Harden's survey result
For 25 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. This year diners have submitted over 60,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK.
“The view would melt anyone’s heart” at this 28th-floor eyrie, overlooking Buckingham Palace’s gardens and Hyde Park. But whereas many fans see it as a “fantastic all-rounder”, particularly for business or romance, refuseniks rail at food that’s “somewhat pedestrian” and service that’s surprisingly “hit ’n’ miss”. Top Tip – the neighbouring bar actually has a better outlook!
“To wow a client”, or to create an ambience “conducive to seduction”, the “stunning” panorama from this 28th-floor park-side Mayfair chamber is – say fans – “unbeatable”. “It’s the view that makes it” though, “not the Identikit hotel decor”, while the “decent” cuisine is in something of a supporting role. Top Tip – enjoy a better vista for the price of a cocktail at the adjacent bar!
“For a spectacular business lunch” (or date), this 28th floor perch – with a “perfect vista” over Buck House and Hyde Park – still has many fans. It has seemed more “machine-like and touristy” of late however, and – at the sky high prices – can too often seem “decidedly average” nowadays. (Top Tip – skip your meal: head over the hall to the bar, where the view is actually better!)
“Keen to impress foreign visitors” (or a date)? – head for this Mayfair chamber, where the panorama from the 28th floor includes “stunning” view over Buckingham Palace and its gardens; you need a “large wallet”, though, and the food is much less memorable than the view.
Galvin at Windows, Park Lane Hilton Hotel W1
Over the years, Chris Galvin has put in honourable service at both the Orrery (for which we won a star) and the Wolseley (which he helped launch). But for most diners, his name only became known with the opening - in partnership with his brother Jeff - of Galvin's ('Bistro de luxe') in Marylebone last September. Now, in double quick time, he's helping put the family name above the door of this potentially spectacular dining room (though the actual head chef is André Garrett).
Tastefully, if neutrally, revamped in brown and taupe, the room occupies the entire 28th floor of the only major London hotel the Queen has never visited. When you see the spectacular aerial view of her garden, you can understand why she wasn't that keen on its construction. Indeed, the room's panoramas of the West End - and, after the recent relocation of the bar - the City, really are extraordinary.
Cue warning bells and klaxons: surely great views and great cooking are mutually exclusive? Well, it's early days - in fact, I was the place's first paying customer - but the early signs are encouraging. Apart from the setting, strengths included some very good - if not especially ambitious - dishes, such as a perfectly judged pavé of organic salmon, and a very tasty trio of chocolate desserts.
That's not to say there were no quibbles. Service was generally solicitous, but might it not have been polite to mention that that unspecified glass of 'Bollinger' was vintage, and was going to cost £28.50? Also bread was a non-event and filter coffee came with cold milk. When bills could so easily reach a ton a head, these are the sort of details it would be good to get right - however favourable one's initial impressions.
22 Park Ln, London, W1K 1BE
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lunch noon - 2.30 pm, Sun 3 pm, dinner 6 pm - 10.30 pm
Last orders: 10 pm, Thu-Sat 10.30 pm, Sun 3 pm