AppetiteRound One.

Round One.

We check out St Aubin’s latest tasty venue.

Many years ago, I was a partner in the opening of a restaurant or event space. It was a gritty experience. Witnessing the wiring under the board of an F&B (food and beverage) business was enough to put me off for life. It might have been the challenges of a difficult partnership, but even with an event-based, guaranteed number of customers, it’s impossible to predict demand. People arrive; some eat, some don’t. It’s a gamble.

Seeing half of what the chef had created thrown away at the end of the night was soul-destroying and felt so wasteful. And we knew who was coming. If I extrapolate that scenario into a regular restaurant setting where you can’t accurately predict whether everyone is going to arrive for dinner each day, I find it terrifying. I therefore take my hat off to anyone who opens a restaurant.

When I was invited to visit The Loft in St. Aubin last month, ahead of its official opening, I was keen to see how a friend had embraced a new-found life as St. Aubin’s newest coffee shop and pizza restaurant proprietor. The Loft was developed from the ground up this year on the former site of the Lovejoys antique shop. The interior design and building fit-out are a credit to the developer and the vision that owners Dave Double and Rob Morton had for the space. The traditional structure of the building is complimented by tasteful and considerate fixtures and fittings that make for a casual, relaxed environment in which to sip coffee and kick back with pizza.

I’d popped in for coffee on a previous occasion, but tonight was all about the dough. The kitchen staff were to be tested to their limit on this ‘test’ night, with all hands on deck to determine what holes they might find ahead of opening the following week. With the oven fired, planches ready, and dough prepped, the staff got to grips with our orders. The menu is pizza-centric but has a variety of starter options. In the spirit of testing the menu, our group ordered just about all the starter options: ceviche, insalata caprese, beef carpaccio, and anitpasti board. All were served promptly and were both light and tasty. With a dough-based main course to follow, that’s just what you’re after in this sort of scenario. I’m a big fan of a tuna ceviche and wasn’t disappointed, only wanting a little focaccia to soak up the oils and capers left on my place.

As it was a tester sitting, The Loft’s alcohol licence wasn’t in place yet, so we sipped out Kombuchas and BYO drinks as we waited for the pizzas to cook. They arrived warm, fresh, and doughy. The focus here is hand-stretched Neapolitan pizzas with fluffy crusts that you can dip in a variety of optional sauces, including naughty (but nice) garlic butter.

The pizza style is similar to the pizzas they used to serve in the great little Pizza Projekt on Market Street. It’s as much about the dough as it is about the toppings, and both elements were tasty and rewarding. These aren’t the sort of pizzas you find in enormous takeout boxes; there is definitely a quality over circumference approach here. Let’s face it, it’s all too easy to overeat pizza, but the 11-inch (or slightly smaller once cooked, in particular the gluten-free) pizza on offer here is a perfect portion.

This is early evening dining at its best, particularly if you have kids. Casual, convenient, and family-friendly, The Loft will no doubt be a firm addition to the island’s restaurant shortlist.

The Loft, Seagull House, la Neuve Route,  St Aubin

Coffeehouse open Monday – Sunday: 08:00am – 5pm

Pizzeria open Wednesday – Saturday 5pm – 9:00pm

Sundays –    12:00pm –6pm

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