Restaurant James Sommerin



1 reviews

Beachcliff, The Esplanade, Penarth , Cardiff, CF64 3LA

Restaurant James Sommerin 2014 2
Restaurant James Sommerin 2014

SquareMeal Review of Restaurant James Sommerin



Occupying the ground floor of a grand old Edwardian building overlooking the estuary on Penarth’s esplanade, James Sommerin’s restaurant gets everything right. The light-drenched dining room is smart but free from formal frippery, with a view into the open kitchen from generously spaced tables, while FOH (managed by James’ wife Louise) is warm and natural, but also well-informed – whether you’re enquiring about the all-British cheese display or the treat-packed wine list. With a Michelin star under his belt, Sommerin delivers some show-stopping dishes, be it a liquid pea ravioli smothered in sage cream and Serrano ham (as seen on Great British Menu), wild sea bass with langoustines, ginger and artichokes or a dessert involving banana, chocolate, peanut and caramel. Great produce is a given (we love the 32-day aged sirloin), and the food is reckoned to be superb value too. Diners opting for the tasting menu are treated to the full show, “with the chefs serving and explaining each course”. And if you’re going down that route, you might fancy making a weekend of it by booking one of the beautiful boutique rooms.

UK Top 100 Restaurants

UK Top 100 Restaurants 2018

SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK 2018 is compiled using votes from our annual survey, last conducted in spring 2018. Thousands of readers took part and the results were moderated by SquareMeal’s editor and his nationwide team of professional reviewers. The UK survey does not include any restaurants in London. Click here for the full list of SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK.

Restaurant James Sommerin Location

Beachcliff, The Esplanade, Penarth , Cardiff CF64 3LA

Opening times

Tues-Sun 12N-2.30pm 7-9.30pm (Fri-Sat 6.30 -)

Restaurant James Sommerin 's Reviews


Food & Drink: 6.0


Service: 6.0


Atmosphere: 6.0


Value: 7.0


Food + drink: 3

Service: 3

Atmosphere: 3

Value: 3

Platinum Reviewer
12 August 2016

In an ideal spot on the Penarth promenade with views out over the Bristol Channel towards Minehead, a serious attempt has clearly been made to entice diners from the local area to the sole restaurant in the Cardiff area with obvious aspirations to a Michelin star. The tasting menu is introduced on the website as “ A bespoke menu created for each and every table”, so, as is our wont when trying a restaurant for the first time, we opted for the nine-course “Surprize” taster. The “snippets” to begin with were actually reasonably large portions of garlic espuma with a sprinkling of various seeds, tapioca crisps with taramasalata, and cheese gougères. The first starter, pea ravioli with parmesan foam, sage leaves and a warm pea purée was nicely set off by warm serrano ham crisps, and this was followed by a selection of heritage carrots, some pickled, burrata and a seed granola, simple ingredients combining well to make a nice starter. The butter-poached lobster in its sweetcorn and lobster velouté with broccoli and carrot coils was successful, but the celeriac linguine with pork crumbs and creamy roasted shallots, added to the ingredients in the previous dishes gave us the feeling that things were becoming a bit over-veggy. The West Wales brill with brill foam, Jersey royals, well-crisped and seasoned kale and a touch of salsify was fine, but the local aged sirloin in red wine jus was rather outshone by the oxtail. We moved on to the palate cleanser of kalamansi lime, sharp crumbs of meringue, citrus cake and orange blossom, which did its job well and then the first dessert proper, which was a deconstructed tarte tatin with solidified toffee. It was at this point that we felt the effect of the size of the portions and regretfully declined the second dessert. We were not moved to make this somewhere that we would definitely return to, and when we subsequently checked the à la carte menu we were disappointed to find that each and every one of the dishes we’d been served was there - perhaps we misunderstood the meaning of “bespoke”?