Jersey might seem a long way to travel for dinner, but when it’s michelin star fine dining of the calibre of Bohemia, well then it’s a different story.
Edinburgh now offers direct flights to Jersey so there’s never been a better time to visit. As well as local Jersey crab, ice cream, and the infamous Jersey Royals to enjoy, there are also two michelin star restaurants on this tiny island – Bohemia is one of them (ranked 11th best restaurant in the UK).
Bohemia is located at the Club Hotel & Spa Jersey, a boutique five star hotel in St Helier (more to come on the hotel in another post!)
As well as an A La Carte Menu, there’s a seven course Tasting Menu and a nine or ten course Prestige Menu (depending on whether you go for the cheese course with supplement).
Jersey is a long way to go and we were hungry so we had the nine course prestige menu sans cheese course.
The experience began with a Mackerel Tartare and Barbecued Pork amuse bouche. I love these little snacks you get as part of a fine dining experience and quite often they end up being a very memorable part of it (I still remember ‘Caesar Salad’ at Castle Terrace, and Martin Wishart’s vibrantly pink Beetroot and Horseradish Cream macarons). The Barbecued Pork here in particular will live long in the memory. Smoky pulled pork deep fried in breadcrumb and served in a nest of hay.
The bread was served warm in a little hessian sack which helped the rolls to maintain their heat throughout several courses. I’m presuming the butter was made from local Jersey dairy and that was the reason I ended up consuming so much of it.
The first official course on the prestige menu is Jersey Royal, Quail Egg, Paris Brown. This was served as a potato velouté with a mushroom purée and a crispy quail’s egg. It ended up as one of our favourite courses of the evening (everyone else ranks their tasting menu courses too, right?)
An Oyster Cassonade was a lot more challenging, the unusual texture of diced oyster was unusual but not unpleasant.
Local Crab Tart & Custard was one of several dishes that were served in two parts. The first was crab atop some very fine pastry (the ‘tart’) and the second was almost a creme brûlée style set custard made from crab. Both were equally delicious and were a celebration of this local ingredient.
The Belted Galloway Tartare was also served as two parts, the tartare itself was one of our favourite dishes – simply served, the ingredient was allowed to speak for itself, and it certainly did that. On the side was slow cooked meat that had been pressed and served on toast. These were complex dishes with an incredible amount of work.
The whole menu included the finest ingredients, for our fish course we were served Turbot with Cevennes Onion, Smoked Eel and Samphire. This was a meaty dish served with a jus which really complemented the fish. The smoked eel was perfect with the dish and not in the slightest bit overpowering.
A spring menu wouldn’t be complete without lamb. Here we had Lamb Loin with Braised Neck. You don’t often get loin as it’s a premium cut, but so tender. It was served with a garnish of Jerusalem artichoke, goat’s cheese and black garlic. On the side was a meaty lamb ragu.
As we decided to skip the cheese course, we went into our first pre-dessert Gariguette Strawberry with yoghurt and olive oil. I know strawberry and balsamic works, but strawberry and olive oil? I can confirm it definitely does. Simply the best flavoured strawberry I’ve ever had.
The next instalment of the dessert section of the menu was Lemon – Fennel – Meringue. This was a nice contrast of sharp and sweet and cleansed the palate a bit before the main dessert and finale, if you discount the pretty epic petit fours.
When I posted this picture on Instagram someone said it looked like a toilet seat! I can kind of see where they were going, thank goodness it didn’t taste like a toilet. This was the Spiced Apple & Blackberry.
Petit Fours were a SERIOUS affair. Firstly there were a couple of little patisseries to enjoy, THEN they presented a wooden box of the most beautifully handcrafted jewels, each of which were coloured and shaped like a jewel. We were allowed to choose up to five. It was a mistake to only take three!
A true feast, the calibre of which I will probably only experience a few times in my lifetime. Well worth a trip to Jersey – book your flights now!