“ Address: Green Street / St. Helier / Jersey / JE2 4UH / Telephone: +44 (0) 1534 880588 „
Having booked our holiday to Jersey (a friend was getting married, so we decided to make a holiday of it) I perused the Internet to see what culinary delights the island has to offer, and liked the sound of all the fish and seafood dishes. I was pretty excited when I found that Jersey has a Michelin star restaurant, and having heard a lot about these exciting stars (I do get easily excited!), I decided that it was a good opportunity to see what the fuss was all about.
For the purpose of this review I have just done a search on the net for Michelin star restaurants, and have found that we actually live a lot closer to one (well, more than one actually!) than I had thought as there is one in Grange, two in Windermere, and one in Ullswater (Cumbria is clearly the place to be). If I had bothered to search before, perhaps I would not have been so excited! It does mean that now I need to start seriously saving some money for some little trips to other restaurants/hotels.
More about Michelin stars and which restaurants currently hold them can be found here:
Basically, a restaurant can have a maximum of 3 Michelin stars - there are only three 3 Michelin Starred restaurants in the UK, and twelve with 2 Michelin stars. The rest have just the one star. But one star is good enough for me!
I booked the restaurant back in January. With 7 of us (me, hubby, my mum, dad, and friends E, J & C) I thought it was best to book in advance, although 6 months in advance is (I imagine) not really necessary! I sent them an email to book, and then they responded asking for my credit card details. Not wanting to give these out in an email I phoned the restaurant and gave them over the phone. Basically, if you don't turn up on the night you get charged £50 a head, and if you cancel less than 24 hours beforehand you get charged £25 a head. So, with 7 of us booked I was pretty keen to avoid not missing our dinner!
---Friday 18th July 2008---
Having had a full English breakfast in the hotel I was hoping to be able to hold out until dinner, but a coronation chicken baguette tempted me too much. Oh well, there was plenty of time to work up an appetite!
The hotel had told us that the bus was at 7pm. The bus stop told us the bus was at 7:24pm. I phoned the restaurant to say we might be a bit late as the reservation was for 7:45pm. However, the bus arrived at 7:14pm took less time than expected, so we actually arrived early. Typical!
The staff were expecting us (despite my garbled phone message saying we'd be late) and showed us to our table which was right out of the way from all the other guests (make of that what you will!) We ordered drinks - hubby nearly ended up with a Martini rather than a pint of Best as there was a little bit of a language barrier and confusion between bitter and bitters or something - the staff were all French. I stuck with a lady-like pint of cider! As soon as we were seated a waiter put our serviettes on our laps.
The one thing that surprised me was that there were some children in the restaurant. Admittedly they weren't children of the kicking and screaming variety. But it's not really the sort of place I would think of taking them, even if I was very rich, and if indeed I had children!
The restaurant was pretty ordinary looking. The bar was busy, but this was a Friday night in town so to be expected. The restaurant got busier as the evening went on, but there did seem a few empty tables.
I can't remember what music (if any) was playing....was caught up in our conversations. There's nothing that stands out as being detrimental to the environment. Chairs were comfy (etc), table decorations were pretty and the toilets were very nice. So, all good on that front!
I could have chosen any of the dishes on the menu - it all sounded so good. I should have thought and taken a photo of the menu - that way I'd be able to remember exactly what was on it, and how it was described, although the menu on the website helps with writing the review. This is certainly not a restaurant for those who don't like eating animals and fish - anyone who's read my review on my top 10 animals will know that I love to eat meat! So, I wouldn't bother going if you're a vegetarian.
Olives were on the table, but not being an olive fan I only tried a tiny bite of one before feeding it to hubby. Our friends C and J found them too salty, but my dad and hubby enjoyed them.
Bread - A waitress came round with a basket full of the most delicious looking (and smelling) bread, and I chose the focaccia. What was even better was that as soon as the roll had been finished, there was the waitress again with the bread basket (although not in an intrusive way). I had a tomato roll, and an olive baguette slice. There were 6 varieties I think, but 3 were quite enough for each of us! The butter was unsalted, but served on a little marble slab with a small heap of salt by the side. Very posh!
Pre-starter - It is usual in reasonably posh restaurants to get a pre starter. This usually consists of something which the chef is experimenting with. This time there were 3 mini pre starters. One was a risotto inside a breadcrumbed ball. Very tasty! The others were a goats cheese and beetroot thing (sounds horrible but was nice), and a tiny bit of salmon. The thing I noticed was that although the flavours were very distinctive, they did not stay in my mouth, which allowed me to enjoy every different mouthfuls separately.
Starter - I ordered the slow-cooked duck egg with asparagus, described as "Three hour cooked duck egg. Three hour cooked free range duck egg, new season morels and asparagus, herb sabayon" When the waiter brought it he informed me that it had been cooked for 3 hours at 62 degrees. How very specific! The egg was so lovely and runny, absolutely perfectly done for me. I have to say though that to say it's been cooked for 3 hours it was quite underdone - which is exactly how I like egg, but I can imagine that not everyone would like it!
Main course - Hubby, myself and C had paid the supplement (£7.50) and gone for the lobster, described as "Jersey lobster and crab. Warm buttered lobster tail with home made macaroni, crab and fennel "ceviche" E had paid the supplement and gone for the steak, my mum and J had the lamb, and my dad had the sole (or was it halibut). I had been tempted to go for the belly and cheek of pork, but the lobster won in the end. There was something involving sweetbreads on the menu, we told J that if he found the olives too salty then that definitely would be! I have only had lobster a couple of times before, and I have to say I was a tiny bit disappointed that it didn't come in its shell.
Our lobster came served with what they called macaroni (it was bigger than macaroni though) in a little pot with the rest of the lobster which wasn't on the plate. My dad's fish came with Jersey Royals, the beef came served on a bed of potato, and the lamb came with some sort of pureed pea. What we really noticed was the distinct lack of vegetables. That must be what the in fashion is, but I don't know, it felt that it could have done with something a bit extra. However, it was all very attractively served on, and I can't fault the flavours!
Sorbet - Between main course and dessert we had a sorbet. However I cannot remember what flavour it was if indeed I knew at the time!
Dessert/Cheese - There was quite a selection of desserts (which are all made to order), but I made my mind up as soon as we saw the menu. Hubby and I shared the mixed dessert (minimum for 2 people), which was basically a small piece of most of the desserts on offer - it included a rich chocolate tart, a peanut brittle thing, a white chocolate log.....it's hard to remember exactly. But I have to say it was quite possibly the best dessert I've ever had!
My dad had gone for the cheese (it is a shame that both cheese and dessert are not included) and they brought out a massive cheese trolley with (I think) 15 huge slabs of cheese of which my dad was allowed to choose 5. This was served with crackers and grapes and was brought out with our desserts.
Coffee & dessert wines - Everyone went for coffee, including myself even though I don't really drink hot drinks. Hubby and I also had a dessert wine (£5.50 a glass) which was a nice end to the meal. They also served chocolates which were lovely.
Wine - When I first saw the wine menu my eyes wandered straight to wine number 366 which cost the bargain price of £1377! I had to restrain myself from ordering, which wasn't that hard when I remembered it was my credit card details that the restaurant had!
Luckily wines started at a more reasonable £17 per bottle! There was a bit of a hassle with glasses as they brought out too many rose glasses and then wouldn't let us drink red wine out of the rose glass. All a bit unnecessary, I think really, but we just went with the flow, and ended up getting through 2 bottles of rose and one of red. We also had glasses of tap water brought out as we're quite happy with tap water rather than mineral water!
If you got a wine more expensive than what we got then the waiter came and decanted it at the table - to be honest they could have done this for everyone really.
We had a lovely evening at Bohemia. It is certainly not the sort of place to go if you want a quick meal, it's an evening in itself. But than when you're paying for a meal like that I think most would want it to be leisurely. Everything seemed to be timed really well.
The staff were all very polite, and there seemed to be a lot of them, and everything seemed to be timed really well. I don't know how any complaints would be dealt with since we didn't have any, but I'm sure they are accommodating.
The bill came to approximately £560 for the 7 of us - so £80 each. This did include a 10% service charge (which although I don't like service charges we probably would have paid as a tip had it not been included) so we didn't leave a tip as well (service was good, but not THAT good!) Dinner in itself costs £50 a head, so the rest was the supplements, drinks and service charge. As you can see it is not cheap, and even if we could afford it I don't think I'd want to eat like this every night! I certainly felt well fed after the meal, but not stuffed. I'll admit to a bit of heartburn that night though.
I won't be going to Bohemia again (mainly because I'm unlikely to be visiting Jersey again as there's loads of other places I want to visit), but I would recommend it to those who are around and about in Jersey and fancy a special meal. Hubby and I agreed that we do actually prefer our favourite local restaurant, the Pheasant - it hasn't got a Michelin star, and only has one AA rosette (compared to Bohemia's 4), but the food is just as high a quality and it's cheaper too!
To find out more (if my review is not enough!) about the restaurant, visit www.bohemiajersey.com - have to say that from the menu the lunch and bar meals sound pretty good too!
Awarded a Michelin Star in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008!