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First look at chef Tom Waters’ new restaurant Gorse


Following the resounding success of his pop-up ventures across Cardiff, Chef Tom Waters is set to open his first permanent restaurant, Gorse today (May 28th, 2024).

Having earned his stripes in prestigious London kitchens, including stints at Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat DuckThe Square and Bonhams, Chef Tom Waters returned to his Welsh roots with his pop-up concept Gorse, eighteen months ago.

Originally hailing from Newport but with long-held ambitions to open a restaurant in the Welsh capital, Tom soon captivated diners with his ‘Modern Welsh’ tasting menus which utilise his close relationships with farmers and producers. Combined with exacting technique and attention to detail, Tom says Gorse is all about delivering ‘a taste of Wales on a plate’ in a relaxed and unpretentious environment.

Now, the transition from pop-up sensation to permanent fixture sees Gorse find a home in a former coffee shop on the Kings Road in Pontcanna, Cardiff. Over the last few months, the space has been transformed into a modern, intimate dining room with views into the sleek, open plan kitchen which can cater for up to 22 guests at a time.

The space has been designed by local design agency Karna, and draws on Tom’s passion for local sourcing; on the walls, Gorse flowers from Gower have been immortalised in plaster by a local artist, whilst the restaurant crockery has been sourced from local ceramicists, and vases of dried black oats nod to the recent revival of a crop once commonly found across Wales.

Mackerel, horseradish and aromatic herbs

At the new restaurant, diners can also expect the same dedication to micro-seasonality that has defined Tom’s culinary ethos to date; menus will change weekly and even daily to reflect the best of what his suppliers can recommend – and keep things fresh for repeat visitors.

Chef Tom Waters

Tom explained, “Gorse is about capturing local ingredients at the peak of their deliciousness and serving them in creative and sometimes unexpected ways. We have some of the best produce in the world in Wales – including an amazing coastline (which inspired our restaurant name) and is full of amazing seaweeds, fish and wild ingredients.

So good example would be to look at laver, which is traditionally boiled down to make laverbread. Instead, we take it, we dry it, and we add it to some delicious cultured butter to serve with our buttermilk bread, or we make a broth with it – taking influence from Japanese cuisine.

Gorse is all about dishes like that – putting a new spin on some classic, Welsh ingredients and framing them in a new light.”

A lunchtime menu at Gorse will offer four courses for £35pp, whilst in the evening guests can choose from a seven or ten course tasting menu priced at £75 and £100 respectively.