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First look - The Savoy steps outside for its Solas pop-up in the hotel entrance

The Savoy steps outside the entrance for its Solas pop-up

With alfresco being where it's at until 17 May at the earliest, we're starting to see more and more interesting use of spaces for outside dining. The Savoy's is definitely one of those, as they're using the iconic entrance courtyard (yes, we can use the word iconic in this case) and transforming it into the pop-up Solas (the name means "light, joy and comfort" in Gaelic).

With the pop-up now open, we headed down The Strand for a first look. 

roomNo cars any more, thank you. You can just see the pop-up under the awning at the back. 

First impressions are that it's a perfect use of what was once used for a parade of cars and taxis of guests arriving at the hotel. The new alfresco space works so well that we wonder if they will consider making it a permanent attraction. It's all completely covered by the Savoy's entrance, so there's definitely good potential for it to be an all-year alfresco space. 

There are about 12-15 tables dotted around, with plenty of space for social distancing (while we still have to). On the outskirts of the "room" are some larger booths that will definitely be sought after (we spotted Savoy Grill owner Gordon Ramsay holding court in one of these). It's a hugely impressive space, dominated by a central installation that's inspired by the Savoy's own chandeliers (and Bowmore whisky bottles). 

You can expect some live music while you're there, and there's a distinctly 'Roaring Twenties' vibe going on.

As for the food, Solas will be a seafood bar and we got a taste of what will on offer:

roomA platter of selection from the seafood bar. There are oysters with several toppings, including Carlingford with yuzu dressing and smoked shallots and Jersy oysters with horseradish and white wine sweet vinegar. At the back right is a Bowmore Keltic Scallops Ceviche and there's a steamed lobster roll with brown butter too. Extra marks if you can spot Gordon Ramsay hidden in the background of this pic.

Ours was a taster selection of what you can order on the menu - so there's lobster roll with corn on the cob, seafood platters, New England clam chowder and, of course, blinis with caviar. 

But, central to the proposition will be the Oyster Luge ritual. You pick three oysters of your choice, and then pair them with a glass of Bowmore Islay Scotch whisky - options range from a 12-year old right through to a 27-year-old drink. They recommend alternatively sipping the whisky and eating the oyster, before swirling the Bowmore round the empty shel and drinking that down too.

As for drinks, Bowmore plays a key part here too featuring in many of the new drinks devised by The Savoy's ace bar team. There's also a range of wines and Champagne on offer as well.

God, we've missed proper cocktails made by someone who knows what they're doing. The Savoy bars are among the best in London, so if you've been missing their bars, we'd definitely recommend coming down to try these.. 

room On the left is the Golden Eye (£20 - Bowmore 15yo, Cognac, Sweet Vermouth Blend, Campari, Chocolate Bitter, Spices) and on the right is Timeless (£18 - Bowmore 15yo, Chezakette Bianco, Averna, Angostura, Aquavit, Sugar).Both absolutely top cocktails. And some excellent ice action going on there too.

Overall, Solas is absolutely one of the more impressive new alfresco spaces we've seen opening in London post lockdown. The iconic space, the entertainment, the pitch perfect service - well, it makes a visit here feel like a special event - and we certainly need more of those right now. 

 

More about Solas at the Savoy

Where is it? The Savoy, Strand, London WC2R 0EZ

When does it open? 21 April 2021 (running until 21 June 2021)

How to book: Book online

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @thesavoylondon.

Hot Dinners were invited to Solas.

 

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