After a week of exploring St Aubin on Jersey on foot, we agreed our choice of St Aubin as a base was the correct one. A pretty town with an attractive character, it boasts more restaurants than you might expect from a town of its size, no doubt due to its popularity with visitors. The question is, how good are restaurants in St Aubin?
For a start, restaurants aren’t cheap. We didn’t pay less than £80 for a meal for two. Admittedly, a bottle of wine with the meal accounted for around a third of the bill (wine in the British Isles is often over-priced compared with some other parts of Europe) but still, prices on Jersey are higher than we’re used to paying in comparable restaurants in Devon/Somerset.
But there is a good choice of them, and a variety of menus which kept our taste buds interested and happy for seven nights … most of the time.
Restaurants in St Aubin
The Old Courthouse
Located on the seafront, The Old Courthouse is in a building dating from the 15th century. The main restaurant has the look and feel of the inside of a galleon. It’s cosily attractive, and attentive staff made it feel welcoming on a Monday night when the streets outside had that typical boring Monday night ambience. As part of the Liberation Group, the menu has a ‘pub group’ style to it and features enough tasty sounding dishes to suit varying preferences. We chose half a dozen Jersey rock oysters (Vietnamese style – £11.50) followed by beer-battered cod with hand cut chips (£15) and seafood linguine with chilli, ginger, and garlic oil (£19.95).
The oysters were a disappointment, maybe not if we’d ordered scampi because that was what they tasted like, with the Vietnamese element missing. Andy’s beer-battered cod was generous, but the batter greasy. My seafood linguine was good, involving a tasty sauce and plenty of seafood. Overall verdict was it was decent fair in amenable surroundings.
Le Boulevard; open Mon-Fri midday to 14:30 & 18:00 to 21:00, Sat midday to 21:30, Sun midday to 19:00; website The Old Courthouse
The Salty Dog
The Salty Dog describes itself as one of Jersey’s favourite eateries, and it was bouncing on a Tuesday night. We like to eat in restaurants where it feels diners are enjoying themselves and the Salty Dog ticked that box. Sufficient staff, attractive modern décor, and an efficient service helped set the scene for an enjoyable dining experience.
Indian aloo tiki crab cakes (£10) were tasty enough but, consisting of only three small balls, felt more of an amuse-bouche than a starter. Andy’s monkfish & prawn Kerala curry (£19) overflowed its bowl but the monkfish seemed sparse, while my half lobster & king prawns with chilli, garlic, and coriander (£25) lay smothered in too much sautéed veg, and the lobster came a wee bit overcooked for me. Another case of nice ambience, good service, and decent but not outstanding food.
Le Boulevard; open for dinner Tue-Sat 18:00 to 21:00; website The Salty Dog
The Muddy Duck
We loved The Muddy Duck so much we booked to eat there again as soon as we finished our meal. As a restaurant experience goes, it hit all the right notes. It feels family run, staff exuding that sense of pride and ownership you get in good FR establishments, the tables are laid out so they feel intimate, and the atmosphere is lively.
Plus, the food is excellent and as good value as we found anywhere in St Aubin. Half a dozen oysters (£6), moules et frites (£16.95) done in both cream and Thai style, and a sticky toffee black butter pudding (£6.25) had us Mmm-ing our way through the evening. Simply a highly enjoyable dining experience … twice.
Le Boulevard; open for dinner Wed-Sat 18:00 to late, Sun 18:00 to 21:00; website The Muddy Duck
As Tides restaurant was basically the dining room of our hotel, the Somerville, and the place where we ate breakfast every day, it didn’t really feel like eating in a restaurant to us. However, it does attract many non-hotel-guest diners. I like the Somerville as a hotel, but it can ooze outdated pretensions at times, like the waiter eyeing Andy’s outfit up and down (we both clocked it) as he directed us to a table in the farthest reaches of the dining room. It turned out to be the best room as it happened, populated by lively diners who didn’t quite fit the profile of the quietly spoken, genteel clientele of the main dining area.
As for the food, it was mostly faultless and beautifully presented. Pollock ceviche (£9) looked great and tasted fresh but lacked the zing and fragrant flavours I like in ceviche. Andy’s pan-fried brill with Lyonnaise potatoes, tenderstem & samphire (£28) elicited pleasurable noises, and my seabass with crab & potato cake, ginger-pickled rhubarb, and brown crab sauce (£28) exploded with delicate and surprising flavours. Most unexpected dish of the night, and the week, was caramelia fondant baulois with burnt sorrel cultured cream (£9). Yowzah – what a combo.
Excellent food in borderline staid surroundings; they just need to chill out a little and it could be perfect.
Mont du Boulevard, open daily 18:30 to 20:30; website Tides Restaurant
Mark Jordan at the Beach
Tides could learn from Mark Jordan on the Beach. It’s what a restaurant of a high standard looks like in 2022 – modern, arty décor with relaxed yet knowledgeable staff in open-necked shirts and, shock horror, jeans. On a Saturday night, Mark Jordan’s was packed to capacity. It is Michelin Bib Gourmand rated and not far off being Michelin star standard, but there are flaws – such as the dining service feeling slightly rushed; starters arrived before we barely had time to take a couple of sips from our Prosecco aperitifs.
Seared Jersey scallops, pulled pork, celeriac espuma, truffle and apple salad (£17.50) showed why the restaurant sails close to Michelin star level, it’s a triumphant combination of flavours. Seared tuna niçoise, soy gel, and wasabi mayonnaise (£14.50) came a close second but could have done with the wasabi being more assertive. Mains consisting of honey and five spice roasted duck breast with duck leg cannelloni, caramelised figs and nuts and vanilla jus (£28.50) and breadcrumbed fillet of Jersey brill with sauté potatoes, sauce gribiche, and chive beurre blanc (£29.50) were also tastebud pleasers, although not quite as exciting as the starters.
The desserts – lemon meringue tart (£10.50) and white chocolate and pistachio cheesecake (£10.50), inventive though they looked, didn’t quite live up to their promise. Overall, the best-tasting food of the week.
La Plage, La Route de la Haule; open for dinner Tues-Sun 18:00 to 21:30; website Mark Jordan at the Beach
I can’t quite figure this restaurant out. It has mostly glowing reviews on TripAdvisor, it was recommended locally, and an adjacent table told the owner how wonderful their meal was. But from the moment we stepped into the restaurant, alarm bells started ringing. The décor lacks character for a start. The various staff who dealt with us were friendly, but the service was rushed – more like eating in a fast-food joint.
However, it was the food which really disappointed. Andy’s starter of Parma ham with fresh home-made Cacciotti cheese and focaccia (£13.95) lacked personality. My handpicked crab and avocado (£14.95) was equally dull, the avocado flesh blemished. These starters didn’t justify their hefty price. Main courses were worse; egg tagliolini with black truffle pesto (£17.50) was slop on a plate, the pasta had the consistency of spaghetti hoops. Andy’s beef cannelloni (£15.95) didn’t look like cannelloni, didn’t taste freshly made and, although tasty enough, the texture was rather unpleasant.
I could see dishes coming out of the kitchen and none looked refined or particularly appetising, including those served to the group who declared it ‘wonderful.’ It was a disappointing end to a week of mostly good and sometimes exceptional cuisine.
Le Boulevard; open for dinner daily 17:00 to 21:00