James Sommerin built a great reputation in Penarth, with customers from all over the country enjoying fine dining at its best. Then Covid came along and, like many hospitality businessess, James had to rethink the future.
James recently opened The Shed at The Goodsheds which is receiving rave reviews but, after a short sabbatical, he’s now opened up again in the town in which he and his family live. Here we chat to James about his new venture, Home.
Who is involved in Home James?
It’s a totally family affair. Myself, my wife Louise and our eldest Georgia have joined together to open Home. Louise handles the daily management of the business and also services the restaurant. As a mum of three, she also has to be mum, so she’s got a lot on her plate. Our middle daughter Angharad is one of our front of house staff. Our youngest daughter Elin is only ten so too young to take part – yet!
What’s the offering at Home?
Home is all about theatre dining. We only have nine tables as we want our diners to have a true chef’s table experience. It’s an honest kitchen with everything on show. The kitchen is the centrepiece of the dining area. We also serve food at tableside as we like to interact with our diners. We offer an eight-course tasting menu at £90 per head.
There’s also a wine flight which we offer to complement the menu. The list is really accessible to everyone. It will be fairly extensive but not mind blowing price-wise. It will include a number of favourites.
With only nine tables, the offering will be about the food. the experience and the attention to detail.
Does it feel good to be back in Penarth?
The name says it all – Home! I was approached by a number of business-people in Cardiff who wanted to support me by opening up in Cardiff, but we’ve built up a reputation in Penarth and we live in the town. It’s all about work life balance. It’s great that we have just a ten-minute walk to the restaurant.
Working with local suppliers is important to you. Why’s that?
We use local suppliers as much as possible. It’s not just another box to tick. We’re being true to our ethos. Our beef comes from Old Cogan, our fruit and veg is from Bishops of Barry. We work with a small number of local growers. We even use our own honey from a plot of land in Dinas Powys.
What’s the situation with your Michelin star? Do you still have it?
Unfortunately no, because of the move, but it’s on our agenda to win it back. In the fourteen years of my career, I’ve never lost it. My cooking hasn’t changed so I’ve every confidence that we will attain it again. Even though The Shed was only opened for seven days, we were inspected by the Guide, and we were delighted to be listed in the Guide for 2022.
What has inspired the décor?
Seduction! Seriously I wanted diners to be seduced by everything; the food, the ambience and the décor. I’ve wanted to work with Dorian of Project One for a while. We met at his home, and he had wood panelling there which I immediately fell in love with and said I wanted that at Home. There’s a lot of wood, greys, blacks, greys with pewter, stainless steel. The tables were hand-made. The chairs are a plush green velvet but are comfortable. The undertones are forest green. An overall sense of chic but without glitz!
I love attention to detail, so I’ve painstakingly chosen the steel knives from Sheffield, the crockery from Holland, even the music has been hand-picked. It all needs to be perfect. It definitely has the WOW factor!
What are your hopes and dreams for Home?
I’d love to achieve two Michelin stars. That’s the dream but we’re not bread-heads. We don’t need flash cars and a massive house. What we want is to build up the business so that we can pass it on to the kids. We’re delighted that Georgia has taken to the trade. She’s so creative and ambitious. We were so proud that she did so well in the Great British Menu 2020 at such a young age. She was the youngest ever contestant. She trained with me and was the sous chef at the seafront restaurant and, even though she’s my daughter, she doesn’t get any special treatment. She will have an input into the menu at Home.
What are your opening hours?
Wednesday to Saturday. Dinner only available on Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 9pm (last orders at 9pm). Friday and Saturday lunch and dinner from 12pm to 2pm (last orders at 2pm).
How can we book?
Go to our website which is now live (see link below).
You can follow James at Home on Instagram.
1 Royal Buildings
Penarth CF64 3EA
029 2071 0686
You can also sample James’ cooking at The Shed in Barry…
The Shed is based at The Goodsheds in Barry. You can read all about The Goodsheds in Vale Life’s summer magazine. Here’s the link!