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“Didn't live up to expectations”

Restaurant James Sommerin
Ranked #1 of 70 Restaurants in Penarth
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$35 - US$115
Cuisines: European, British, Welsh
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining, Romantic, Local cuisine, Business meetings, View
Dining options: After-hours, Lunch, Dinner, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer
Description: Welcome to restaurant james sommerin with rooms james and louise would like to welcome you to their first restaurant, "restaurant james sommerin with rooms" situated on the esplanade in penarth. The restaurant has the luxury of having panoramic views over the severn estuary which sets the scene for a very relaxing dining experience. "we aim to create a dining experience our guests will not forget"
Cardiff
Level Contributor
26 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Didn't live up to expectations”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 July 2014

After eating several times at the Crown of Whitebrook (where James was former head chef) we were eagerly anticipating the opening the this restaurant. We attended the second week of it's opening.
Atmosphere - The restaurant lacked atmosphere, it had obviously been rushed along for opening (e.g. painting unfinished, etc...) and lacked the finer detail you would expect.
Food - The food overall was good. There were three taster menus to choose from with a mix match of dishes, some of which I would describe as being like marmite - you will either love them or hate them. Whilst some of the courses were exceptional, others were a little disappointing.
Service - whilst the staff were attentive and friendly, the service felt rushed.
We would return but will give them time to 'settle in' and iron out some of the finer issues first.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
5 Thank welshchick86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JSommerin, Owner at Restaurant James Sommerin, responded to this review, 18 September 2015
Dear Catherine,

We opened Restaurant James Sommerin with a view to providing a first class dining experience in Wales, and we were so disappointed to read that we failed to meet your expectations when you visited us. I am writing now to let you know that we have taken your comments on board and have made lots of changes, whilst still offering the fantastic dining that we are renowned for. We believe we have got it right now, and would be so delighted if you would visit again, as you have been part of us creating something we hope is truly special and unique in the area.

On behalf of myself, James and the team, we look forward to welcoming you back.

Kind regards,
Louise Sommerin
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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699 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    468
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    21
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Cardiff, Wales
Level Contributor
49 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“What a birthday treat WOW”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 July 2014

I have been waiting for a outstanding restaurant to come to Cardiff and I think James has done it. We have eaten with James and his well trained team when they were in Usk, so was excited when i heard he was opening a new place here. I am so pleased they moved and tried this new adventure, the restaurants location is perfect, deco outstanding clean and crisp, the staff polite, friendly & attentive and i think there is something missing oh yes the food .....
We tried the 5 courses as there were some of our favorite ingredients and new ones to try on this menu we were not disappointed. I will not give it away just tell you to go, no buts about should we just go you will not try food like this anywhere else in South Wales. Thank you for my card and the extra appetizers we could not move after but i was not complaining :-)

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Tich88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JSommerin, Owner at Restaurant James Sommerin, responded to this review, 13 September 2015
Dear Guest

Thank you so much for taking the time to review us after your visit to Restaurant James Sommerin last year. We thank you for your custom and would like you to know that your comments have been helpful in driving us forward since we opened, and in helping us know what our customers value. All our team were so pleased that you enjoyed your visit and look forward to welcoming you again.

Best wishes,
James and Louise Sommerin
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wales 99
Level Contributor
71 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“at last- a high quality meal in Cardiff!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 July 2014

Cardiff has long suffered from a virtual absence of quality eating establishments. None have ever had aspirations for Michelin starred food. For a top quality meal, Cardiffians have had to travel to the dining oasis that is Abergavenny, and surrounds. So it is a huge plus that at last there is a quality dining establishment that is in Cardiff- or just about, as Penarth is very close.

The dining room is comfortable, airy and spacious, and is right on the sea front. There is a window into the kitchen, and the welcome and service is professional and gracious. We took the 7 course tasting menu. It is true that the food is expensive, but we did not have any mouthful that was less than excellent. Every course was interesting, with even the amuse gueule etc proving most welcome. This had Michelin star food written all over it.

That was, until we looked at the wine list. It is completely devoid of interest. Most of the wines would not grace the shelves of your local corner shop, and there are a handful of good wines that are then astronomically expensive. We tried the wine pairing ( again expensive) but gave up after we had insipid vino verde, followed by tasteless romanian sauvignon blanc, with a bland rose from provence promised next. It would be great if there could be some investment in a reasonably priced and interesting cellar, to include some pretty basic features- like wines from Bordeaux/ Burgundy/ Rhone/ Tuscans etc!

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank welsh73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JSommerin, Owner at Restaurant James Sommerin, responded to this review, 13 September 2015
Dear Guest

Thank you so much for taking the time to review us after your visit to Restaurant James Sommerin last year. We thank you for your custom and would like you to know that your comments have been helpful in driving us forward since we opened, and in helping us know what our customers value. All our team were so pleased that you enjoyed your visit and look forward to welcoming you again.

Best wishes,
James and Louise Sommerin
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cardiff
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A Delightful Treat”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 July 2014

Booked for an anniversary treat and was not disappointed. Was a bit apprehensive as we had never been to such a 'fancy' restaurant before, though have been to many fine establishments.

My fears that this would be a style over substance experience quickly dissipated after receiving a warm welcome, an anniversary card waiting on the table, a terrific wine recommendation and the first dish. We went for the 7 course option and every dish bar the salmon, which we both found lacking in flavour, really was special and made me appreciate the thought gone into the ingredients used and how well the flavours compliment each other. The oxtail was a revelation, probably one of the best dishes I've ever eaten. We nearly went for the 10 course option however was glad we didn't as I couldn't have eaten another morsel and I have a big appetite.

I found the staff approachable and knowledgeable, each dish was explained and they topped up our wine and water without being intrusive. We even got to go in to the kitchen and chat with James himself.

The bill came to just over £200 and considering we had 7 dishes (plus some complimentary extras), a glass of house Shiraz and a G& , 2 bottles of water and a bottle of wine and spent 3 and half enjoyable hours there I would say as a treat James and the staff really delivered.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank cardiffnoddy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JSommerin, Owner at Restaurant James Sommerin, responded to this review, 13 September 2015
Dear Guest

Thank you so much for taking the time to review us after your visit to Restaurant James Sommerin last year. We thank you for your custom and would like you to know that your comments have been helpful in driving us forward since we opened, and in helping us know what our customers value. All our team were so pleased that you enjoyed your visit and look forward to welcoming you again.

Best wishes,
James and Louise Sommerin
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hanley Swan, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
56 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Great Expectations”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 July 2014

My husband booked for our anniversary but due to illness we rebooked for last night. We have both enjoyed James' food at The Crown and had high hopes of an enjoyable evening. My first thoughts were that the restaurant was rather austere with cream walls and banquettes. We were greeted pleasantly and had a drink and time to look at the menu over delicious canapés.
The menu has just two choices a 5 course or a 7 course tasting menu, with different dishes on the two. We decided to push the boat out and have the 7 course. We asked for some advice with the wine choices as we wanted a glass of white wine with the first 2 courses then a bottle of light red with the rest. The maitre d' suggested a pinot noir but did not go out of his way to point them out on the menu or suggest which might be best.
James' dishes are always very pretty and the meal kicked off with an open ravioli which was pretty as a picture. The oxtail course preceded a fish course of sewin which seemed slightly odd but the oxtail was delicious.
The sewin (sea trout) was served on two purees, a tomato one and a lemon. Both these dominated the delicate fish and the course was not a success. I left most. Strangely the fish was served on a warm rock on a plate. Probably not needed!
The following course was duck with several variations of beetroot and a date sauce. This was not great either as the beetroot were all sweet as was the sauce. It needed more balance.
James returned to form with both desserts, the first a chocolate mousse with raspberries and peanut butter ice-cream and the second a pineapple dessert which was delicious.
The restaurant was full by 8.30pm and the room became too warm. It was also very noisy. I'm not sure if that could be improved.
The staff are all pleasant but we were left to pour our own wine during the meal. It might be a bit nitpicky but I found the mix of plates to be very odd. We had a variety of dark green glazed, a pottery rustic bowl, white china etc etc. It would be much nicer to have a cohesive range and please get rid of the rocks.
The meal was expensive and in retrospect I was slightly disappointed this time. I will try the restaurant again though as I know how good James' cooking is. Maybe for lunch.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Catherine P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JSommerin, Owner at Restaurant James Sommerin, responded to this review, 18 September 2015
Dear Guest,

Thank you so much for taking the time to review us after your visit to Restaurant James Sommerin. We thank you for your custom and would like you to know that your comments have been helpful in driving us forward since we opened, and in helping us know what our customers value. All our team were so pleased that you enjoyed your visit and look forward to welcoming you again.

Best wishes,
James and Louise Sommerin
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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