Zoe Perrett pays a visit to Galvin at Windows for dinner with a view
Despite the presence of maitre d’ extraordinaire Fred Sirieix, this is not an episode of First Dates. But were our relationship still at that awkward fledgling stage, the bar’s intriguing passport-style cocktail menu would prove the perfect conversation starter.
Taking cues from a duo of destinations on our travel hit list, we go with a fruity, rum-centric Cuba and the Uruguay; a devilish liquid dance between mescal and tequila.
We move through to the Michelin-starred restaurant, and to a table offering a glittering 28th floor cityscape of London-by-night (its edges softened somewhat by the liquor consumed thus far), where we’re introduced to a bread basket whose company we find so agreeable, it’s topped up thrice.
The dining room is one of those so slick in every element of its operation that the food is almost incidental – except here it’s exceptionally good. Korean head chef Joo Won introduces Eastern ingredients and techniques to the Galvin brothers’ signature British cuisine, and the marriage is one that’s both surprising and winning.
Kimchi, spring onions and sesame lighten and brighten a risotto starter that’s made all the silkier by the river of orange yolk which oozes from the soft poached egg perched atop. For LB, it’s Iberico pork – the tender, smoky meat teamed with cool, crunchy mooli and a hot, umami fermented chilli purée.
The sommelier team ensures what’s in the glass is as well judged as what’s on the plate; the risotto partnered with a gently-oaked white rioja; the pork a ripe, rounded pinot noir.
Mas de Daumas Gassac’s sweet-yet-structured blended white flatters a chunk of Beaufort-crusted hake with spicy squid and hispi cabbage, whilst a spicy, black-fruited Bordeaux is sufficiently robust to stand up to Cornish lamb rump plated alongside melting confit fennel and an itsy bitsy Shepherd’s pie. It tastes so much like LB’s late mum’s that every mouthful brings a tear to his eye.
By this stage we’re just assuming everything will be flawless, and dessert only affirms that notion. My multi-component-ed Valrhona chocolate cremeux could equally pose as pudding or artwork; LB’s banoffee ice-cream bar is the Magnum the eponymous brand would kill to call its own.
Digestives, coffee, chocolates, marshmallows from a sweet-shop style jar… it feels like Team Galvin is reluctant to let us leave – and we’re every bit as reluctant to go.
Make it happen
Where: Galvin at Windows, 22 Park Lane, London W1K 1BE
Find out more: To visit the website, click here