Behind the sophisticated frontage of the Soho Hotel lies a lavish yet quirky interior which extends into their restaurant, Refuel. There’s a huge, bright mural on one wall, while the dining space is divided by metal shelves that house a range of eclectic items from large metal canisters to oversized glass bottles. While the menu looked equally impressive, would this still be the case once the gluten-free filter had been applied?…
In a word: yes. A large proportion of starters and mains are or can be made gluten-free and there are a few GF dessert options, too. While perusing our choices, we were each brought two slices of toasted seeded gluten-free bread – some of the best I’ve tasted. After much deliberation we placed our orders and, to start, I enjoyed the smoked salmon with capers which was full of flavour; while my partner chose the goat’s cheese salad and raved about how wonderfully creamy the cheese was.
For main, I was delighted to be able to have a gluten-free version of the British classic of Fish and Chips – although Refuel’s version isn’t like the greasy variety you’ll find at the seaside. The fish was fresh, flaking apart as I cut into it, and coated in a light and crispy tempura-style batter. The chunky chips were incredible – the crunchy golden exterior encased soft, fluffy potato – and the tasty tartare sauce was made especially for me in GF format. Meanwhile, my companion tucked into a very generous serving of Roast Chicken Au Vin, which featured not one but two chicken breasts alongside a portion of rich, smooth mashed potato and a fruity red wine sauce which perfectly complemented the heartier meat.
Come dessert we were fit to burst, so shared the mulled wine poached pear. This normally comes with a slice of cheesecake, but to make it GF was served with mixed berries instead – which I think probably made for a better pairing anyway! I’m not a big mulled wine fan, but the flavour was delicious without being overpowering, and I’ve been thinking of how I can recreate it at home ever since. After this we were brought complimentary gluten-free petit fours of macaroons and dark chocolate truffles, along with a mini scoop of ice cream each – usually served in a little cone but put into a small glass instead for us. Both were totally unexpected and made the perfect finishing touch.
It may be called Refuel, but with its exceptional service, stunning décor and sumptuous food, this restaurant does a whole lot more than just that for its guests – and I cannot wait to visit again.