When you’re looking for an impressive, high-end meal in London Bridge, you can usually count on one of the many glitzy restaurants in the Shard.
However, they’re absolutely no good for:
A) reinventing the typically French character of fine dining with Korean ingredients and techniques (winning a Michelin Star in the process) and
B) people who don’t like heights.
So the next time you’d like to treat someone to a unique fine dining experience – at a mere pinch above sea level – head to Sollip.
It’s the first London restaurant from husband and wife team Woongchul Park and Bomee Ki, who met while training here at Le Cordon Bleu. She was an expert pastry chef at The Arts Club, he manned the pans at The Ledbury, and – after popping to South Korea to open the first fine dining restaurant on Jeju Island – they’ve returned to where they found both each other, and a love of the London food scene.
So, they’ve duly picked out a spot right in the city’s restaurant nucleus, a stone’s throw from Borough Market where they source many of their ingredients. Tucked down a little side street right opposite the Shard, stepping into Sollip transports you into the couple’s world – a delicate, personal fusion of influences and experiences. Everything has been hand-picked by the duo and showcases the work of Korean producers, from Wonjae Jo’s delicately carved porcelain lampshades, to the hand-shaped crockery by Torim Porcelain and the stylish uniforms by Working Class Hero. It’s the perfect reflection of the dishes here, whose refined and elegant presentation veils the painstaking development process that has gone into their creation.
Korean flavours, classical cooking techniques and locally sourced ingredients are masterfully interwoven across Sollip’s menu. The starters are a warming, umami-rich trio where Ki’s dough know-how comes to the fore, including gougères – puffy choux spheres fresh out of the oven, filled with a molten cheddar and fermented soy core; the gamtae sandwich, bookending a fine layer of seaweed and caerphilly cheese with two crisp slabs of fried bread; and a frankly perfect sourdough made from nurungji, the layer of scorched rice left at the bottom of the pot that makes a classic South Korean street snack.
Highlights from the larger dishes include the fish, setting the catch of the day in a clear beef and pickled leek broth; the braised beef short rib with truffle butter rice; and what is surely the star dish – a daikon tarte tatin, which replaces the caramelised apples of the French classic with winter radish instead.
The wine list is under the jurisdiction of Keeling Andrew & Co., the import company set up by the owners of Noble Rot (widely believed to be the best wine bar in London). As such, many of the bottles are at connoisseur’s prices, but there are several excellent wines priced much more keenly by the glass.
Speaking of which – seating just 26, you’ll need to be keen, too.
NOTE: Sollip is open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday. You can find out more, and reserve a table, HERE.
Sollip | Unit 1, 8 Melior Street, London SE1 3QP
Looking for something more traditional? Check out our pick of the best Korean restaurants in London