Celebrated Welsh chef Bryn Williams has opened his first London restaurant in a decade, located in the renowned arts and cultural centre, Somerset House.
Bryn Williams at Somerset House offers modern British dining, serving seasonal dishes where – although not necessarily vegetarian – the fruit and vegetable components always take centre stage. With a relaxed and contemporary environment, Somerset House’s creative community is at the restaurant’s core – reflected through the food, service and design.
The restaurant is Williams’ second London opening, adding to a portfolio that includes Odette’s in Primrose Hill, where he has held the position of Chef Patron since 2008. In addition, Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias, a beach-front restaurant, café and bar on the North Wales coast, opened in 2015. Coming from a strong chef pedigree working under the likes of Marco Pierre White and Michel Roux, Williams shot to fame as a sous chef in 2006 by beating several established chefs to cook the fish course for the Queen’s 80th birthday celebrations on the BBC’s Great British Menu.
Williams’ Somerset House menu has a strong focus on sustainability, seasonality and provenance. Fruits and vegetables are the stars of the show, with small plates including the likes of Rainbow carrots, hand-dived scallop, sauterne, and Pickled mooli, black garlic, raw apple, sage, Cumbrian beef.
Seasonal mains include Roast young broccoli, olive tapenade, sage beignet, scorched red mullet, and Charred baby leeks, Burford Brown egg, morel mushroom and toasted hazelnuts. Dishes are also cooked on the grill, such as Grilled cauliflower, golden raisin, capers, soft polenta. In a continuation of the veg-centric theme, a range of salads are also on offer, such as Charred chicory, sour onions, smoked ricotta, rapeseed oil dressing. Signature, fruit-heavy desserts include Bay leaf panna cotta, blackberry, lime curd and Poached rhubarb and blood orange trifle.
The interiors of Bryn Williams at Somerset House, located in Somerset House’s South Wing, have been overseen by Rosendale Design, and aim to unite the building’s naval history and Georgian architecture with Williams’ Welsh roots, resulting in a relaxed and contemporary feel. Herringbone flooring, Welsh-printed upholstery and brown leather banquettes are met by a colour theme of textured blue, with nautical details including wall lights made of Fresnel lenses from lighthouses, and antique naval map drawers.
Displayed in the restaurant is also the artwork of Welsh fine art photographer, Allan Jenkins, whose photos have been displayed in galleries and museums all over the world. Jenkins’ unique approach to photography incorporates graphic finesse and a fascination with identity. The artwork displayed is a mixture of work from his latest series – Studio Allotment and Root to Fruit – a selection of still life images of fruit and vegetables reflective of Bryn’s own focus on produce.
Bryn Williams at Somerset House is also home to a draught beer bar, the only one on the premises, with statement overhead copper casks. Open throughout the day, both bar and restaurant serve as a hub for Somerset House’s resident creative community and wider visitors.
They join other onsite eating and dining establishments at Somerset House – a Fernandez & Wells outpost, a recently launched Hej coffee shop, Pennethorne’s café and bar and Spring by Skye Gyngell in the New Wing.
Speaking of the opening, Williams says: “I’m a firm believer that a piece of fruit or veg should be treated with the same amount of care and respect as a cut of meat or fillet of fish – if not more. I’m thrilled to have opened a new restaurant that’s not only in a stunning location, but where fresh, locally sourced produce is the focus and fruit and veg take centre stage.”
Director of Somerset House Trust, Jonathan Reekie said: “We are delighted to have Bryn Williams join us at Somerset House for his latest venture. His approach to food perfectly complements our ethos of creativity and community and will provide a relaxed and welcoming setting for our many visitors, artists and residents.”