SOLA Soho

North American·
££££
·
Gold Award
·

SquareMeal Review of SOLA Soho

Gold Award

How does one define Californian cuisine? Eclectic and rule-bending in its very essence, west coast-inspired cookery is influenced by a mishmash of cuisines from across the globe, although we’d argue that overarching themes of health, vibrance, seasonality and colour take precedence. Putting his own spin on the, admittedly loose, rulebook is Victor Garvey, whose Michelin-starred fine dining spot SOLA shows no bounds in its commitment to creativity, skill and theatre.

It’s an intimate dining room on Soho’s illustrious Dean Street that’s been expensively decorated with bespoke woodwork and neutral tones. A cheese trolley sits snugly to one side of the space, ready to be wheeled out at the drop of a hat for diners who choose to indulge in the supplementary cheese course. The vibes are immaculate, which every member of staff laser focused on their specific role, be it manning said cheese trolley, topping up water glasses or delivering each dish with precise explanations of what’s on the plate.

This is clearly high-level stuff, and the food is treated with the same level of attention. An opening of five perfect canapes contains as much brilliance in a single bite as one of Garvey’s inspired fully formed mains. His signature devilled egg balances smoky, tangy and fruity notes, while his unique riff on surf and turf cleverly marries smoked eel and a rich goose liver pate in a paper-thin shell. Our favourite dish is centred around bluefin tuna sashimi, with ice-cold avocado sorbet, shimeji mushrooms and a soy-based broth which tastes as good as it does due to the addition of Japanese vinegar. Every course brings something new and surprising, from langoustine flambeed tableside to a sensational mirror-glazed chocolate dessert comprising distinguished layers of salted caramel, hazelnut croustillant and Kaluga caviar.

So brilliantly detailed is every dish, we can only assume each one has been practiced and honed a million times before gaining exclusive access to SOLA’s menu. This is formal, Michelin-level dining without a doubt, but it’s not every day you experience food that genuinely surprises in its originality.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Cuisines
North American
Ambience
Cosy, Fine dining, Glamorous, Luxury, Quiet conversation, Romantic
Other Awards
One Michelin star, SquareMeal London Top 100
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegetarian options
People
Birthdays, Dates, Romantic, Special occasions

About

It's pretty rare to see Californian cuisine in the UK. But for it to earn a Michelin star makes SOLA Soho truly unique. This stylish dining room comes from chef patron Victor Garvey, offering up west coast-inspired plates, the best wines Cali has to offer and a touch of theatre from the service. Choose between a three-course lunch menu or ten-course tasting menu, each brimming with colourful creations. Each dish is plated in an incredibly beautiful way, to the point where the dish is often sketched first to plan the look. The setting itself is a chic, plant-filled dining room with carefully mismatched lightbulbs dangling overhead, nestled on the equally stylish Dean Street in Soho.

While the menus at SOLA Soho change regularly, the signature style remains consistent. As such, you can get a feel for the fare from the sample menus. At lunch, you will likely start with seafood, which could come as a wild Pacific salmon roulade or hamachi (kingfish) with leek, avocado and wasabi. There might be a meatier option like foie gras with stone fruit, yuzu and smoked duck. A pescetarian main course might be Scottish langoustines with ginger, dashi and wild mushroom, while a meatier main could be salt marsh lamb with morels and Roscoff potatoes. Desserts here celebrate fruit, so you might enjoy grapefruit, paired with lime, basil and vanilla. 

The tasting menu at SOLA Soho essentially combines all lunch options into one, longer meal. This way, there is no FOMO - you get to try everything. Wine pairings are available, and you might see lesser-known Californian bottles like Donkey & Goat 'Lily's Pet Nat' sparkling chardonnay or Big Basin Vineyards 'Dune & Mountain' Pinot from Santa Cruz. Sweet wines are also available, including a late harvest Riesling from New York or an orange muscat from Madera. 


FAQs

Does the restaurant have a Michelin star?

Yes, the restaurant has one Michelin star.

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Do I need to book?

Booking is advised - you can book via the booking widget on the page above.

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Does the restaurant cater for dietaries?

The restaurant only offers a tasting menu, but is able to cater to most dietaries with enough notice. Unfortunately the restaurant is not able to cater for vegans.

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Location

64 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 4QQ

020 7287 8716 020 7287 8716

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed 12:00-15:00
Thu 12:00-15:00
Fri 12:00-15:00
Sat 12:00-15:00
Sun Closed
Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue 18:00-22:00
Wed 18:00-22:00
Thu 18:00-22:00
Fri 18:00-22:00
Sat 18:00-22:00
Sun Closed

Reviews

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5 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Anon

08 March 2023  
Food & Drink 3
Service 3
Atmosphere 3.5
Value 1
An expensive disappointment

We visited for my birthday lunch and ordered two full tasting menus and one wine pairing to share. I have eaten at started restaurants all over the world over the past 20 years. Unfortunately Sola disappointed overall - and at over £500 for our visit, this was an expensive disappointment.

 

In the pork, my husband had bits of bone / gristle in his dish which he had to pull out of his mouth twice whilst eating.

 

From our next course, my husband pulled out a thick black hair from within his dish. When our replacement plates came out, mine was cold.

 

The menu said duck, but we were served squab pigeon, which I am not a fan of - and duck was one of the reasons we opted for the tasting menu.

 

When ordering the tasting menu over the lunch menu, I would hope to be served some highlights that the lunch menu does not provide. However, the extra courses in the tasting were very average compared to the lunch menu courses.

 

There was no acknowledgment / gesture made to us in response to these issues, despite staff being made aware of them at the time - other restaurants would have been absolutely mortified. I thought I would be courteous and send my feedback directly to management for a response. What I received was brief and casual, and offered me a 50% discount to visit again. Thanks, but no thanks!

 

Do yourself a favour and choose another one of London’s many excellent restaurants who will value your custom, and will deliver an incredible experience for you. 

Selva R

27 December 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

Brilliant Californian tweaks to a stunning tasting menu. Excellent USA wine list. Relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Jonathan K

11 December 2022   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 4
Value 3.5

Fine dining type food with American wine pairings. 

Nicola T

21 October 2022   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 3.5
Fabulous food and service

Sublime dishes, interesting and creative. Fantastic front of house team and very knowledgeable sommelier. Would highly recommend and will definitely be revisiting!

Alex G

18 June 2021  
Food & Drink 5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 4
SOLA: Soul fusion

How often do diners – especially seasoned sceptics such as your reviewer – come out of restaurants truly wowed by a novel experience? It’s interesting that SOLA shares much in common with KOL (recently visited and similarly loved). Beyond both having short and memorable names – in the case of this venue’s, it is an abbreviated portmanteau of Soho and Los Angeles – each marries successfully high-end dining in an informal setting. Whereas KOL brings proper Mexican food to London for arguably the first time, SOLA does similar with Californian cuisine. The background to the chef/patron at SOLA is a diverse one, but tells the story of what the venue is trying to achieve. Victor Garvey has spent time in the US, Spain, Japan and Denmark, working in some of the world’s top restaurants. SOLA is his second venture, after the successful tapas bar, Rambla, previously located on the same site. Whereas Rambla spoke strongly of Spain, the Californian ethos delivered at SOLA is quite explicitly one of fusion. The cooking embraces both Asian and Hispanic influences. It pushes boundaries successfully and SOLA’s offerings are all delivered with genuinely passionate enthusiasm. The menu changes three to four times a year depending on what’s seasonal and diners choose a set menu of either 4 or 8 courses. Fish was the theme when my comrades and I dined. We were informed that the SOLA experience typically lasts around two hours, although some committed diners draw it out to comprise four. There would be every reason to relax in this venue with the mellow minimalist décor (think light wood and white) accompanied by some cool lighting and lots of greenery. There’s an open-kitchen at the back to watch the preparation in action for those interested. Onto the food and the story is all about impact: doing inventive things with all things pescine from both a taste and visual perspective. A trio labelled as ‘scombridae’ (blue fin fish such as mackerel or tuna) with which we all began was a hint of what was to come. Each offering was uniquely different; raw, cured and smoked. All were excellent. A tomato and caviar dish which followed next was somewhat more lacklustre, but more than offset by, arguably, the main event. Two of our group of three opted for the langoustine main. It is brought to the table, doused in alcohol (like a Christmas pudding) and then set alight. The accompanying smoked quail egg was an inspired foil. Puddings deserve a mention too, particularly since none of our group has an especially sweet tooth. Both the current options – a take on lemon meringue or a chocolate, coffee and cream combination – were absolutely superb and left us wanting more. We were also impressed with the wine list, which comprised almost exclusively American options. Even if it was not Californian, our Elk Cove Pinot Gris from Oregon was a great food match and not unreasonably priced either. Diners can though expect to see their wallets quite considerably lightened at SOLA (the cheaper of the two set menus costs £89), but it is worth almost every penny.

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