By Denis Sheehan MIH, Publisher, H&C News: Galvin at Windows, stunning views and amazing food, from an exceptional team.
There are some invites that just can’t be refused, and when I was invited to lunch at Galvin at Windows by Peter Avis FIH, the restaurant’s General Manager, I didn’t.
London’s Park Lane is a relatively short walk from Green Park tube station, and as you enter what is arguably Mayfair’s best known street, the London Hilton on Park Lane towers towards the skyline.
On entering the hotel a bank of lifts face you to take you to whichever of the 28 floors you are visiting. Lift D whisks you nonstop all the way to the top floor where Galvin at Windows is situated.
As I entered, I was greeted by two well-dressed and extremely welcoming receptionists, who took my coat and saw me to the table. As I walked through the restaurant, I couldn’t help noticing the well-dressed theme is shared.
What is far more noticeable, even breath-taking, is the panorama of London from the 28th floor. The day was a crisp winter one and perfectly clear, so the views were perfect. From my table I could see every inch of Buckingham Palace, with the London Eye, and the Palace of Westminster clear in the distance.
I had arrived a little early and perused the menu before being joined by Peter, menu selection done, we start to chat. Peter’s enthusiasm and love of hospitality seemingly knows no bounds, and is led by his passion for helping people become part of and successful within our industry. It’s contagious, as is evident when we are later joined by Head Chef Marc Hardiman, as well as every other member of the team that I came into contact with while there.
The first round of chat is interrupted when we realise at least 20 minutes has passed and we haven’t ordered our food. Peter selected a salad to start, followed by the cod main course. I opted for venison tartare followed by beef Wellington. I was later informed by Marc Hardiman the venison was his signature dish, and what a signature it was, simply sublime.
As we enjoyed our lunch much of our discussions centred around Peter’s experience of working in hospitality.
His journey started as a teenage KP in Miami, then some years later he was working alongside Sir Richard Branson at Necker Island, Branson’s private island in the British Virgin Islands. Today of course Peter is running one of London’s most respected restaurants, and doing it rather well.
The view from the restaurant as already mentioned is unique, the food is exceptional, but… the most noticeable thing about the restaurant is the people, they all seem to be enjoying themselves as they diligently look after their guests.
As with many aspects of witnessing something done well, it’s difficult to assign it to one particular piece of the overall experience, so maybe the smiles are sufficient.
There can be no doubt about Peter’s motivation, he just wants everyone to enjoy what they do, and do it to the best of their ability. My experience of visiting Galvin at Windows is that the team are doing both.
It was my first visit, and in the past few days I have subsequently arranged a business lunch there with one of our customers in March, and my wife and I will be celebrating her birthday there in May. If you haven’t had the pleasure of dining there, treat yourself, you deserve it.