Chef and restaurateur Victor Garvey has closed his popular and critically acclaimed — at one point white hot — Catalan restaurant, Rambla, on Dean Street in Soho. Today, and as first reported by Hot Dinners, he’s announced that in November, in its place — and for reasons associated, he says, to his having taken Rambla as far as he could creatively — he will open So/LA, a Californian-ish restaurant inspired by the west coast of America. Garvey’s heritage is part-Catalan, part-American; Sola is a portmanteau of Soho and LA.
Rambla closed for a low-key refurbishment in the summer. On what is described as a “radical revamp” (not a completely new restaurant), Garvey said: “I think it’s well-known that I’m always looking to innovate, and I always have one eye on the next project. It’s why I closed Encant and Sibarita [his restaurants in Covent Garden] when I felt I’d taken them as far as I could creatively.
“Rambla has been phenomenally successful in the two years it’s been open, but now I’m ready to do something new.”
Garvey also closed his paella restaurant, Barullo, in the City, after just two months in May. At the time, he said he left the restaurant after a month for personal reasons. “I have not had much to do with them since and am sorry to see it’s closed,” he said.
Sola will offer three menus when it opens on 1 November: A la carte, offering the likes of oysters, tuna tartare, glazed sweetbreads, lobster, and roast chicken to share; a five-course set menu for £49; or a tasting menu of 10 courses for £97. The two tasting menus will be available at an eight-seater chef’s table.
“Half of my career to date has been spent cooking on the West Coast of the U.S.,” Garvey said. “Californian cuisine draws from so many cultures, countries and traditions that I know I will feel freer and more able to express myself this way than continuing to focus on just one country.”
The wine list will be designed by the consultant behind some of the city’s more interesting programmes, Zeren Wilson — a specialist on California, who said, “California has long been one of my all-time favourite regions...wines from famous names like Rochioli in Russian River Valley and Ted Lemon’s Littorai in Sonoma, as well as Green & Red, the ‘house Zinfandel’ at Chez Panisse since the 1990s, appearing for the first time on a London restaurant list.”