Ocean’s Eleven (Out Of Ten) | Ocean Restaurant At The Atlantic Hotel Jersey, Le Mont de la Pulente, Saint Brelade, Jersey JE3 8HE
When you’re staying in one of, if not, the best hotels in Jersey then it would be rude and rather stupid to turn down a meal in their Ocean restaurant. Especially when said restaurant has a Michelin star and that the highly respected Mark Jordan just so happens to be their executive head chef.
Novelli obviously left a lasting impression on him and Jean Christophe’s mentoring inspired Mark to create food using the best combinations of ingredients which appeal to the ‘five senses of cooking’. These teachings stuck, everything we ate at Ocean had them all – smell, taste, texture, touch and sight.
The multi-award winning Atlantic Hotel has just added ‘Best International Hotel’ to its long list of accolades. If that’s not enough, it’s situated on one of the most stunning locations in the Channel Islands with breathtaking ocean views. And this is where we sat, looking out over St Ouen’s Bay next to the ceiling to floor white louvre shuttered windows.
Decor was simple yet elegant – crisp white tablecloths, sparkling glassware and perfectly polished cutlery. The walls were off white with splashes of colour from abstract artworks dotted around. We were very impressed by the waiting staff’s attention to detail when setting a new table, everything laid down to pin-point precision. And they didn’t disappoint when dealing with the diners either – attentive and extremely knowledgeable.
Talking of knowledgeable, what head sommelier Richard Burton (no, not the Richard Burton) doesn’t know about wine really isn’t worth knowing. The pairings were spot on, his 20 years of experience hospitality was clearly evident.
There were two dining options on offer, the A La Carte and the Table d’hôte Dinner menu. We decided to divide and conquer and take on one menu each. But first up was the amuse bouche, a thick asparagus soup topped with a light parmesan foam – if this was the prelude then we were looking forward to the main event.
I hit the jackpot and ‘won’ the A la Carte option, although Saff’s Table d’hôte menu was as impressive, just with slightly less to choose from.
I started with ‘Duck’, the naming may be simple but the actual dishes were incredibly intricate. A selection of duck miniatures, an apple and fig gel (more like a jam), candied nuts, black current jelly and toasted honey brioche. My favourite ‘tasting’ of duck? Well it was a close call between the confit duck wrapped around green beans and the smooth duck and foie gras parfait. (Paired with a crisp 2011 Stepp & Gaul Riesling Alte Reben.)
Next up for me was ‘Beef’. Oh. My. God! This has to be the best thing I’ve eaten all year, I just didn’t want it to end! And what made this dish so special (apart from the quality of the beef) was the simplest of ingredients Marmite. Yes, Marmite!
This Assiette (that’s French for plate) of Jersey beef couldn’t have been cooked any better, three different rich and meaty cuts glazed with a beefy Marmitey reduction – simply wow! Jersey lobster ravioli added a different texture, whist the almost ridiculous sounding Dauphinoise cappuccino (cappuccino in appearance, not taste) was a work of genius in itself. A small(ish) glass of pourable light, fluffy Dauphinoise potato, a thin layer of (yet more) beef Marmite reduction and topped with the same parmesan foam that appeared in the amuse bouche.
I spooned this onto my plate, I’m not sure if I was meant to but I didn’t care, the flavour combo worked. If that wasn’t enough, there was a little boat of beef Marmite gravy – some probably call it a jus, but when poured on beef it’s definitely gravy. Had this not been a Michellin starred restaurant I so would have licked the plate. Our waitress even offered to bring me some bread to ‘mop up’, but I reluctantly refused – damn my good table manners! (Paired with a powerful 2009 Château Tour de Sarrail! red Bordeaux blend.)
After a short break out came a pre-dessert, I know I probably shouldn’t say this but it tasted like a refined Müller Corner – sweet syrupy compressed strawberries, a light, almost mousse like, ice cream and topped with those little crispy balls.
I must admit that I had a serious case of food envy when my dessert turned up. There was absolutely nowt wrong with my choice, but Saff’s Hot raspberry soufflé looked (and smelt) incredible! I had also ordered ‘Raspberry’ but this was raspberry nougatine with pistachio cream and a quenelle of raspberry sorbet.
A beautifully delicate tower of translucently thin nut brittle (nougatine), ridiculously fresh raspberries and a subtle pistachio cream. As stunning as it was I had my green eyes focussed on Saff’s dessert – sorry Mr Pastry Chef. (Paired with a 2012 Alois Kracher Zweigelt Beerenauslese dessert wine)
As mentioned before Saff ordered from the Table d’hôte Dinner menu (three courses for £55.) First up for her was ‘Crab’, yep her menu also came with the most simple of labelling.
Flaked piles of fresh Jersey crab (as you would expect) little dots of mayonnaise and a scattering pink grapefruit salad. Brilliantly simple, visually beautiful and with perfectly balanced flavours. Paired with the 2014 Azienda Agricola Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Sicilia Rosso IGT, Sicily, Italy).
Saff’s main course was ‘Duck’. Two healthy sized medallions of honey and fig roasted Gressingham duck breast cooked perfectly pink and tender. Served with glazed figs and drizzled with a not too sweet vanilla jus. (Paired with a crisp 2014 Van Remoortere Menetou-Salon Sauvignon Blanc.)
As mentioned before, Saff’s ‘Raspberry’ dessert was cause for concern – I was concerned that it was better than my choice, don’t you just hate dessert envy? Her hot raspberry soufflé smelt, looked and (apparently) tasted delicious. I can always gauge just how good Saff’s desserts are by the level of reluctance displayed when offering me a spoonful to sample – in this case I didn’t get anything. Enough said! [Oops, sorry Ade! – Saff]
From what I witnessed the soufflé had a ridiculously light texture, was coloured a beautiful Barbie pink by the raspberries and judging by Saff’s out of character spoon scrapping, tasted as good as it looked. At least the raspberry sorbet was the same as that served with my dessert! (Paired with Domaine des Bernardins Muscat Beaumes de Venise 2014.)
We didn’t stick around for coffee and Petits Fours, partly as it was getting late and we were almost alone in the restaurant and the music had been turned off, also we wanted try a nightcap in the bar before we headed back to our room. This was an incredible experience, almost faultless – the service impeccable, the wine pairings spot on and food more than worthy of its Michelin starred status. My only regret – not ordering the raspberry soufflé!
Le Mont de la Pulente, Saint Brelade,
Jersey JE3 8HE
Telephone: 01534 744101
We ate as guests of Ocean, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.