James Sommerin

James Sommerin

James Sommerin

James' contemporary cuisine is inspired by France though keenly British, loyal to good quality local produce and the seasons, light on the stomach – and unique.

It’s fair to assume that James' hero is the food itself. 'I don’t like to overshadow the ingredients,' he says. The key, he feels, lies 'with fantastic produce and treating it sympathetically'. Although his approach is modern, he’s chosen not to deconstruct too much or be fancy for fancy’s sake. 'It’s not about having masses of complicated elements on the dish; you want the main element to really speak for itself. When we serve scallops with Iberico ham, it’s literally scallops and Iberico ham. The flavours are really pronounced and there’s something slightly earthy about it. That’s what it’s all about.'

At Restaurant James Sommerin, menus continued to showcase the clever flavour combos that brought James applause in his early days. Sometimes they appeared revised; a dish of langoustine and white chocolate evolved to include turnip and tonka bean over the original fennel, for example. Menus were succinctly scribed with just three to five ingredients disclosing each dish – a bold format that was perplexing to some, tantalising to others. Jerusalem Artichoke, Egg, Truffle was one example; Turbot, Carrot, Cockles, Ginger is another – unexpected flavour medleys that delighted diners.

James Sommerin is a local-boy-done-good, a family man whose wife worked in the restaurant and whose daughter was sous chef in the kitchen (and also appeared on Great British Menu). While Restaurant James Sommerin has now closed, for as long as his cuisine brings class and invention to Wales’s fine dining scene, James' career will continue in the ascendant.

Three things we need to know

James' daughter Georgia worked in the kitchen as a sous chef at Restaurant James Sommerin until its closure in 2020.

Shepherd's pie is James' favourite comfort food.

After the restaurant's closure, James prepared Michelin sta-quality takeaway food for locals during the pandemic lockdown.