Lunch as Lunch Should Be
Overlooking the sea in St Peter, Mark Jordan at the Beach is how a restaurant should be, outstanding food, service and value
Review by Rupert Watkins
Mark Jordan, the Michelin starred chef, has made his name at the Ocean Restaurant at the Atlantic Hotel at St Brelade, Jersey. Aside from that more formal establishment, for the past six years, he has also run a more casual, bistro type eatery on the south coast of the island in St Helier bay.
The restaurant has a rustic edge to it. Perched next to the beach, the décor is simple with light sanded floor boards, white walls enlivened with island scenes, wicker chairs and plain tables. It is an intimate space but with plenty of natural light. There is a small, faintly Italian bar, to sit at should you wish to enjoy a pre-prandial drink before taking your seat.
Shown to our table, my guest and I were placed next to the window overlooking the bay. Gazing out over the stunning bay, seagulls wheeled, families walked dogs and the island’s athletic ran by. Turning our attention to the food, we realised we were in for a special treat as the first selection of amuse bouche were placed in front of us; crab on toast, truffle infused popcorn and anchovies and cucumber were all delightfully moreish and bursting with flavour. Swiftly augmented by homemade cheese sticks and humus, these were a veritable starter in themselves.
The set Sunday lunch provided more than ample scope for us. My guest alighted on the beef carpaccio with pickled vegetables and horseradish cream. Delicate and well balanced, the beef was perfectly done, the vegetables offering a tart counterpoint to the meat. Though having been sorely tempted by the same dish, I opted for the smoked salmon risotto with herb oil. This was delicious – the perfect size for a starter risotto, the smoked salmon flavours came fully through and the herb oil gave a lovely Mediterranean hint to the dish.
Moving keenly on, my guest went for the vegetarian option, goat’s cheese and red onion marmalade tart with a balsamic reduction and pesto. This was rich and tangy with marvellous light pastry. The reduction cut through the cheese and red onion well. I pumped for the pan fried fillet of hake with crushed potatoes and hollandaise. This fish was beautiful, light and very fresh. The crushed potatoes were likewise very fresh and well fluffed making for an extremely nice light accompaniment that did not overwhelm the fish. Finishing this decent dish was a good hollandaise sauce – the pepper and lemon bringing out the freshness of the hake and adding just the right level of piquancy.
Thus far, we were both extremely impressed with everything we had had put in front of us and this continued through to the final rites of the meal. Desiring something fresh, my guest went for a selection of Mark Jordan at the Beach’s homemade Jersey ice creams. All the options sounded equally tempting but her eventual rum and raisin and vanilla were beautifully creamy. Being the chocoholic that I am, this reviewer went straight for the chocolate crème brûlée with pistachio ice cream. A sublime desert – the chocolate rich and the nuttiness of the ice cream perfectly complementing the depth of the perfectly presented brûlée.
Finishing with good coffee and an array of decadent homemade petit fours, we left with a spring in our step. Mark Jordan at the Beach is an exceedingly fine restaurant. The service is excellent without being over the top and it remains a place you could take children and family gatherings despite it being a serious eatery. With two courses at £22.50 and three at £27.50 given the Michelin level food, extras and service this is an absolute steal. Chatting as we drove away we both agreed that there are many restaurants in London who could – and should – take a leaf out of Mark Jordan’s book.
Enquiries: Mark Jordan at the Beach, La Plage, La Route de la Haule, A1, St Peter, Jersey JE3 7YD / +44 1534 780180 / www.markjordanatthebeach.com/