The Soak, Victoria, London
The Soak opened this spring and is a restaurant based in the Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria.
Head chef Chris Zachwieja, who has previously worked for Michelin-starred Tom Aikens, serves dishes including poulet noir with morels, asparagus and a wild mushroom kombucha; and wood pigeon, pearl barley koji, anchovies, flat turnip and fermented mooli.
MAS were appointed as designers, tasked with transforming the existing premises into a thriving contemporary, round the clock bar restaurant. PREMIER HOSPITALITY spoke to Amber Watters of MAS who explained the concept:
‘’We were invited by the ghl group, along with other design practices, to respond to their brief. Our initial concept was well received and when the food and beverage offer was agreed we worked closely with brand agency CAB which allowed the design to evolve. The progression from concept to completion has taken almost two years, however we are delighted with the finished result.’’
The Soak will immerse each one of its customers in an unforgettable experience. The team will be serving up their signature ‘soaked’ food and drink – with menus designed around fermenting, steeping and brining techniques.
“On arrival you’re struck by the impressive Victorian scale and classic ornate features punctuated by the large imposing curved bar, finished with a Carrara marble top and polished plaster front with stencilled motif (the Soak). Behind sits the slender feature blackened steel gantry framework designed to reflect the arched windows. The illuminated glass shelving displays a selection of fine wines and free pour premium spirits, curiosities, jars of fruits and vegetables sit fermenting, pickling and soaking, alongside fresh herbs and plants used by the tenders.’’
Lighting helps to zone and enhance the individuality of each area; during day time each space feels bright, light and inviting and as the light fades, the architectural and feature lighting can be adjusted to create an intimate atmospheric evening.
“There’s a distinct contemporary edge to the classic interior, due to the use of colour, materials and lighting: both natural and artificial. Each enormous window that envelope the space is adorned with bespoke laser cut shutters, casting beautiful shadows during daytime and are illuminated in the evening. Our inspiration for the shutter design came from the building’s ornate stonework depiction of leaves.’’
Intricate metalwork forms the frame for the carriage booth seating with integrated performance platform above for DJ and acoustic sets. Next to the performance platform area sit two large scale halo lit ornate picture frames displaying portraits of the muse and the artist, each with some contemporary additions; a tongue in cheek nod to traditional Victorian wall hangings.
‘’The dining area features a mix of elegant seating to the perimeter and gracious curved booths as the centrepiece. We designed bespoke tree light structures that emerge from the fixed seating with branches cascading over lighting each table, again influenced by the architecture to provide an anchor in the space.’’
Behind a French style screen sits a large concrete sharing table perfect for every occasion. Customers are still connected to the restaurant by views through the interlocking laser cut steel screen design that incorporates the motif.
The lounge area is a cosy space peppered with large scale arm chairs and sofas upholstered in a mix of complementary colours, tweeds and textured fabrics. The original fireplace is retained and painted out in the feature colour to enhance the intimacy of the space with the large scale acid etched mirror above offering distorted views of other areas of the bar and restaurant.
“The scale of the space was challenging as it is crucial customers feel comfortable and engaged whether alone or in large groups.”
The design captures the essence of the distinctive ‘soaked’ food and drink offer; A space soaked in light, pickled in character and steeped in history.
To find out more, head to the website for updates on events and extended opening hours: https://www.thesoak.co.uk.