Solas at The Savoy London review: a glittering al-fresco pop-up
This collaboration with Bowmore whisky offers a memorable way to spend an evening
While it feels like we’ve only just been allowed to see the inside of a restaurant, rapidly rising temperatures are luring Londoners back outside, and there are perhaps few better places to experience al-fresco dining than at The Savoy hotel’s latest offering - Solas, a glittering pop-up restaurant placed delicately in the iconic Savoy Court.
As throughout the hotel proper, the al-fresco restaurant is pure Art Deco glamour, with a sparkling glittering 5ft centrepiece, inspired both by the multitude of chandeliers that can be found in the hotel and by Solas’ collaboration with Bowmore whisky. Designed by Meredith O’Shaughnessy, who has previously worked with brands such as Manolo Blahnik and Vivienne Westwood, it’s a towering tribute to the Scottish whisky makers, dripping with crystal-like decanters and bottle stoppers.
It’s almost enough to make you forget that you’re really sitting where cars and taxis lined up to ferry well-to-do guests to and from the hotel. With its gorgeous decor and surroundings, there was also extra star power added to the night by an appearance from Gordon Ramsay, who owns the Michelin-star-awarded The Savoy Grill, discreetly perched at a table surrounded by friends and colleagues.
As one might expect from a five-star hotel like The Savoy, with staff well-rehearsed at providing guests with a seamless dining experience, a real stand-out here for Solas is the service. Our waitress was attentive, charming, knowledgeable and ready to recommend cocktails from Solas’ impressive drinks menu. I opted for an “Offspring”, a refreshing blend of Bowmore 15-year-old whisky, St. Germain osmanthus and house-made grapefruit soda, while my dining companion ordered the expertly-made “Golden Eye”, with Bowmore 15-year-old whisky, cognac, sweet vermouth blend, Campari, chocolate bitter, and spices. It certainly felt like a suave and fitting tribute to Britain’s favourite fictional spy.
For food, on offer was a perfectly judged seafood tasting menu, with an oyster luge complete with an Irish Carlingford oyster dressed with yuzu and smoked shallots, Jersey Oysters with pumpernickel bread, horseradish and white wine vinegar, and a Maldon Essex Oyster with tomato and tabasco granite - and I’d recommend you eat the luge in that order. Alongside is a Keltic Scallops Ceviche served with Bowmore whisky, coriander, chilli, red onion and passion fruit; it’s a stand-out dish, with a delightfully fresh yet complex flavour, a perfect foil to the delightfully buttery lobster roll and mini corn on the cob served alongside.
While Solas might not offer much in the way of sun, positioned as it is, under the canopy of the hotel’s main entrance (although you’d be right to think otherwise, given its name means light in Gaelic), Solas nevertheless offers a memorable and charming way to spend an evening. But for those keen on a visit, hurry - it closes its doors all too soon on 21 June.
Solas, The Savoy, The Strand, London; thesavoylondon.com
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