Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Birthdays and bacon foam: Galvin at Windows

Lunchtime is under-rated. And lunchtime at top London restaurants is usually under-priced and under-booked - the creme of London's dining scene at under £30 for 3 courses? Yes please, sign me up. Unfortunately a little thing called work gets in the way of these weekday lunchtime indulgences usually but last Tuesday was my birthday. I don't do work on birthdays.

So the Pastry Mum came down from Glasgow and took me (and the bro) to Galvin at Windows. Man, I love birthdays (and I still had the Boy's extravaganza on Saturday... can it live up to?) I haven't been to that many hotel restaurants in London, and that doesn't really have much to do with not having stayed at any of the big London hotels. They are just normal so... out of reach, and yes that does often mean overpriced. They cater to a, uhum, more international cliental, ie. those who could actually afford their room rates. But they do attract some of the heavyweight chefs (Koffman, Ramsay et al) and often the stars (I mean Michelin not celebrities) to back it up. So I knew what to expect - waiters like bees to a honeypot flapping and flumping napkins and pulling chairs. What I didn't expect, although I knew they would be, was the view. Wowsers.

As we were on the lunch deal we weren't allowed near the a la carte but set menus (even Arbutus' two choicer number) never bother me... I'll eat anything.

It took me two seconds to decide - the words foie gras and cuttlefish did it for me. Oh and a rather nice bottle of Gavi (the wine list actually starts from around £18 which was refreshing).

You couldn't fault the starter, but hey a good foie gras is a safe choice, and it came with perfectly toasted, napkin wrapped bread to spread it on. Although, as usual, I ran out before the gras did... I can never get it right.

The main though was the deal clincher. And we all ordered it. I wouldn't normally go for a full house ('What!? I'm not going to even see (let alone have a sneaky taste of) the others?!') but I wasn't going to give up the cuttlefish, although it transpired my mother would - she doesn't do fish without scales. Of course it was perfectly balanced: the fresh bream, the soft cuttlefish flavour and texture, the sweet tartness of the onions, the light but richly flavoured risotto and the devilishly creamy bacon foam. Aah the foam.

The dessert is always a bit of an aftertought my family but after the all-round main we went one of each.


I won with the almond pannacotta and blackberry compote - I was scraping the glass with my little spoon in a most unladylike like manner. I would have probably tried to lick it if the waiters hadn't whipped in with:

Woo! Lest I forget it's my birthday. And there was just time for some homemade marshmallows, which tasted like I imagined clouds would if they were made of sugar - like inhaling light, flumpy morsels of sweetness (reminds me I must dig out that recipe for homemade marshmallows and give it a whirl).

Oh and a sighting of Russell Brand. But even that wasn't going to sour the experience.

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