Somerset House, that grand stately home that dominates the corner of Waterloo Bridge and the river has always had been an impressive sort of a place. Inigo Jones designed the facade and the building has been linked to the likes of Admiral Lord Nelson, Oliver Cromwell and HMRC. For a location with such pedigree, it’s only right that Bryn Williams should choose Somerset House as the base for his first London restaurant in a decade, Bryn Williams at Somerset House.
The new restaurant, ‘a creative exploration of seasonal produce with a strong focus on sustainability and provenance’, will be located in the South Wing of the building. The design for Bryn Williams at Somerset House has been masterminded by Rosendale Design, whose brief was to fuse the building’s history and Georgian architecture with Williams’ own Welsh roots. The result is relaxed and contemporary with herringbone flooring, Welsh-printed upholstery and brown leather banquettes, set off by a theme of textured blue, with the nautical details incorporated with the likes of wall lights made of Fresnel lenses from lighthouses, and antique naval map drawer.
The food quality is, as you’d expect, very high and despite the incredible surroundings and views, it’s also the main event. Intended to put fruit and veg centre-stage (Williams believes they should be treated with the same respect as a cut of meat or a fillet of fish) the menu will include roast young broccoli, olive tapenade, sage beignet, scorched Cornish mackerel and char-grilled leeks, Burke Brown egg, morel mushroom among others.
Meanwhile The grill will be on-hand to dish out grilled cauliflower, golden raisin, capers and soft polenta. There will also be a range of salads, including charred chicory, sour onions, smoked ricotta, rapeseed oil dressing. And for the sweet toothed, signature, fruit-heavy desserts include Bay leaf panna cotta, blackberry, lime curd and poached rhubarb and blood orange trifle.
The home of London glamour (and, incidentally, ice skating), Somerset House just got a whole lot better.
Bryn Williams at Somerset House: Strand, WC2R 1LA , www.bryn-somersethouse.co.uk