Since he opened his Pontcanna restaurant, Tommy Heaney has set a very high standard.
This bright, stylish space is ideal for everything from a quick lunch to a far more leisurely tasting menu experience, with influences ranging from Spain to Japan.
There’s a convivial buzz, a happy thrum of chatter and music. It’s not ‘fine dining’ in that over-formal sense, but it is as accomplished as you’d expect from a chef who has won his regional Great British Menu heat twice, coming joint first with his starter at his first attempt and joint first in fish in his second year. That’s remarkable from someone who admits it wasn’t until his 30s he took his food seriously enough to devote time to developing his own style and identity.
“There’s a story behind everything we use,” says Tommy, simply. Memories of family and childhood loom large, so you will always find Carlingford oysters on the menu. He spent chunks of his childhood just yards from the farm, at a little family-owned cottage literally moments away. He would get there early, and seeing the scale of the operation made a huge impression on the young Tommy.
Our advice? Whether you see them Bloody Mary style, or with dill oil and a tangy yoghurt granita, or with cucumber and horseradish cream, or veering off towards Vietnam (soy sauce, ginger, chilli), or Spain (apple cream and chorizo ibérico)- whichever options are on offer, have them.
That closeness breeds respect for ingredients. Lamb might come from County Antrim, where his family lives now, or from Carmarthen. Serving what they call ‘very fish heavy menus’, the quality of produce is paramount here, treated with the confidence of a skilled chef who knows when to leave well enough alone. You might see that light touch in a trout tartare, the fish quickly brined and lightly dressed in oak barrel-aged soy and rice wine, or in the cured monkfish which is a fixture here, but never served quite the same way twice.
It was no surprise to read Kathryn Flett’s Four star Telegraph review in late 2020 recognise Tommy’s cooking as “confident, packed with flavours both comfortingly predictable and pleasingly unexpected, executed with style and delivered with a light professional touch”
Food this good is in demand, so we’d advise booking Heaney’s in advance. It’ll be worth it.
Facilities & Services: