It feels special walking into Somerset House, the grand courtyard entrance and charming architectural features make it one of my favourite places in London. Skye Gyngell opened Spring restaurant here a few years ago and now celebrated Welsh chef Bryn Williams has opened his first central London eatery within the iconic cultural venue’s South Wing.
The long restaurant is made up of a series of stylish dining rooms, each with culinary still life photography by Allan Jenkins. The decor is warm and luxurious and suits the location well, with a little nod to Williams’ Welsh roots (herringbone flooring, Welsh-printed upholstery and brown leather banquettes). From the window-facing tables you can look across over the River Thames.
We got comfortable on the nicely cushioned benches and prepared for a feast. Both my guest and I were starving and excited by the prospect of a menu that champions fruit and vegetables. Every dish sounded delicious, focussed recipes showcasing the best seasonal British produce.
Meat and fish fans need not fear as there are still plenty of hearty dishes to choose, rib eye steak and grilled red mullet were both on the menu when I visited. However I urge you to try the vegetarian dishes… Grilled Leeks with barley, buttermilk, Burford Brown egg and mushroom was a fresh recipe for spring, buttery and divine with a carefully cooked creamy egg yolk and herby dressing. My guest loved the simple but elegant Wild garlic soup with pink fir potatoes and crème fraiche and I really enjoyed the Pickled radishes with black garlic, apple and pork belly. Though this dish involved wonderfully rich pork, the radishes, crunchy fried sage leaves and black garlic puree stole the show.
There was only a short list of desserts to choose from, but even still we struggled to narrow it down. The waiter eventually insisted on the ‘very photogenic’ Lavender meringue with lemon posset, lavender & blueberry ice-cream and the Chocolate pavé with almond and blood orange. The lavender dessert was a delight, delicate and subtle, it was the perfect contrast of citrus and floral notes. I was pleased to find the chocolate pudding quite light and again matched with a seasonal citrus fruit. The blood orange sorbet was particularly delicious.
I can’t think of a nicer way to spend a Saturday in London than wandering round an exhibition at Somerset House before settling for lunch at Bryn Williams.
More information and book a table here.