Sophie and Rupert opened the original Sophie’s in Chelsea in 2002, inspired by the great steakhouses of New York. An immediate hit, over the last fifteen years the pair have developed a loyal fan base of local West-Londoners with classic cuts of meat and warm hospitality.
Adapting to a new Central London location, as well as changing trends and appetites from London’s diners, the Soho opening will bring together over a decade of experience and success, marking a new chapter for the restaurateurs.
Housed in the former Moulin Cinema, recognised as one of the oldest cinemas in London and famous for the screening of racy 70’s movies and Carry On films, the interior renovation of Sophie’s Soho has involved opening up the space and restoring a number of original features, including the 3-metre vaulted ceiling.
On entering from Great Windmill Street, a 25-cover terrace will span across the front of the building. Covered, but with full-width bi-folding windows and interiors incorporating kentia palms, terracotta and dark wood details, it will offer year-round al fresco dining and a haven from the bustling streets of Soho.
Walking past the terrace and into the restaurant and bar, a full-length skylight across the left-hand side of the room will let natural light pour in, whilst a blackened zinc oval bar will stand proudly in the centre, framed by a bespoke cut glass chandelier hanging above it.
Individually grouped low armchairs and banquettes will fill the rest of the space creating a stylish relaxed look and feel that will allow remote working throughout the day, as well as the perfect spot for a light lunch.
Come nightfall, the lights will dim as the space takes on a sultrier tone, with the cocktail bar serving up classics until late.
The Steakhouse, sitting above the bar area and separated only by a small trio of steps, will be a more serious affair. An open kitchen along the right-hand wall will add theatre and buzz to the room, whilst a cast iron ‘infernillo’ grill will be star of the show.
The impressive structure, created bespoke for Sophie’s by British craftsman and blacksmith Toby Clayton, will be circular and stand at 2.5-metres tall, with various shelving and hanging options to cook a range of produce over open fire in front of diners.
The room will incorporate ‘fireside’ dining around the open kitchen and grill, as well as larger banquettes for groups, and a 25-cover private dining room at the rear of the restaurant. Design details including mesh screenings, deep velvet furnishings, and intimate booths will give the Steakhouse a grown up, industrial feel.
“We’re notoriously picky about sites,” explains co-owner Sophie. “We have to have an emotional reaction and essentially fall in love with a building. There is so much inspiration in the history of the building on Great Windmill Street and we want to reflect this in the creation of Sophie’s Soho – it had to be special.”
Rupert adds: “When we first opened Sophie’s Chelsea, it was a surprise hit overnight. People seemed to associate with what we were doing – simple, great food, with an authentic sense of hospitality inspired by our trips to America but tailored for Londoners. For Sophie’s Soho, we’re updating things whilst keeping our core – it will be more sophisticated but with the same care for the finest ingredients.”