Five minutes with… Marc Hardiman

The head chef at Galvin at Windows talks to Brummell about the restaurant’s new vegan menu, developed in collaboration with chef Tomas Lidakevicius of Borough Market restaurant and grocer, Turnips

Food and Drink 29 Apr 2022

Marc Hardiman of Galvin at Windows with Tomas Lidakevicius of Turnips

Marc Hardiman of Galvin at Windows (right) with Tomas Lidakevicius of Turnips

What can diners expect from the Galvin at Windows x Turnips collaboration?

The dishes are designed around the future of food. Packed with tasty vegetable and plant-centric dishes, Tomas Lidakevicius and I have worked together to create a menu that showcases the best seasonal produce. Launched on world Earth Day and running for a month, our collaboration is all about the ethos we both have of sustainable, produce-led dishes, packed with flavour while challenging the concept of a traditional tasting menu.

Why did you want to work on a vegan and sustainable menu?

I have always had a passion for produce. This is where any dish starts, and I believe quality ingredients are essential to fantastic cookery. This menu marries together the plant-based revolution with a tasting-menu experience. I enjoy challenging conceptions of how a menu should look. This project throws the age old “meat and two veg” standard out of the window and finds fun in vegetables, putting these at the centre. For me, this is a celebration of food, and I love to cook this way.

Can you give us an idea of what to expect from the menu?

Expect the best of the season’s produce. Bold flavours and a little flair.

What ingredient can you not live without and why? 

I think often chefs have a tendency to say salt, which of course is essential. My most prized ingredient tends to change as the seasons do. At the moment I am loving asparagus as well as an array of foraged herbs, such as oxalis. We get them supplied from our forager, although I have been known to go out for these on days off as the evenings get lighter. In the UK we are very fortunate to have such a diverse range of ingredients growing on our doorstep and I enjoy experimenting with these on our menu.

What is your favourite restaurant in the world and what do you like to order?

My favourite restaurant in the world is Geranium in Copenhagen. Every dish was innovative, packed full of flavour and faultless. In London though, I recently went to Manteca where I would highly recommend everything on the menu. They make all of the dishes in-house and the experience is very relaxed.

Asparagus, morels and nettles, one of the courses of the Galvin at Windows x Turnips vegan menu
Asparagus, morels and nettles, one of the courses of the Galvin at Windows x Turnips vegan menu

Apart from food, what are your biggest passions? 

My dog and my bike. Rolo, my chocolate labrador goes everywhere with me when I’m not at work. He keeps me on my toes with long walks and endless energy. When the weather is dry, I like to ride my bike around London, ending in a pub for a well-deserved pint.

If you could invite anyone, living or dead, to a dinner party, who would it be and why?

My gran – she was the main driving force behind me becoming a chef. She never got to see me cook so I would relish the opportunity to cook for her.

What are your ambitions for the future of Galvin at Windows?

At Galvin at Windows, we love to make dining fun. What could be more fun than dining in the clouds? So our food and service reflects that. I’d like to grow on that further and introduce more guest interaction. We have a new menu due to start for the spring and are moving towards more sustainable ways of working. This has come in the form of planting herbs along the balcony to allow us to grow herbs in our “front garden”, as it were. This means fewer miles travelled for these herbs and gives us the chance to appreciate the produce the whole way through its journey.

The Galvin at Windows x Turnips vegan tasting menu is available until 29 May at lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Saturday at £99 per person for six courses, an additional wine pairing is £65 per person;