“ Address: 10 Wharf Street / St Helier / JE2 3NR / Jersey / Tel: 01534 729111 „
It was the menu that first drew our attention to The Golden Buddha Bar and Restaurant in St Helier; it is posted on one of the large windows at the front of the restaurant and takes up most of the window. There are over 130 Asian and Thai dishes listed on a bright green display that you can't possibly miss when you are wandering anywhere in the vicinity!
I am often a little dubious about restaurants that have so much choice - I think it was Gordon Ramsey that said you should cook a few dishes well, not hundreds badly - but despite this, I couldn't ignore the fact that my mouth was watering just reading the choices.
The restaurant inside is quite large, but the layout has been well considered to mean that it is quite possible to have a cosy meal for two. The interior is lined with dark wood and the tables and chairs all match this theme to give the restaurant a luxurious, atmospheric and oriental feel. The centre-piece is a large water feature surrounding a giant bronze Buddha. It is clear that the owners have spent a lot of money on furnishing the restaurant and they should be proud of what they have done because it looks and feels very nice. The attention to detail is excellent as well with attractive pictures lining the walls, lovely flowers on each of the tables and very comfortable embroidered cushions on the chairs.
The service was excellent - we were made to feel welcome as soon as we arrived and we were offered the choice of sampling a cocktail in the bar or sitting down to eat straight away. As we were hungry, we chose to sit down, but the more than helpful waiter brought a cocktail menu to our table just in case. As I said, the choice of food is extensive and choosing just one starter and one main course each took a little time, but the waiter was on hand to answer any questions we had. I am quite familiar with Thai food, but there were some dishes that I'd never heard of.
We decided on vegetable tempura and teriyaki king prawns to start. I am a massive fan of tempura (lightly battered) vegetables and I wasn't let down in the slightest with this. The portion was healthy sized to say the least and it included peppers, baby corn, mushroom, onion and cauliflower all coated in a light and crispy batter and accompanied by a delicious sweet chilli dipping sauce and fresh side salad. My other half's king prawns were certainly that - I don't think I've seen many as big as these! There were four of them which, considering it cost only £6, proved to be excellent value for money. They were cooked to perfection and accompanied again by the chilli sauce.
For the main course we opted to share a chicken Pad Thai dish and a sizzling beef dish with sticky rice. The rice was scented very slightly with jasmine and was cooked perfectly. The Pad Thai was again very nice but I felt it was a little too sweet. The portions were again huge and I felt like I'd had enough of it about half way through. The sizzling beef was amazing though and was accompanied by a delicious garlic smell that wafted through the restaurant as it was being served!
The food is very reasonably priced, especially if you factor in the fact that you are on the notoriously expensive island of Jersey, with starters being between five and six pounds and main courses being between eight and twelve pounds. For a two course meal for two of us with wine and beer and tip included, we paid just short of £50, which we both agreed was exceptional value and well worth it.
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and has some special offers during the day including an early bird menu offering two courses for £9.95 and buy one get one free at lunch time. Like I said, the portions are massive though, so it might be a bit much for lunch!
If you are in the area, I'd definitely recommend the Golden Buddha - it offers great value for money, comfortable but opulent surroundings and excellent service - well worth a visit!