Galvin at the Athenaeum, Piccadilly, London

Lunch at the Athenaeum on Piccadilly! I got an invitation to dine at 50% off and can never resist either Galvin nor a deal so off I went on a gloriously sunny and warm day into the belly of the beast. The Athenaeum Hotel is a rare very modern building amongst the pillared stone buildings opposite the park.

There was a whimsical bowl or two of jelly babies at Reception - yum! - and some lovely flowers, as expected, at the front of the small eating area. The seats are a bit close together but, well, the service was typically wonderful.

What did i eat? Smoked salmon with a soft scrambled egg - small, delicate, very nice. Then I had seared scallops with some asparagus (two artfully cut spears) some little peas and some jersey royals (two small ones cut in halves) - again light and delicate.

Then they have an unlimited dessert buffet. everything was a very small portion but I could NOT eat what i took. I did, however, taste one of everything except the blood orange cheesecake and had no room for the three cheeses that were there. Poo.

For the desserts - can’t fault any of them. The pistachio eclair was a bit heavy on almond extract for some reason. The trifle was delicious but a bit thick - hard to get off the serving spoon. There was also a delicious looking fruit salad laden with berries but it also had melon which is a no-no for me.

Maybe with more time i could have rested and gone back but … the deal is on till the weekend but I don’t think I’ll be going back this week. This weekend lunch deal is normally £37.50 or $45 with unlimited bubbles.

I don’t get into the West End too often - it’s crowded and traffic is horrible but it was nice to see the union jack buntings out for the Royal Wedding so I’m glad I went!




A snip at full price I’d have thought. Unlimited bubbles AND a dessert buffet? I’m going to have a hard job restraining Mrs H from grabbing the next train.

A silly question - but were you making the currency conversion when you mentioned the $45, or do they actually take foreign currency?

I’ve only done a Galvin once (La Chappelle). Liked the food but not the room or the service - sufficiently pissed me off that I wouldnt darken that doorstep again.

Oops, John. That should been £45 not dollars. So if you don’t want bubbles it’s £37.50. I’ll edit that.

Oh no! I love La Chapelle. Everything about it. It’s special to me since it’s built inside the assembly hall of my mum’s school - Central Foundation School for Girls. I’ve always had lovely food and service so I’m sorry your experience wasn’t as stellar. Maybe you’d like Athenaeum better!

Ohh, I lurve a bit of history.

FWIW, my review elsewhere of La Chapelle (2013)

I’ve had a fancy for Galvin at Windows. Any experience of it? I saw it on TV ages back when the general manager, Fred Sirieux, was doing some “front of house” programme.

1 Like

My personal family history at that! I read your review. Sorry it was that way for you. I once took a chef friend there and, just because I wanted to impress, they sat us in an awful spot and underseasoned everything. C’est la vie! I haven’t been to Windows - I tend not to go into the West End if I can help it. It’s the one location I haven’t visited though so perhaps I should complete the roster.

I see a Galvin in my near future. Herself reminds me that we need to make a trip “dahn sarf” to see a Picasso exhibition that finishes in September. We usually like to combine art and food.

1 Like

Windows was one of the worst dining experiences I have endured but that is 6 or 7 years ago.
Booked long in advance, I had asked for a table with a view but after waiting more than half an hour in the bar there was still none available.
I was taking someone as a special thank-you and we chose the tasting menu, my mistake, my responsibility; they tend to rile me and we were starting late in the evening. We also chose the selected flight of wines a decision that can only have resulted from waiting too long in the bar. We commenced with a very tired and small glass of Dom Perignon and it was downhill from there. The wines were younger than I prefer and I do not recall any successful matches.
My hazy recollection is that we jumped ship before the last pudding course having exhausted both conversation and patience.
My experience was heavily in the shadow of the late hour, the delay and the choice of a tasting menu but there was nothing to make me return.
La Chapelle though, I have enjoyed - a lot.