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Restaurant James Sommerin

Modern European·
Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Restaurant James Sommerin

Silver Award

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 front of house (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 six- or nine-course tasting menu are treated to the full show, with the chefs serving and explaining each course, but if you’re looking to go all out, book yourself a seat at the chef’s table. Here you will enjoy a glass of bubbly before witnessing a unique 14-course menu being created just for you.

Great food deserves great wine, so it’s fortunate that Restaurant James Sommerin provides a carefully-chosen list. Sourced from all around the world, all the labels on the list are produced by passionate winemakers who are concerned about the environment and the terroir. A large number are organic and/or biodynamic, and there’s every chance you’ll come across something you haven’t heard of before.

Guests travelling to Penarth might fancy making a weekend of it by booking one of the beautiful boutique rooms. Most benefit from amazing views over the Severn Estuary and there are good-value, midweek dinner, bed and breakfast packages to be had too.  

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Modern European
Fine dining, Luxury, Traditional
Other Awards
One Michelin star
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegetarian options
Celebrations, Special occasions


Does Restaurant James Sommerin have a Michelin star?

Restaurant James Sommerin has one Michelin star.

Helpful? 0


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

02920 706559


Opening Times

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


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3 Reviews 

Richard F

02 April 2018  
Sumptuous, fresh menu selections with a great choice of wines. Expert knowledge from the Restaurant manager who provides excellent service within the restaurant. Food is truly delicious.

Barry P

28 May 2017  
Everything is superb - the food, wine cellar, waiting staff and sommelier. I cannot fault it at all.

Paul A

12 August 2016  
Food & Drink 3
Service 3
Atmosphere 3
Value 3.5
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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