Set within what is undoubtedly one of London’s most beautiful buildings, Bryn Williams is located on the Thames side of Somerset House, so you get a lovely little view of the river if you nab yourself a window seat!
If you’re not familiar with head chef Bryn Williams, he’s a Welsh guy, who’s previously had stints at Odette’s in Primrose Hill and worked under the likes of Marco Pierre White and Michel Roux – not to mention that time he cooked the fish course for the Queen’s 80th birthday celebrations on the BBC’s Great British Menu. At Somerset House, he’s championing British dining, with a focus on fresh, locally-sourced produce with an emphasis on fruit and vegetables.
The space is quite the looker, drawing on the building’s naval history and Georgian architecture. Think herringbone flooring, brown leather banquettes and wall lights made of Fresnel lenses from lighthouses, and antique naval map drawers. The space is also home to a draught beer bar, the only one on the Somerset House premises, with statement overhead copper casks. We tried a totally tropical mocktail as well as a refreshing grapefruit bellini.
We kicked off with grilled prawns, artfully displayed on top of romesco sauce and dotted with mild padron peppers. It’s happily not a sharing plates situation (which is becoming almost a rarity these days!) so the other starter was a big warming bowl of mussels, served in a creamy, garlicky leek sauce. For mains, our sea trout had the most perfectly executed crispy skin, with fresh, crunchy fennel on the side, served in a sexy shellfish bisque studded with peas. Simple as it may seem, sometimes only steak and chips will do. Here a gorgeous rib eye comes with a pretty lattice-stack of triple cooked chips, cherry tomatoes on the vine and lashings of welsh butter.
Dessert was exceptional – a light pavlova with a sticky middle, housing blackberry compote and a scoop of lime sorbet. Light, refreshing and citrusy – this is the dessert to order when you don’t have room for dessert. A very well priced glass of viognier and lovely, happy, friendly staff rounded off a lovely first review of the year.