Former Masterchef: The Professionals contestant Tom Simmons from Pembrokeshire is set to open his first restaurant at the One Tower Bridge development in Southwark.
The self-titled, 52-cover restaurant is set to open this spring, offering dishes influenced by British and French cuisine with a particular emphasis on Simmons's Welsh heritage. His partner Lois Thomas will oversee the restaurant front of house.
Simmons was previously head chef at the Wolfscastle Country hotel in Pembrokeshire, where he was awarded two AA rosettes within one year, and chef de partie at Claridge's in London. He was also the youngest competitor to reach the quarter-finals in MasterChef: The Professionals in 2011.
Open for brunch, lunch and dinner, the menu will offer dishes including roast cod loin, asparagus, haddock scotch egg and hollandaise; salt-baked beetroot, goat's cheese and apple salad; braised ox cheek, pommes purée and bourguignon sauce; and rhubarb panna cotta, Granny Smith sorbet and ginger biscuit.
Pre-dinner nibbles will include cockle popcorn with laverbread mayonnaise and the menu will also showcase ingredients from chosen suppliers including Welsh lamb from Preseli Bluestone, Orkney scallops from Keltic Seafare, and foraged mushrooms from Fine France.
Set over a mezzanine split level, the restaurant interior will be a mixture of rustic and contemporary design, with wood-panelled walls, a slate bar and Welsh oak tables. The colour palette will be a blend of earthy tones and the walls will display scenes from the Welsh countryside. The restaurant will be the first to open in the new development, with the Ivy to follow.
Simmons said: "Eating fresh and with the seasons was a way of life for my family; much of my childhood was focused around food and nature. I have fond memories of gathering ingredients to cook in my mum's kitchen. Being surrounded by wonderful produce, and the joy I found in food and sharing it, is what first inspired me to become a chef."
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