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Galvin at The Athenaeum

Restaurants, British Piccadilly
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

British-focused hotel restaurant from the ever-reliable siblings.

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve recommended the Galvin brothers’ restaurants. Even after they royally ballsed-up a lunch a few years ago I still find the likes of Bistrot de Luxe, Windows, La Chapelle and Cafe a Vin (now Hop) rolling easily off my tongue when asked by friends for places to go. The reason? Reliably impressive cooking and spot-on service.

Up until now they’ve focused on French-influenced food, but at this new spot at the Athenaeum hotel they’re championing Blighty, which was either a remarkably prescient move (goodbye Europe, hello bunting) or just a change of tack. Let’s go with the latter. It’s a switch that they’ve handled with ease – the cooking on our visit once again had me waxing lyrical.  

I enjoyed peas with ricotta and preserved lemon on sourdough, and a big hunk of rib-eye was good too, but it was my pork belly that really stood out. Its combo of beautifully cooked, sweet and soft meat with a sticky apple glaze, a ribbon of perfect crackling and a salad of lettuce, apple, hazelnuts and just the right amount of earthy black pudding was a belter. I was genuinely a little sad when it was all gone.    

The only downer? It’s a venue that never manages to escape its hotel setting. Sure, they’ve clearly spent a fair old whack on kitting it out, but the dining room feels a little soulless. Plus there’s barely a pause between lobby and restaurant, which hardly screams exclusivity.

But I can easily let that kind of thing slide when the food is this good. I left here pleased not only that the Galvin name continues to be a reliable sign of high-quality cooking but also – and most importantly – that the advice I peddle to pals still makes me look like I know what I’m talking about. 

Details

Address: 116 Piccadilly
London
W1J 7BJ
Transport: Tube: Green Park
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £110.
Opening hours: Breakfast: 7.00am to 11.00am All Day Dining: 12.00pm to 11.00pm Lunch: 12.00pm to 2:30pm Dinner: 6.00pm to 10.30pm Afternoon Tea: Monday – Saturday: 12.30pm to 4.30pm / Sunday: 12.30pm to 5.30pm
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