Tower Bridge cwtch

Pembrokeshire-born chef Tom Simmons is opening his first restaurant in London this spring, with a focus on the best Welsh ingredients.

Simmons, 28, appeared on MasterChef – The Professionals in 2011 and has worked with Tom Aikens and Mark Sargeant. His new self-named venue, with partner Lois Thomas running the front of house, is in the One Tower Bridge development on the south bank of the Thames.

“Welsh is our first language and we’re very proud Welsh people,” says Simmons, who is looking forward to welcoming guests with a cwtch – Welsh for a warm hug.

The menu will include prime Welsh ingredients such as salt lamb from Preseli Bluestone Meats in Carmarthen and laverbread that will appear in a Simmons original pre-dinner nibble – cockle popcorn with laverbread mayonnaise.

“It’s going to be given as a free course in the evening as a lot of people wouldn’t necessarily order it,” he says. “It’s our way of trying to entice people to try it.”

The One Tower Bridge development is pitched as a new entertainment area, with a 900-seat theatre and a branch of the Ivy Café coming soon. The Lalit boutique hotel – the first London outpost of the luxury Indian brand – opened next door this month in the former St Olave’s grammar school building, while Tom Sellers’s highly praised Restaurant Story is directly adjacent.


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