Want to dress up for dinner, and go out for a great meal, but in a relaxed environment? Sirocco?s your answer.  It?s suitably special without being stuffy and comes with sunset views while you enjoy your supper.

Haute-cuisine just a bit too ?haute? for you? You?re not alone, these days, fine dining?s shaking off its fussy image and taking a more laidback approach to good food.  It?s the fine dining revolution – gone are the starchy white tablecloths and the hushed dining rooms, and in their place, relaxed simplicity.

Sirocco is a prime example of how fine dining doesn?t have to be too formal. With its alfresco balcony tables in the evening sun and the infectious buzz of conversation drifting up from Café Zephyr, this is a restaurant with an easy, laidback atmosphere. Add the extra touches that turn a meal out into a fine dining experience; inventive dishes, amuse-bouches and a sommelier who knows his stuff, and you?ve got a recipe for a perfect night out.

If the weather?s warm, the tables out on Sirocco?s balcony terrace are a definite hotspot.  We were ushered to ours by our waiter, who brought us a platter of warm breads that came with butter and sea salt, and our amuse-bouche – a rich soupy shot glass of beetroot, watercress and balsamic velouté that tasted delicious.

Starters soon arrived, and we loved the scallops and slow-braised pork belly with vanilla cider.  With its balanced flavours, it?s a real winner of a dish.  Victor the sommelier matched it with a glass of crisp Chilean chardonnay. The melting ballotine foie gras with golden raisin purée and cashew nut brittle and sour plum jelly was delicious ? an explosion of flavours and set off perfectly by a blackcurranty glass of velvety black Muscat.

For our main course, we had to try the flambé. Steak cooked in front of you and set alight ? it?s pure food theatre and the ultimate way of ensuring that your medium rare really is.  Rui the Maître D? chatted to us as he cooked the steak at a trolley right next to the table, and when the flames had died down, stirring buttery herbs and sizzling garlic into the sauce and tipping in mushrooms and cream to melt down into a rich sauce.  It?s like watching your very own Masterchef, except that you get to eat the result.  And what a result – rich, melt in the mouth and full of flavour, this is definitely an experience to try.

Chef Steve Walker is a whizz at whipping up adventurous flavour combinations and another must-try is his venison with chocolate.  One of those pairings that look startling but taste amazing, Sirocco?s version comes with blackberries that add a deep fruity edge to an already rich and indulgent dish.  It was incredible, try it with a glass of the Chateau Caronne Bordeaux, another of the sommelier?s wine picks.

Sirocco turns even more romantic at night, as the sky turns inky blue, lanterns twinkle on every table and Claudio the restaurant manager arrives with blankets to keep alfresco diners cosy.  We couldn?t resist testing Rui?s flambé skills again on the crêpes suzette, which are prepared next to your table, soused with Grand Marnier and flambé-ed.  It?s delicious, and a great way of honing your crêpe-making skills, with Rui passing on tips on everything from melting sugar to flambéing without losing your eyebrows.

Chocoholics won?t want to miss the tasting of chocolate, it?s chocolate every way you can imagine and topped off with a Royal Yacht sail made out of… chocolate.  Gold-dusted raspberries and pistachio brittle finish off the dish, and Victor teamed it with a rich, sweet Orange Muscat designed to pick up the fruit tones.  Finish off your evening with a coffee and some petits-fours, or even an after-dinner drink ? the back up of a good hotel bar means that Sirocco has a wide choice of some of the best whiskies and cognacs around.

So if you?re looking for somewhere you can fine dine without feeling on edge, or having to talk in whispers, head to Sirocco.  A relaxed modern atmosphere, sunset views and amazing food. What could be better?

Sirocco | Royal Yacht Hotel | The Weighbridge | St Helier

720511 | www.theroyalyacht.com
Open for dinner seven nights a week