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Victor Garvey to replace Catalan eatery with California-inspired site

Chef and restaurateur Victor Garvey is to relaunch his award-winning Catalan restaurant Rambla, on Dean Street in Soho, as SOLA, serving food from and inspired by California.

The restaurant is currently undergoing a complete refurbishment and will reopen with its new look, menu and name – a portmanteau of ‘Soho/Los Angeles’ – on 1 November 2019.

Explaining the radical revamp, 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 first and second solo 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.

'That ‘something new’ is a move away from the Spanish food for which Victor has become known to the modern cuisine of his father’s native California.

“Half of my career to date has been spent cooking on the West Coast of the US; 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.”

Three menus will be available: à la carte, and two tasting menus of five and ten courses, which guests will be able to choose to enjoy at an eight-seat chef’s counter. Typical dishes will include:
> Devilled Eggs Dijon mustard, toasted pumpkin seeds, Espelette pepper
> Kingfish Crudo Gazpacho vinaigrette, white miso ice-cream, watermelon, tomato raisins
> Glazed Sweetbreads Yamada Nishiki sushi rice, cavolo nero, baby chanterelles, marsala dashi
> Mussels & Clams Pistachio, lime & chilli butter, dipping soldiers
> Sunchoke Tortellini Medjool dates, brown butter, grapefruit, rapini

Dishes to share will include Lobster Pot Pie with Cipollini onions, vadouvan, beurre noisette and Banyuls, and Spit-Roast Whole Chicken, cooked on a rotisserie in the open kitchen and served with potato mousseline, dressed greens and rosemary & wholegrain mustard chicken jus.

Wines, selected by Zeren Wilson, will focus on California wine-country, featuring both familiar names and smaller, independent producers.

Wilsom said, “California has long been one of my all-time favourite regions, so I’m particularly excited to be working on this list.

'We’ll be taking in 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.

'Ferdinand in Lodi feature with their remarkable Albariño, and several wines will be unique to SO|LA in the UK.”

The interior, designed by Lerose Studio, will feature pale wood panelling, poured concrete floors and stonewashed linen tablecloths, making the most of the restaurant’s vast floor-to-ceiling windows which flood the space with natural light. Staff uniforms will be designed by renowned British tailor Timothy Everest MBE.

“I’m incredibly excited about this new beginning,” finished Garvey, “and I’m looking forward to taking guests on a trip across California, from Soho to L.A.”