Chef James Sommerin has revealed he is opening a new restaurant in Penarth called Home following the unexpected closure of his Michelin-starred restaurant last year.
Sommerin has taken on the former Etc restaurant site at 1 Royal Buildings and is turning it into a 20-cover chef's table-style fine dining experience. As with Restaurant James Sommerin, the kitchen will be run by Sommerin and his daughter Georgia with wife Louise overseeing front of house, and the venue is hoped to open this summer.
"It's quite a bold statement to use the word home, but for us it's very much a family affair and you're coming to experience our home," Sommerin told The Caterer. "As chefs you end up spending more of your life in the restaurant anyway."
The downstairs area will be used as a prep kitchen and is also planned to become a cookery school while the restaurant is closed Sundays to Wednesdays, which would be open to local schools. The new venue has been funded by a "loyal customer" who Sommerin said "just wanted to help us as a family get back on our feet".
Sommerin's previous restaurant on Penarth's Esplanade closed after six years last summer. The business was not eligible for government grants after coronavirus restrictions forced it to close in March because the rateable value of the site was too high, leaving it without support as bills continued to mount.
A second more informal site in Barry, the Shed, was already in the works and was able to open in October for a month prior to lockdown. Since then, the family has been working out of the restaurant to provide their takeaway and delivery boxes. Sommerin has appointed a head chef to oversee the Shed and plans to continue the takeaway offer at a reduced level following reopening.
He said: "There's not a huge amount of investment kicking around and everybody has to look very carefully at what they're doing for the future. We certainly have. We had our livelihood ripped from underneath us.
"The last year has been rubbish for everyone. Hospitality, like many other [industries], has been hit really hard. We have felt the tough end personally and are still going through it now, but we are literally bubbling with excitement about our new venture and hope people are as excited as we are. We as a family have made Penarth our 'home' so it was important to find somewhere here and invite guests [to a restaurant where] they feel comfortable and at home, hopefully somewhere very special and personal. Home is everything to us, and, I certainly think everyone feels that more now than ever. Opening cannot come soon enough."
The Shed reopened for outdoor drinks only on weekends today (30 April) and will reopen for indoor dining on 19 May.
You need to be a premium member to view this. Subscribe from just 99p per week.
Already subscribed? Log In