One of the things Jersey does extremely well is restaurants, and especially restaurants in beautiful locations. There are few places in the world where you have so many opportunities to eat risotto whilst staring at a castle, digest lobster metres from the breaking waves or tuck into a cheeseburger whilst avoiding eye contact with a meadow full of bemused cows.
We also do ambiance, despite the best attempts of the architectural sadists who designed St Helier. No trip to the Island is complete without the chance to soak up the Bergerac/Hungerford aura of St Aubin’s, the refined elegance of luxury hotel dining at Ocean or the pirate village charm of Gorey harbour. We are also well on our way to having more gastropubs per square mile than North London, but when a man is tired of creme brûlée, he is tired of life.
Most visitors won’t find the time to enjoy all of our restaurants in one trip, but one of the pleasures of living here is that there are so many places to enjoy great food in an unusual setting. Some of them are posh hotels, some of them are non-nonsense greasy spoons, and many more are just picnic spots that offer the ideal opportunity to devour sandwiches and scotch eggs before the ants carry them away. The thing they all have in common is the memorable combination of good food in a great location. Well, that and the seagulls.
As a professional glutton, Gallery doesn’t have enough space to list all the places I like to stuff my face, so make sure you pick up a copy of Appetite, our companion guide to eating out around the Island. To get you started, here’s a quick guide to the reasons I’ve been having to undo my top button in the last month
If you’re hungry, you can do a lot worse than just turning up at Gorey village and following your nose. They’ve got a new branch of Danny’s serving his signature fusion cuisine, the ever-popular Suma’s, a great selection of informal pub and hotel restaurants, as well as the Castle Green perched high above it all.
My new Eastern favourite is Sudu’s Spice House on Gorey Pier, where Friday and Saturday nights see the Cafe Du Port transform into a venue to enjoy delicious home-style Sri Lankan food. It’s lighter and, dare I say it, healthier than the typical Indian and Bangladeshi menus that have made me the chubby man I am today, which consequently results in me eating twice as much.
The trend of seaside cafes opening late and switching up their menus is one I feel the Island could do with more of – St John is much improved by Bonne Nuit Beach Cafe’s weekend Thai menu, and St Ouen is a better place since El Tico rose from the rubble a few years back and started serving after dark. If only The Hungry Man was open 24 hours and sold burritos, I could just live in one of those huts and not leave Rozel until they carry me away on a taco stretcher covered in grated cheese and guacamole.
Colomberie: passport to international gluttony
If I was lucky enough to have three stomachs, I’ve often thought how wonderful it would be to eat my way down Colomberie, and by extension around the world. This unassuming strip of town crams in two of my favourite Thai restaurants, great Italian and Portuguese food, a traditional tea shop, a Polish delicatessen for my pierogi fix and more cafes than you can shake a cinnamon stick at. The most recent arrival is a Transylvanian delicatessen, which sprung up overnight after a powerful storm caused a mysterious freighter to dock at our harbour one evening. During regular hours, the owner assumes human form to tempt mortals with a fine selection of baguettes containing the smoked meat and cheeses of his bat-infested homeland, not to mention the unmissable ‘chimney cake’ – a sort of sugary kebab, if you can imagine such a thing. It’s bloody marvellous, if you’ll excuse the pun.
Of course, it’s not all fancy food in this Island of ours. What latte and sandwiches are to our capital, ice cream and burger fans are to Jersey’s countryside. Chances are, if you can park your car and enjoy a view in Jersey, you can buy hot meat and a can of coke. You might have to fight off a mob of seagulls, but that’s just a sign of how tasty the grub is, and who can fault a hungry bird from wanting to nourish its young with such fine food?
For starters, I recommend you get your burger on at Bouley Bay, the Line Up on the five mile road, or sample the outstanding home-made sausages by the entrance to Noirmont point. Both Le Hocq and La Rocque cafes have plenty of fans, and grease loving insomniacs can eat at the harbour cafe at the La Colette docks from the crack of dawn. The cycle path from town to St Aubins also has a decent cafe almost every hundred metres, so make sure your evening fitness ride is accompanied by the odd bacon cheeseburger, just to keep your spirits up
Bon appetit, mes amis. Enjoy our Island, enjoy your food, and I’ll see you at Weight Watchers.