Bryn Williams – Top chef’s prestigious new venue
Located in the prestigious, historic and renowned arts and cultural centre, Somerset House, celebrated Welsh chef Bryn Williams is opening his first London restaurant in a decade.
Bryn Williams at Somerset House will offer modern British dining, serving seasonal dishes where – although not necessarily vegetarian – the fruit and vegetable components will always take centre stage.
With a relaxed and contemporary environment, Somerset House’s creative community will be at the restaurant’s core – reflected through the food, service and design.
Interior designers for the project were Rosendale Design, which is owned by founder Dale Atkinson; main contractors were Giasullo Engineering, who were commended for their work.
Jake Raslan, creative director at Rosendale Design said: “The space was previously occupied by a restaurant, but it was quite Spartan and not very welcoming, so we sought to remedy this by creating a relaxed, fresh and inviting new interior. The internal area is made up of a progression of four rooms, into which we introduced blue polished plaster wall finishes, with the timber window frames, doors and architraves painted a darker brown to complement this.”
The first room incorporates the bar area which features two large feature copper casks containing draught beer set over the bar. The copper colour theme is continued throughout the space – for example on skirtings and banquettes – and is complemented by brass elements, including detailing on the waiter stations. The remaining three rooms are for dining and incorporate features including banquettes with feature brass swan neck lighting fitted with large glass globes arching over. Free standing chairs are in a Welsh ‘matchstick’ design in reference to the Welsh roots of Bryn Williams. New dark coloured timber herringbone flooring has also been laid.
Various other design details reflect the naval history of Somerset House. These include Fresnel lenses from lighthouses used in the wall lights and the antiqued brass chains and pendants on the ceiling lights.
Jake Raslan commented: “As much as possible we have preserved the existing Georgian design elements of the space, including re-painting all the original ceiling cornicing in each room in Georgian heritage shades. Lighting has also been positioned in doorways and window reveals in order to highlight these original fine architectural features.”
Challenges of the project included the need to employ two specialist engineers to facilitate the installation of the large copper beer casks. This required careful consideration in view of the building’s age and fine architecture.
The scheme was handed over in February 2018.
Jake Raslan concluded: “The project has gone smoothly and the client is delighted. The main contractors did a very good and performed admirably. This was a very important project for us in view of the prestigious location of the restaurant, and we hope that the new venue is popular with the creative fraternity of the building and the public alike.”
Speaking of the opening, Bryn Williams said: “I’m a firm believer that a piece of fruit or veg should be treated with the same amount of care and respect as a cut of meat or fillet of fish – if not more. I’m thrilled to be opening a new restaurant that’s not only in a stunning location, but where fresh, locally sourced produce is the focus and fruit and veg take centre stage.”
Director of Somerset House Trust, Jonathan Reekie said: “We are delighted to have Bryn Williams join us at Somerset House for his latest venture. His approach to food perfectly complements our ethos of creativity and community, and will provide a relaxed and welcoming setting for our many visitors, artists and residents.”
Williams’ Somerset House menu will have a strong focus on sustainability, seasonality and provenance. Fruits and vegetables will be the stars of the show, with small plates including the likes of Rainbow carrots, hand-dived scallop, sauterne, and Pickled mooli, black garlic, raw apple, sage, and Cumbrian beef.
Seasonal mains are to include roast young broccoli, olive tapenade, sage beignet, scorched Cornish mackerel, and char-grilled leeks, Burke Brown egg and morel mushroom.
Dishes will also be available ‘from the grill’, such as grilled cauliflower, golden raisin, capers and soft polenta. In a continuation of the veg-centric theme, a range of salads will also be on offer, such as charred chicory, sour onions, smoked ricotta and rapeseed oil dressing. Signature, fruit-heavy desserts include bay leaf panna cotta, blackberry, lime curd and poached rhubarb and blood orange trifle.
Giasullo Engineering LTD
Giasullo Engineering LTD specialises in shop-fitting, fit-outs and general contracting work. The company started operations in Italy in 2007, before opening divisions in London in 2015 and in New York in 2017.
Over the past eleven years, Giasullo Engineering Ltd has built up a strong portfolio, filled with prestigious projects such as Roux at Parliament Square – a scheme completed for the Compass Group. Most recently, Giasullo Engineering was appointed as the main contractor on Bryn Williams at Somerset House.
Francesco Giasullo, Giasullo Engineering LTD, said:
“Somerset House is a historic and prestigious building in Central London, which required the refurbishment of a restaurant and bar for Bryn Williams, an internationally renowned chef. It was a very important project to be involved with.”
“At Giasullo Engineering LTD, we oversee all aspects of construction, from interiors to furnishings, lighting and products. We rigorously curate our selection of materials and finishes from the excellent Italian craftsmanship for our prestigious clientele.”