Bohemia Restaurant, Jersey

Bohemia restaurant has a reputation which extends much further than the Channel Islands. This prestigious eatery has been awarded a Michelin star for 13 consecutive years, holds 5 AA Rosettes and has been ranked as the 11th best restaurant in the UK by the Good Food Guide 2018. Needless to say, it is the first stop for foodies when they arrive on the island of Jersey.

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Found within the Club Hotel and Spa, I was initially quite confused by this restaurant’s setting. Tucked away in the corner of the ground floor, food of this calibre would shine more in a stand-alone environment. Nevertheless, we quickly settled into a table and started perusing the different set menu choices. Chef Steven Smith and his team focus on provenance of ingredients, and aim to create imaginative dishes with Jersey’s abundant fresh produce.

Warm bread from the oven and seaweed butter soon arrived, smelling and tasting wonderful. We both chose a glass of wine from the prestigious list, a glass of crisp Pouilly-Fumé, Marielle Michot 2016 and a rich structured red, Château Le Pey, Cru Bourgeois, Medoc 2014.

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There are a variety of tasting menus on offer to suit every occasion. If you’ve got the time, opt for the prestige menu to try a range of the kitchen’s finest creations. We visited at lunchtime and chose three courses each. To start we had the Slow Cooked Bantham Egg, Celery & Celeriac, Ham & Truffle and Jerusalem Artichoke with Coffee & Apple. The Egg was comforting and indulgent, a small bowl of gooey egg topped with rich celeriac velouté. An accompanying bite-sized ham hock on toast added texture and saltiness to the dish. My vegetarian plate of food showcased the humble Jerusalem artichoke, which had a lovely caramelised taste and was paired with sharp apple and buttery kale.

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Main courses at Bohemia are big in size and bold in taste. Venison Loin & Ragout, Beetroot & Blackberry, Grand Veneur had a wintery flavour, but though the meat was beautifully cooked the combination of beetroot and blackberry with the strong gamey Grand Veneur sauce was slightly overpowering. The Lamb Loin & Braised, Cevennes Onion, Vacherin & Rosemary was a glorious homage to lamb, cooked in a variety of ways, every mouthful was divine, and I loved the addition of herbaceous rosemary and rich vacherin cheese.

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The simple dessert descriptions gave little away… Pop Corn Parfait, Caramel, Lime and Spiced Apple & Blackberry. The popcorn pudding was fun and inventive, with different elements each giving different flavours and textures. The acidic lime sorbet counteracted the saccarine sweet parfait and crystallised popcorn pieces. The apple and blackberry was an elegant depiction of this classic British flavour pairing. Delicate and subtle it was a lovely palate cleanser to end our meal at Bohemia.

Though the atmosphere was lacking at this famous Jersey restaurant, the food more than lived up to expectation, and I can imagine it is a very popular place for special meals on the island.

More information and book a table at Bohemia here.

Artist Residence, Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire was seriously lacking in lovely boutique accommodation… until Artist Residence opened a branch of their cosy characterful hotels in the small village of South Leigh.

Artist Residence Oxford

This hotel is the newest in the Artist Residence family, with other branches in London, Brighton and Cornwall. Much like the other properties, the venue captures the essence of the surrounding area while also injecting the recognisable Artist Residence fun and quirky style into the rooms and common spaces.

Thanks to the building’s heritage as a traditional pub, the hotel still operates as a pub / dining room on the ground floor, and the food here is worth visiting for alone. Head Chef Leon Smith has worked in some top UK kitchens and his experience of flavour shines through on the dishes. Hearty plates of food showcase the finest British ingredients, whether its foraged herbs and wild mushrooms or dairy from the local producers.

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I was lucky to be one of the first to experience the brand new Barn. This grand suite is a recent addition to the hotel, housed within one of the outbuildings with a private terrace and in-room log burner. The spacious suite has a high ceiling and original wooden floorboards. Colourful details, such as Morris & Co fabrics and vibrant artwork, add flair and personality. One night was not enough to get to know every quirk in this spectacular bedroom.

The en-suite dark green tiled bathroom featured a big free-standing bathtub and rainfall shower, and a generous supply of Bramley organic toiletries was provided.

Artist Residence Oxford

And though the Barn is indulgently wonderful, you don’t need to stay in the biggest room to have an indulgent night here. Even the smallest ‘Rabbit Hole’ bedroom is comfortable and beautiful, decorated and designed in a chic farmhouse style.

I would recommend this charming hotel to anyone in need of a minibreak from London. Artist Residence Oxfordshire is affordable, eclectic and special… it is the perfect getaway.

More information and book a room at Artist Residence Oxfordshire here.

Things to do in Jersey

Just a half hour flight away from London, Jersey is a blissfully easy place to escape to when you need a break from relentless city life. Geographically, Jersey is closer to France, and though technically the island is not part of Great Britain it falls within the monarch of the UK’s power. English is the primary language spoken on the island, and the British pound is used as the currency, and yet a French influence is noticeable in other aspects of island life on Jersey. With both English and French heritage myself, I enjoyed exploring this unique place. The coastal views are particularly beautiful and for food lovers there is a thriving food and coffee scene to discover… don’t leave without tasting the famous Jersey Royal potatoes and the deliciously rich and creamy Jersey milk.

Jersey

To Stay

St Brelade’s Bay Hotel – This beachside property provides the perfect weekend accommodation. The hotel has 74 spacious and comfortable bedrooms, that overlook the Atlantic Ocean and hotel gardens. Chef Franz Hacker prepares hearty recipes inspired by local seafood.

Ormer

To Eat

Ormer – This stylish Michelin starred eatery is found in the centre of St Helier. Originally founded by chef Shaun Rankin, the kitchen is now in the safe hands of Head Chef Lee Smith. The dishes feature classic flavour combinations presented in a modern way. Visit at lunchtime when a reasonable £22 set menu is on offer.

El Tico Beach Cantina – After a long walk on St Ouen’s beach (an epic 5 mile stretch of sand) head to El Tico’s for a hearty weekend brunch or lunch. The comprehensive menu has a full range of cuisines, we opted for the classic fish and chips and a decadent warm chocolate brownie (with Jersey vanilla ice-cream) for dessert.

Bohemia Bar and Restaurant – Bohemia has long been thought of as the Island’s top restaurant. This fine dining establishment is the proud recipient of a Michelin star and 5 AA Rosettes. At lunchtime the restaurant is quiet but for a special occasion I recommend visiting for dinner and choosing a tasting menu which showcases the best Channel Island produce.

The Hungry Man – This little hut on the harbour edge in Rozel Bay is an institution and usually has a queue of hungry locals, waiting for their bacon sandwich. Visit the Hungry Man after a long coastal walk for the ultimate reward.

Dandy Coffee

To Drink

Dandy – Founded in 2013 as the first speciality coffee shop in Jersey, the Dandy team have just opened a second, larger branch also in St Helier. The cute cafes are beautifully designed and serve Allpress coffee. The cafes are open Monday – Friday, so make sure you get your fix during the week.

Shuga – Shuga arrived on the Jersey speciality coffee scene in January 2018, promising something new and exciting. The team of experienced baristas are meticulous about presenting you with a cup of perfectly-made coffee, using all the latest gadgets and methods to bring out the subtleties of flavour in the Origin Roastery beans. Coffee connoisseurs should make this their first stop on Jersey.

Locke’s Coffee Cart – Drew and Ella Locke travelled the world tasting coffee, before settling in Jersey with their coffee cart. They use beans from Extract Coffee Roasters in Bristols and Jersey milk from the independent dairy, Classic Herd. Watch this space as a permanent cafe (inspired by Australia’s coffee and brunch scene) is coming to the island in Spring 2018.

Bean around the World – Over the last 21 years, Bean around the World has become a cult favourite with locals. The cafe roast their own beans and offer a range of delectable baked goods (many of which are suitable for vegan and gluten intolerent customers). Though the interiors are now quite dated, the coffee has a delicious sweet and rich flavour.

Jersey

To See & Do

Grosnez Castle – This medieval castle ruin is found on the north-west tip of Jersey. The cliff edge location is spectacular, and on a clear day you can even see the other Channel Islands.

Greenhouse Spa & Fitness – If you’ve come to the island for a relaxing break you’ll enjoy the Greenhouse Spa. Set in the grounds of the impressive Chateau Vermont this indulgent sanctuary offers wonderful treatments with all-natural products made by Elemental Herbology. The centre also has a swimming pool and gym, and runs wellness workshops. If you can’t decide on just one treatment, pick a few from the ‘tapas menu’ of 30 minute sessions.

St Helier Central Market – Jersey’s central market has been supplying locals with a wide range of fresh produce for hundreds of years. The current Victorian Market hall has been open since 1882, go for a wander and spot some of the island’s most well-known ingredients.

La Corbière Lighthouse – La Corbière was the world’s first concrete lighthouse, built on the south-western tip in 1873. When the tide is low you can walk through the striking rock banks to see the historic landmark up close.

Mont Orgueil – Overlooking the picturesque Gorey Village, this 13th century castle is in remarkably good condition. Start your tour by watching the informative video before entering the castle walls and exploring this magical site.

Thoroughly Modern Milly was a guest of Visit Jersey.

More information on things to do on the island here.