16 November 2009
In my last post about my surprise trip to Jersey, I left a bit of a cliffhanger, which was mainly to give me more time to write this post. But I can now reveal that my final surprise of the weekend was an evening meal at one of Jersey’s Michelin-starred restaurants!
After a drink and some bar snacks in our hotel bar, Suzy booked a taxi to take us to Ocean Restaurant at The Atlantic Hotel. On arrival, I could tell why she didn’t book a room at this hotel for the weekend; wooden floors, stone walls, chandeliers, expensive art-work... the place was like a palace!
Since we were a little early, we had another drink and some more bar snacks, being careful not to ruin our appetite, and then perused the menus. Given our previous experience and Christian’s more recent comments about the price of the wine at The Old Vicarage, which is the only other Michelin-starred restaurant we’ve visited, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the wine at Ocean Restaurant started at around £18 per bottle.
Despite being tempted by their tasting menu, we both decided to choose from the à la carte menu. And here’s what we ordered:
Sole Goujon with Lemon Foam
Suzy: Ham – Pressing of ham knuckle, maple baked foie gras, roasted langoustines, artichoke purée
Tony: Scallops – Pan roast hand dived Jersey scallops, honey baked pork belly, creamed cabbage
Suzy: Beef – Tasting of Jersey beef miniatures, dauphinoise purée, onion rings, beef marmite
Tony: Venison – Roast loin of Scottish venison, autumn vegetable dauphinoise, d’Agen prune jus
“Something like lemon meringue pie served in a shot glass but without the pastry”
[Sorry, once again this wasn’t on the printed menu we brought away, so that’s my lame description!]
Suzy: Chocolate – Hot chocolate soufflé, white chocolate ice cream
Tony: Coffee – Coffee panna cotta, espresso jelly, white chocolate quenelle, whisky foam
We would have loved to have tried the cheese board too, especially after seeing the huge selection of cheeses get rolled out on a trolley for the table next to us, but we honestly couldn’t have squeezed in another mouthful!
I generally don’t like coffee-flavoured desserts, but the coffee panna cotta tasted great. In fact, everything we had was cooked to perfection. The flavour combinations were all spot on, the presentation was outstanding, the service from the staff was of the highest standards, and the atmosphere was perfect too.
Sounds pretty good, eh? That’s because it was! Seriously, it’s easy to forget what amazingly good food tastes like. When we were on our honeymoon, we did have some really good food, but it’s clear why Ocean Restaurant has a Michelin star – as well as three Rosettes in the AA Restaurant Guide 2009 – and all those other places we’ve visited don’t.
Ocean Restaurant definitely gets our recommendation!
Labels: food, personal, restaurants, travel
4 November 2009
As a belated 30th birthday present, my lovely wife booked a surprise weekend away for us both. I only found out where we were going when the airline made the final call for the flight. All I knew until that point was that we were flying, didn’t need any foreign currency and I needed to pack some smart clothes! So I was very pleasantly surprised, in the dash for the plane, to discover that the destination was Jersey. It was somewhere we’d never been and I’d heard it’s a beautiful place to visit. As always, food played quite an important part in the trip, so keep reading for mouth-watering menus...
After our short flight, we decided to walk from the airport to our hotel in order to see a bit more of Jersey. After 20-30 minutes of walking, we reached St Brelade on the south coast and walked a little bit further along the beach to the luxurious L’Horizon Hotel & Spa. We were told at the desk that we were lucky to have been given a corner room which had a balcony and sea-view. And very nice it was too!
The view from our room at L’Horizon Hotel & Spa
Lunch at the Oyster Box
After dropping off our bags and hanging up our clothes, we wandered back along the beach to get some lunch and ended up at the Oyster Box. Since we knew where we were going for dinner, and suspected it could end up being quite a big feast, we decided to have something light. Which is a shame, because their menu looked excellent and we could have benefited from the annual Tennerfest offers, which basically promotes fixed price menus at hundreds of eating establishments across the Channel Islands.
Anyway, we ordered three Special No. 3 Royal Bay Oysters, Grilled with Garlic Butter and Chorizo to share, Suzy ordered Chancre Crab Risotto with Chives, Rocket and Parmesan and I had Tuna Sashimi and Salt & Pepper Squid with Wasabi Mayo and Soy. The restaurant was really fresh and modern, everything was beautifully cooked and tasted great (although Suzy thinks there was too much “salad crap” on top of her risotto which she pushed to one side). I am now also a fan of wasabi mayonnaise and reckon it would go brilliantly with chips!
Deep Tissue Massage
My next surprise was a deep tissue back massage. After getting changed into our robes and slippers, we made our way down to the spa facilities at the hotel, which felt very odd to be honest! I’d been having some problems with my shoulder and, according to the masseuse, I have bad posture too, which is good to know. After she straightened up my shoulders, I actually felt much better. I’ve now got to learn how to sit up straight. After spending some time in the sauna, steam room and salt-water swimming pool, we went down to the bar for a quick drink before going out for dinner.
Dinner at the Crab Shack
Next to the Oyster Box where we went for lunch is the Crab Shack. Although part of the same group, the Crab Shack is a lot more relaxed and casual than the Oyster Box but the food is definitely just as good. For her starter, Suzy had the Crab, Scallop and Clam Soup and, since we were in the Crab Shack, I obviously had to have 2 Chancre Crab Claws with Mayo. Both were delicious. For main course, Suzy had a huge portion of Tempura-battered Local Fish and Chips with Peas and I thoroughly enjoyed a massive pot of Thai Moules and Chips.
Thai Moules and Chips at the Crab Shack, St Brelade’s Bay
The main courses were good but we would both have appreciated better chips; Suzy would have liked fewer fresh-cooked chips and I would have preferred long fries. It was clear they were very busy as they had to borrow staff from the Oyster Box, which was apparently uncommon for a Friday night, according to the waitress who kindly apologised for the slow service, so we were lucky to have got a table since they don’t let you make reservations unless there are at least six people.
For my next surprise, Suzy had arranged for us to hire a couple of bikes from Jersey Cycle Tours. Most people seem to think this isn’t much of a surprise since it sounds more like hard work than fun, but I’d wanted to hire some bikes when we were back in Lismore so I thought this was exciting! First we had to quickly remind ourselves how to ride a bike and then we set off along Jersey’s fantastic cycle routes...
Jersey War Tunnels
Our first destination on the bikes was Jersey War Tunnels, the site of Hohlgangsanlage 8, the German Underground Hospital built by German occupying forces during the occupation of Jersey during World War II. (Thanks Wikipedia!)
Jersey War Tunnels: Entrance tunnel
The tunnel complex hosts a fascinating and heart-wrenching exhibition about Jersey’s history and its German occupation during World War II. The educational exhibits really make you empathise with the people of Jersey. If you visit the island and don’t know much about its history, I would definitely recommend a visit.
After some lunch in the café at the Jersey War Tunnels, we got back on our bikes and headed to St Helier, where we had a quick mooch about the shops and market before pedalling back to St Aubin to drop off our bikes before getting ready for my last surprise of the weekend, which I’ll save for my next post...
Labels: food, personal, restaurants, travel