The last time I visited Galvin at Windows, I was a thrifty student. With a Groupon voucher and my boyfriend in arm, we headed 28 floors up for cocktails and bar snacks. The drinks were good and the food was delicious (I still dream of Joo’s Fried Chicken), but there wasn’t much in the way of atmosphere. Flash-forward to 2019 and dull, grey tones have been replaced with leafy décor and sexy prints as 10 Degrees ushers in a new era for the sky-high spot.
Perched on the top floor of the London Hilton on Park Lane, 10 Degrees is the accompanying bar to Galvin’s restaurant. Maître D Fred Sirieix may be the face of the venue, but we were here to see if there was more than meets the eye. Visiting on a Wednesday, we were surprised by how packed the space was. Plush art deco-style boots and swish chairs were filled with mid-week imbibers.
From the low-abv-centred Golden Hour section, I dived straight into the signature sip. A silky swirl of Italicus, jasmine, cardamom, rosemary and ‘gold,’ the Golden Hour (£16) was topped with Champagne and finished off with a signature branded ice cube. Ignoring our waiter’s suggestion to move through each section, my friend headed straight for the Mizuraries; punchy highballs pairing whisky with water. And punchy it was, as her saffron, curry leaf and ginger water Shoga (£18) proved to be overpowered mix of Nikka whisky.
Struggling to finish her boozy blend, it was back to the start of the menu, opting for the mezcal and elderflower-infused Meltemi (£14) – a much lighter and juicier concoction. Intrigued by the unusual combination of vodka, parmesan distillate, dry wine and strawberry soda, I couldn’t resist the Skinny Lady (£16). A twist on the classic vodka soda (which I would usually steer clear of), it was a delicate precursor to my final tipple; the penicillin-inspired Placebo (£16) which beautifully married Chivas 18 with honey, mustard, smokey tea and citrus.
Led by head chef Joo Won, the kitchen serves a range of Asian and South American bites. Open tacos ranged from Ibérico pork (£7) to avocado and mango (£7); both tangy, fresh and perfectly flavoured, but let down by the stale shell on which the ingredients lay. Fluffy, steamed buns (£6 each) were stuffed with a thick, juicy slabs of slow-cooked pork belly and kimchee, while Joo’s Fried Chicken (£8) hit the spot just as it did years ago; sweet yet spicy, soft within but still crispy outside, and smothered in a lip-smacking sauce.
The DesignMyNight Digest
It’s safe to say that Galvin has stepped up its bar offering since my first visit. Sleek, sexy and serving up an intriguing selection of cocktails, 10 Degrees is definitely one of Mayfair’s hidden gems. From simple chicken dishes packed full of tang through to cocktails laced with parmesan, flavours are all on point... and like nothing you'll taste elsewhere.