The Shed, Barry
Situated in Barry’s redeveloped Docks area, The Shed by James Sommerin is a very welcome upmarket eating place in the town. Housed in the Gwalia Buildings (Goods Sheds), now sympathetically repurposed, this is a restaurant that represents much of Barry’s hopes for the future. The Shed is envisaged as a modern and contemporary eating destination, but its philosophy is centered on Barry’s proud industrial heritage. They have even sourced the wood for the table tops from original timber reclaimed from the Barry Docks area. Plus the slate that forms the bar and the pass have come from old snooker tables. The interior is airy and light. There are hints at the industrial heritage of the area within the decor.
The restaurant’s price point is that of a high end bistro rather than a grander fine dining affair. However, the food is certainly up there with fine dining establishments. It’s a relaxed setting in which to enjoy your meal.
James Sommerin has brought his expertise to The Shed. He was formally a Michelin-starred chef (The Crown at Whitebrook) and both The Shed and his previous project at Penarth have been featured in the Michelin Guide.
To start I had the Smoked Haddock Souffle, which is flavoured with wholegrain mustard and dill. The mustard is applied with a sparing hand and doesn’t overpower the dish. It’s very much a creamy, soft, smoky haddock delight. I’d have very happily eaten a big bowl of this.
My companion opted for the Rabbit and Pork belly Terrine served with fig, walnut and chicory. As you’d expect this had a richness from the rabbit and the fig, but the chicory cuts through that to bring some freshness.
For our main we shared the Tomahawk Steak. This was cut in the kitchen, but plated at the table for a little drama. We picked out sides of Triple Cooked Chips, Tenderstem Broccoli and Heritage Tomato Salad. We followed the chef’s suggestion and had our steak cooked medium rare. It was a good quality steak with plenty of flavour. The triple cooked chips were wonderful. Crispy on the outside, but soft and fluffy inside: everything a chip should be. The broccoli, with its almond and garlic flavouring, together with the tomato salad proved to be the idea accompaniments to the steak.
For pudding I opted for a Crepe Suzette, but unusually for me I tried the alcohol free option. It does mean that the table-side cooking of the crepes is slightly less dramatic. Certainly the alcohol and the flames do add something to the occasion. But the crepes were still very moreish with their lovely orangey coating.
The Raspberry & Dark Chocolate Millefeuille really did look a picture. An exquisite sandwich of raspberry and creamy dark chocolate sweetness. For me, the balance of crunch to softness was spot on.
The service was attentive without being obtrusive. So we felt very well looked after during our visit to The Shed, Barry. If we are visiting Barry in the future, we will definitely be making a return visit. Highly recommended.