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Windows on the Wedding: Galvin at Windows, Hilton on Park Lane

28th Floor, London Hilton on Park Lane, 22 Park Lane, London, W1K 1BE
Cuisine: British
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Words by Michael Lynch and Zoe Perrett

Michael Lynch visits Galvin at Windows on the 28th floor of the Hilton Park Lane, where the stunning views are just one draw of this top London restaurant. With stylish 1930's decor, Andre Garrett's high-end, innovative seasonal cusine and fabulous drinks, where better to celebrate the Royal Wedding in style this April?
The Hilton Park Lane is the group’s flagship hotel in the UK and the perfect place to celebrate the forthcoming Royal Wedding. The eponymously named Windows restaurant reflects the hotel's prestige with an establishment that deserves its setting regally overlooking Buckingham Palace.
Galvin achieved Michelin-starred status in 2010, priding itself on outstanding service alongside Head Chef Andre Garrett and Chef Patron Chris Galvin's seasonal modern French cuisine. And, as we entered, there were a bewildering number of people ready to take care of us- all with genuine smiles and pleasing efficiency.
Arriving a little early, we supped Champagne in the lounge, before moving to our table in the 1930's-styled dining room. The first thing that strikes you, though, is the view. Simply spectacular, with enormous picture windows enabling a 360-degree panorama of Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace gardens. As night fell, a classical, low-rise and very beautiful landscape of parks and Portland stone emerged, lit up in brilliant white lights.
Well looked-after by both the sommelier and our learned waiter, we enjoyed a pre-starter of carrot and pork. A scintillating teaser for the taste buds, enhanced by the fact we hadn't anticipated its arrival. Seared Scottish scallops with wild sea vegetables and oyster sauce were ozone-rich, accompanied by wild samphire sourced from a beach near Garrett's boyhood home in Devon. A light, crisp cold Chablis was the perfect foil.
Service was expertly judged- from intra-course timings to the travel anecdotes and nuggets of wisdom from our French sommelier. The main course arrived at just the right time- slow cooked fillet of Scotch beef on a bed of braised ox cheek with pomme purée and red wine jus, the tender strength of the cheek meat a great counterpoint to the milder fillet. I prefer meat well-done, and happily our waiter was more than happy to accommodate my coarse Anglo-Saxon habit.  
A pre-dessert of rhubarb confit featured contrasting creamy and crunchy textures, served alongside a glass of icy cold champagne. Our waiter challenged us to consider the pairing carefully, finally revealing it to be Canadian ‘Ice Wine’ champagne, in which I detected complimentary rhubarb notes.
Dessert 'proper' was a retro nouvelle cuisine dish of wild strawberries; tiny cubes of fruit jelly, crunchy tear drops of meringue and a raspberry jus theatrically poured over the dish at the table- exquisite. The combination of cool berries, warm jus, and crisp meringue was a mélange of fruity marvellousness in the mouth.
Galvin's final piece du resistance is the petit fours. Handmade chocolates and a big jar of pastel green and Barbie pink Turkish Delight challenged an already over-full stomach, but that attention to detail showed through again as our waiter handed me an up-market foil 'doggie bag' stuffed with the delicious morsels to take home.
If all this has your appetite well and truly whetted, it's worth checking out Galvin's special Royal Wedding menu. Guaranteed to be every bit as surprising, considered and perfectly executed as the meal I encountered, the Royal Wedding Lunch comes with an added bonus for William and Kate's namesake diners- a free glass of Champagne. Having sampled more than a glass of the very same, I wouldn't hesitate to give my heartiest recommendation.
The Royal Wedding lunch menu is served from 12- 3 p.m. daily, available from the 26 April to 28 April at £45 per person. On 29 April there will be a special 5 course set menu at £95 per person. Booking is essential.

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22 April 2011
By: Michael Lynch
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