loti eats | bryn williams at somerset house
Somerset House has got to be one of the most beautiful spots in all of London, so to operate a restaurant here is a privilege indeed. We’re big fans of Skye Gyngell’s excellent Spring but were never overly impressed by Tom Aikens’ place which recently vacated the building to make way for a brand new restaurant from Welsh chef Bryn Williams.
Being in such an incredible building means that the interiors are a gift to any designer, but the team have got it spot on with the redecorating here, with beautiful light brown leather seating, glass-domed lights suspended from the ceiling and nice flashes of brass fixtures for good measure. When the weather’s warmer they’re going to have an incredible outdoor terrace overlooking the Thames too.
The food is also excellent, confident and self-assured without being overly ‘cheffy’ or showing off – these are dishes you could come back time and time again to eat. Supposedly the menu puts vegetables front and centre though in practice we found this just meant the veg component was listed first rather than it translating to the ratio of meat to veg on the plate. Our favourite main for instance was ‘grilled hispi cabbage, apple, pork chop, cider dressing’ and came as a big juicy pork chop with a quarter of lightly charred cabbage, apple sauce and a perfectly sharp cider dressing on the side. Yes, we’re being pernickety and it all tasted fantastic but we’re not sure if listing the vegetable first on the menu necessarily makes it the star of the show in reality.
We also deeply loved the homemade soda bread with salted butter, the ‘pickled radishes, black garlic, apple, pork belly’ (we’ll leave you to guess the pork / radish ratio), and the ‘heritage beetroot, cured organic salmon, smoked rosemary mayonnaise’. And for dessert the ‘passion fruit, banana & pineapple, baked vanilla cheesecake’ wass an absolute winner.
All in all there is some excellent food to be had here, in one of London’s most beautiful locations, and for that it gets a very big thumbs up from us.
Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA