cigar box lined with coffee beans; silvered pralines and Szechuan spice squares.
To finish a glass jar of marshmallows, coffee and raspberry, made in-house and light as air.