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Galvin at the Athenaeum Hotel: A Modern Take on British Comfort Food

Athenaeum Hotel

Photo Credit: Nicholas Kontis

The Athenaeum Hotel has graced stately Green Park since 1849 while going through numerous timely renovations. Most recently the ground floor received a facelift to incorporate a new casual dining experience as the Michelin-starred Galvin brothers took charge of the kitchen lending their take on mouth-watering English fair. Never before has a hotel’s eatery played such a pivotal role in the guest experience. For gone are the days when travel plans were not centered on a destinations culinary culture, revolving around sustainable foods which followed the farm-to-table food movement while creating celebrity chefs.

Athenaeum Hotel
Photo Credit: Nicholas Kontis

Even in the world’s most visited city, London, not too long ago a vacation to the iconic destination on the Thames meant a trip not centered on culinary experiences. Today over one-third of the tourists budget is spent on food. Stellar hotel restaurants are a pivotal part of the process in choosing where to stay.

In 2005 Chris and Jeff Galvin, better known as the Galvin Brothers. became the first English brothers to be both be awarded Michelin stars.In June of 2016, Galvin at The Athenaeum opened its new bistro dazzling hotel guests and locals alike.The gourmand duo, along with their stellar team of chefs, have taken on the task of coming up with an innovative concept of food and beverage offerings at the fabled Athenaeum.

Athenaeum Hotel
Photo Credit: Galvin at the Athenaeum

For the past decade, Londoners have been flocking to Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, Michelin-starred Galvin La Chapelle and most recently Galvin HOP. The culinary artists Galvin Brothers have created an all-day dining experience for the hotel to include an a la carte breakfast, casual lunch, classic afternoon tea, relaxing room service and a farm-to-table, friendly dinner option far away from the hustle and bustle of busy London. 

The menu's emphasis is on traditional Gastro-British spreads using foods from local sources and seasonal food while incorporating Galvin favorites of smoked salmon from nearby Scotish waters and their mouth-watering, grass-fed steak tartare with toasted sourdough.

Athenaeum Hotel
Photo Credit: Nicholas Kontis

The menu, derived from nearby farms and waters, includes starters of Dressed Portland crab with Hampshire watercress and rye bread; Soused Cornish Herrings with marinated Ratte potatoes and pickled cucumber; and Woodhall Cumbrian air dried ham and Charentais melon. 

Toasted crisp sourdough, English peas, avocado, lemon and fresh ricotta; and Spelt pasta, violet artichokes, goats curd and almond will also feature alongside mains of Belly of Dingley Dell pork, Mr. Brown’s black pudding, apple and hazelnut salad; and Grilled Herdwick Barnsley lamb chop, aubergine and mint hollandaise. Desserts include vanilla, lemon and blackcurrant ice cream sundae and Summer raspberry trifle.

Athenaeum Hotel
Photo Credit: Nicholas Kontis

An integral part of any visit to London is the 19th-century founded ritual of afternoon tea. The brothers have lent their take on the British ceremony. The award-winning contemporary afternoon tea includes a selection of finger sandwiches, along with the most British time-honored scones and clotted cream with housemade preserves, lemon curd and artisan teas. Further raising the bar on a tradition synonymous with London is the Gentlemen's Afternoon Tea which focuses less on a sweet-tooth catering to a savory palate passed down from a sporting clubhouse presence. The scrumptious menu includes sandwiches of Cumbrian beef and horseradish; Galvin cured smoked salmon; Dingley Dell ham and maille mustard. Don't miss the Goosnargh duck confit Scotch eggs. Cheese scones served with Alsace bacon butter compliment a modern take on high tea, ending with a snifter of the personal stash of Athenaeum Blended Scotch Whisky.

Athenaeum Hotel
Photo Credit: Galvin at the Athenaeum

The stylish redo includes an intimate, relaxed cocktail setting known as The Bar at the Athenaeum. The Galvins' have collaborated with esteemed celebrity Italian mixologist Giancarlo Mancino whose innovated elixirs dazzle the night crowd. The master-crafter Mancino blends cocktails from the Athenaeums vast collections of whiskeys.

The Athenaeum is everything I love about cutting-edge London rolled into one: humble in a discreet location, a bit quirky, never stodgy, posh but not ostentatious, hospitable with a staff that is ever so down to earth. The Galvin's skillfully prepared, beautifully presented meals using the freshest and tastiest of ingredients mix seamlessly into the boutique property. Its paramount Mayfair location nestled between Picadilly Circus and Hyde Park, opposite Green Park and minutes from Shepherd’s Market makes the Athenaeum a compliment to any London sojourn.

Nicholas Kontis

Nicholas Kontis was born on one of the most breathtaking islands in the world, Santorini, Greece, and brought up in America's culture capital of San Francisco. Nick developed a passion for travel at a very young age, going back and forth between San Francisco and Athens, Greece during summer vacation. At age 12 he learned the meaning of travel by staying in various relatives homes, sleeping on cou...(Read More)

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