Bohemia Bar and Restaurant, part of The Club Hotel and Spa in Jersey, and bearer of a Michelin star, is one of the more up-market restaurants on the island. Ranked as the highest scoring restaurant in the Channel Islands in the Good Food Guide 2016, it has also been included in the top 50 best restaurants in the UK according to The Sunday Times. With that, why on earth would I not want to pay a visit?
We started with a table for two in the cosy bar area, the drinks menu boasted cocktails such as the ‘Moulin Rouge Champagne Cocktail’ and the best selling ‘Lanique Rose Petal Liqueur’. After perusing the wine list I settled on a glass of the medium sharpness Pouilly Fumé “Le Chant des Vignes” Sauvignon Blanc, to warm the cockles. Diners have the choice of the ‘Prestige’ and ‘Classic’ which I ultimately went with after a culinary tug of war with the other half. At twelve courses, the ‘Prestige Menu’ sounded fun and adventurous, priced at £85 per person, plus extra for a sommelier to pair your wines accordingly if you wish.
The ‘Classic Menu’ was a more sensible option at £59 per person. I went for a scallop starter with celeriac, apple, smoked eel and truffle, followed by a main of lamb and a pudding of coffee, guanaja and passion fruit. Just when I thought I knew my foods, I learned guanaja is a type of dark Caribbean chocolate. The dining room was refurbished last year to give it a sophisticated and elegant new design; my favourite feature being a glittering chandelier made of 200 champagne glasses, each looking as if it had just been filled.
In no time at all we were presented with a varied selection of amuse bouche. Aaron and I were in definite agreement that the barbecued wild boar bites were one of the best things we had ever tasted. The meat simply fell apart, rich in a deep, woody barbeque flavour that has stayed with me to this day. Our senses came alive with the waft of freshly baked bread rolls presented in a rustic basket alongside island-appropriate seaweed butter. My scallop with smoked eel and truffle is one of the chef’s signature dishes. The generously sized scallop was the perfect partner for the carrousel of ingredients that surrounded it. I’m a big fan of apple in savoury dishes, in this case the juicy cubes of fruit offset the fish tastefully, this was balanced out by small bites of smoked eel. These unique combinations gave the dish a brilliantly rounded finish.
The main course was what could best be described as a trio of lamb. Garnished with a Jerusalem Artichoke and ingeniously paired with goats cheese, it was gorgeous. If you’re a devout carnivore, then this main course would be ideal; for me, I might have liked some extra greens to level out the quantity of meat on the plate. Saying that, there was a strand of wild-garlic leaf, reminding me of the local and seasonal aesthetic of the restaurant.
Though we were full to the brim, I could not have enjoyed the dessert more. As the dusted dark chocolate and coffee mousse met with the sharp tang of the passion fruit, it was absolute heaven and I savoured every mouthful. Aaron’s was a deconstructed tiramisu, well presented with each element having a clear definition on the dish, and the fact that I didn’t hear a peep from him for 15 minutes was a sure sign of how good it was.
The man to thank for such a unique and delicious experience is the head chef, Steve Smith. Steve focuses on the source of all his ingredients, keeping it as local as possible, and using the seasons to inspire his menus. In his forward to the menu he says that his dishes respect the flavour and balance of each of their components – with that, I concur.
So, if you are visiting Jersey, and want a special night out then you can find them at Bohemia Bar & Restaurant, Green Street, St. Helier, Jersey JE2 4UH, Channel Islands
For reservations call: 01534 880 588 or visit www.bohemiajersey.com
Words by Tor Orchard