Life’s A Beach And Then You Dine | Mark Jordan At The Beach, La Plage, La Route de la Haule, St Peter, Jersey JE3 7YD
When I found out that Saff and I were to visit Mark Jordan at the Beach, I could barely contain my excitement. Partly as I’d just read a cracking review but mostly as I’ve been waiting over five years to write such a pun-tasting heading as ‘Life’s a beach and then you dine’… I think we should win an award just for that.
We’d already eaten at Mark’s other restaurant, Ocean, situated in The Atlantic Hotel where we were staying. The quality of the food coming out of this Michelin starred kitchen was incredible and just hoped that Mark Jordan at the beach would provide more of the same. It also boasts a Michelin Bib Gourmand for good food and good value for money plus two AA Rosettes and an entry in the Tatler Restaurant Guide 2014.
Formerly known as The Bistro Soleil, Mark Jordan at the beach is a joint venture between the main man, his wife and the owners of The Atlantic Hotel. From the outside the restaurant itself is a fairly standard beach front venue with a lovely large terrace are for when the sun shines – no such luck on our visit though, rain seems to follow us everywhere.
Inside the decor was a little twee and dated. Maybe Saff and I have just been brainwashed by the strong industrial trend that shows no sign of ending in London, perhaps Mark Jordan at the beach‘s decor is ahead of the curve? The space is bright and airy with a shoal of small metal silver and blue fish decorating the pale walls. The beach theme continues with metal seagulls and coral curtains. When we say coral we don’t mean the colour, the curtains have a coral shaped print. But who cares if the interior isn’t your thing, you’re here for the food not any style tips.
We started off with the selection of nibbles. Crab on toast (£4.50) – small square sandwiches of crisp, light toast with uber-fresh white crab meat. Saff munched her way through the Greek olives whilst I kept myself occupied with the Cheese straws with cumin spiced hummus and surprisingly subtle Truffle popcorn (£2.50). Our favourite was definitely the Anchovies (£3.50) salty, sharp, acidic fish pairing perfectly with the fresh compressed cucumber.
Mark Jordan at the beach also has a decent sized wine list, plus a separate smaller ‘specials’ list. This is such an excellent idea, saves having to wade through the long version. Saff’s currently obsessed with organic or natural wines and found a nice little rosé to keep her happy – Grenache, Ramon Bilbao 2013 (£6)
I wanted a ‘robust’ red to go with my beef main course (more on that later). I’d read that Chateauneuf du Pape is a great match but a little beyond the ‘budget’ that we always set ourselves before we review a restaurant. So I decided to go for an equally good but much more reasonably priced Merlot Charme de Marjosse 2010 (£6).
But first up were the starters, Saff ordered the Pan seared Jersey scallops, sticky oxtail, pea purée (£13.50). An excellent choice that showcased everything great about Jersey’s fresh ingredients and Mark Jordan’s amazing culinary touch. Before I had time to develop food envy my Devilled whitebait with mustard mayonnaise (£8) arrived. Now, whitebait can be very hit and miss, varying from a tasteless pile of greasy tiddlers to deliciously crisp lightly battered miniature sprats. Mark’s devilled whitebait obviously fell into the later category, a simple dish cooked well with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice – enough said!
Then on to the main event – Whole grilled plaice, caper, prawn and cockle butter, new potatoes (£21.50) for Saff. When eating a meal whilst looking out over the beautiful St Aubin bay it just seems wrong to order anything but fish. The grilled plaice looked a very complicated plate of ingredients but the flavours and textures all combined brilliantly, the extra crunch from the croutons was a stroke of genius.
And talking of genius, my 30 hour braised Harmony Farm short rib (£18.50) was just that. Glazed with the same Marmite reduction that I was raving about in our Ocean restaurant review. Beef ribs are on my short list for real comfort food, it’s a warm, Marmitey hug. The flavors are so strong and the texture of the fall-off-the-bone rib meat is so tender. Served with celeriac purée, onion rings, carraway cabbage and a separate side order of New Jersey Royal potatoes (£3.50), what else?
As full as we were we always have room for dessert. My Caramelised banana croustillant (£8.50), was a combination of everything I love in a dessert. Sweet caramelised banana on fresh cream on a crispy pastry base on a bed of cocoa nibs – a little like a mille-feuille but better! Served with toffee popcorn, coffee ice cream, toffee sauce and a beautifully precise chocolate swirl that looked it had been drawn with a Spirograph.
Saff can’t resist a crème brûlée, sometimes I wish she was a little more adventurous. That said I now consider her somewhat of a brûlée expert – so if you ever need anyone for a judging panel you know who to call. Her Coconut crème brûlée (£7.50), had quite a thin caramel crust, not enough ‘snap factor’ for Saff’s liking. The actual coconut flavour was quite subtle compared to the chunks of roasted pineapple and strong pineapple sorbet.
This was to be our last proper meal on our three-day Jersey adventure and we ended on a high. We were told that Mark Jordan at the beach was where Mark test drives some of his creations before they make it onto the menu at his Michelin starred restaurant. This may well be the case but it was obvious that everything served here is top quality and equally as impressive as the sister restaurant – it’s just that it’s more relaxed. Weekends are always busy as this is when Mark serves up his famed (and excellent valued) Sunday Roast and apparently the knocks up the best burger in Jersey – we will have to return one day to put these to the test!
Book a table online
Opening hours: Lunch: 12.00 to 14.30 (last orders)
Dinner: 18.00 to 21.30 (last orders)
We ate as guests of Mark Jordan at the Beach, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.