Restaurant James Sommerin 333

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

  • Restaurant James Sommerin 2014 2
  • Restaurant James Sommerin 2014

SquareMeal Review of Restaurant James Sommerin

Overlooking the estuary on Penarth’s esplanade, James Sommerin is a restaurant that gets everything right – “I cannot fault it at all”, declares one fan. Occupying the ground floor of a grand old Edwardian building, the light-drenched dining room is smart but free from formal frippery, with a view into the open kitchen from generously spaced tables. Service, overseen by James’ wife Louise, is wonderfully warm and natural, but also unfailingly 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), sea bream with langoustines, chickpeas and artichokes or a dessert involving blackberry, yoghurt, honey and oatmeal. Great produce is a given (we love the 30-day aged sirloin and the Welsh brill with Jersey royals), and the food is reckoned to be superb value too. Of course, those opting for the chef’s table might prefer to make a weekend of it in one of beautiful boutique rooms. In short, “everything is superb”.

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6.0

Food & Drink: 6.0

Service: 6.0

Atmosphere: 6.0

Value: 7.0

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Paul A. 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”?

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Private dining room
Capacity: 12

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