James Sommerin

Penarth, Wales

Perched on The Esplanade in the seaside town of Penarth, near Cardiff, Restaurant James Sommerin offers sweeping views out across the Severn Estuary, plus nine plush bedrooms. With an emphasis on local produce, it’s best-known for its tasting menus. Ours begins with the signature liquid pea ravioli with Serrano ham, sage and Parmigiano Reggiano, superbly paired with a German pinot blanc. Lobster comes butter-poached, with sweetcorn and fennel, followed by hake with salsify, kale and spices. Welsh lamb, the pièce de résistance, is tender as they come and served with rich confit coconut and butternut squash. Delightful desserts seal the deal: pear and cinnamon flapjack with hazelnut, and a feather-light raspberry soufflé with violet ice cream. Throughout, there are extras such as edible ‘pebbles’ – tiny morsels filled with veg lasagne – and tomato bread with seaweed butter. The icing on the cake? Sommerin delivers some dishes himself, providing impassioned descriptions of the produce used in creating it. It’s a detail that makes his place stand out.

Words by Tim Broad

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