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!
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.
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!)
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...