Le Monde - A Cardiff star that's kept the ball rolling since 1980

By BigHospitality Writer

- Last updated on GMT

What is it? The glitzy Art Deco-style jewel in the crown of Cardiff-based restaurant group Le Monde, which includes La Brasserie, Shampers and, most recently, Le Monde Bristol. Who owns it? It all started with Galician-style steak restaurant ...

What is it?

The glitzy Art Deco-style jewel in the crown of Cardiff-based restaurant group Le Monde, which includes La Brasserie, Shampers and, most recently, Le Monde Bristol.

Who owns it?

It all started with Galician-style steak restaurant Shampers, opened by Benigno Martinez back in 1979, followed in 1981 by La Brasserie, next door.

It was only in 1982 that Martinez expanded into the nightclub upstairs, converting it into an upmarket fish and chip shop. A management buy-out in 1986 saw the group land in the hands of John Coakley (who left two years ago), David Sims and Simon Howard. Within a few years, all three had doubled in size. "It soon became the flagship," recalls co-Director Howard.

"It was almost as an overspill. The idea behind it was just "let's try selling a bit of fish and see what happens".

What's it like?

A menu-free zone, with dishes selected from a fresh fish counter in front of an open kitchen.

Style-wise, it's black, chrome and glitzy, catnip to Cardiff's elite. Howard describes it as a "quietly well-known haunt", the "poshest" of the three.

Howard's too discreet to name names but "rugby has played a big part in it" and it's a haunt of Charlotte Church. "You can spend a few quid or an awful lot of quid."

Longest-standing dishes?

Lobster and Dover Sole are big sellers, and the Sea Bass in Rock Salt has been on since day one.

Secret to its success?

Not only have many of the managers been there more than 20 years, but even some of the cleaners have been there since the beginning. Le Monde has also been using the same butcher, Welsh Brothers, and fishmonger, Snowden, since back then.

60-62 St Mary Street, Cardiff CF10 029 2023 4138 le-monde.co.uk

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