This all-day restaurant and bar is part of the Grosvenor Hotel, the grand Edwardian pile that is part of Victoria station. But while The Soak benefits from the impressive double-height surrounds, an imposing central bar and cosy asphalt blue booths mean the space doesn’t feel stuffy, while there’s relaxed and unfussy service from sweet staff – though it’s worth noting that prices will remind you that you’re in a central London hotel.
The restaurant’s name is a not-so-subtle nod to its ethos, which is all about fermenting, pickling and soaking. Meals kick off with slices of sourdough bread and a smattering of pickled vegetables, including sharp bursts of tomato and paper-thin slices of radish. Starters proper might include crisply crumbed lamb belly fritters, slow-cooked and served with a slick of black garlic mayo.
To follow, a meat-free dish of kohlrabi with courgette, celery and spelt is a smoky delight with a risotto-like consistency, while lamb comes up trumps again when it is served as slices of breast resting on roasted tomato and drizzled with a smoked tomato consommé. Side dishes such as semi-confit tomatoes with courgettes wrapped in a lacy batter show just as much thought.
Come dessert, The Soak’s philosophy is subtly referenced in Champagne-soaked strawberries atop a white chocolate mousse, but we opted for the unbridled decadence of a dark chocolate and honeycomb baked Alaska. We also enjoyed exploring the cocktail list, which includes tipples infused with the bittersweet tang of house-made kombucha.
Weekend brunch and live music in the evenings are further reasons to ‘soak’ up the atmosphere of this charming and capable all-dayer, while late opening at the weekend might have you missing the last train home. And if the idea of all that fermenting doesn’t tickle your pickle, come for breakfast, when the menu features the conventional likes of French toast and eggs any style.