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.

Nest Restaurant, Hackney

Put Nest on your list of restaurants to visit in Hackney. This cute eatery opened up just before Christmas on Morning Lane in East London. It is the first restaurant from three lifelong friends, Johnnie, Luke and Toby, who all have a passion for showcasing the best British produce.

Nest

Johnnie is found behind the stove (in the tiny kitchen). Having previously worked at the Harwood Arms and Anglo, he has solid experience behind him and is clearly more than capable of creating and cooking his own menu. Luke and Toby manage front of house, hosting, serving and matching wines for discerning diners.

NestNestNest

The no fuss menu is listed on a blackboard on the restaurant wall; a seasonal display that changes constantly dependant on what produce and ingredients are available. We tried a selection of dishes to share, but I recommend visiting with an appetite and opting for the 7 course set menu, which at £28 is an absolute bargain.

NestNestNest

Highlights from our lunch at Nest included a comforting bowl of Squash, rosemary and goat’s cheese, and the Onion broth with Lincolnshire Poacher Dumplings – a totally unique dish with a deeply flavoured broth filled with tiny cheesy delights. Every plate was beautifully presented, the Trout with potato and daikon is a work of art, light fish dish with a fresh elegance. My guest particularly enjoyed the Mutton steamed pudding with cockles and seaweed, a hearty winter recipe which was infused with subtle tastes of the sea.

Nest

We finished our meal with Nest’s take on a bread and butter pudding… a magical mix of sourdough ice-cream, textured crumb and sweet sugary caramel sauce. A lovely palate cleanser and a clever interpretation of a classic British pudding.

Nest is not particularly easy to get to, but when you do reach the restaurant you’ll be rewarded with special food, an inventive wine list, and genuinely warm and friendly service.

More information and book a table at Nest here.

The Coal Shed, Tower Bridge

The Coal Shed in Tower Bridge is not entirely easy to find, hidden away in the interior part of the new development on the edge of the River Thames. This Brighton export opened late last year, and has already received great reviews, even earning a place on a few ‘2017 best openings’ lists.

The Coal Shed

The restaurant is spacious yet cosy, with plenty of warm lighting, and comfortable seating. The staff are genuinely enthusiastic about the menu, but also gave us space to enjoy our meal. The Coal Shed menu specialises in locally sourced grilled meats and fish, sharing platters and Sunday roasts. There are also a few more delicate starters on offer, but we skipped straight to mains.

The Coal ShedThe Coal Shed

The daily special was Dover Sole, served whole with a herby marinade. The pristine white flesh was fresh and light, and seasoned perfectly. I tried the fillet steak, a chunky piece of high quality beef, wonderfully charred on the exterior, with a soft and velvety meat inside. It is served with a charred onion and your choice of sauce. I ordered green peppercorn and chimichurri, both expertly made, the green peppercorn was particularly good, a light but luxurious sauce with a touch of heat.

There are plenty of delectable sides to choose from… don’t miss the chips fried in beef dripping, spinkled in smoked salt, they are divine. We also enjoyed the seasonal vegetables, a bowl of buttery red kale.

The Coal Shed

Desserts are fun and geared towards a diner with a serious sweet tooth… luckily I was dining with my little sister who immediately picked out the Chocolate Bar with white chocolate, pretzel and malted milk. I barely got a mouthful as she deftly polished off the plate of food, quickly and efficiently. It was a lovely mix of sugary flavours and subtle, darker malty tastes. Pastry Chef Laura Peterson has a great reputation, and I can see why, this pudding was perfectly balanced. If you just fancy a little treat to accompany your coffee you can choose from the smaller “sweets” section, I ordered a couple of chocolate coals, which make your tongue turn black but are worth it for the rich truffle goodness.

The Coal Shed aren’t offering anything ground-breaking… instead they take great British produce and ingredients and glorify them even further. If you find yourself in Tower Bridge, this is a reliable and delicious option.

More information and book a table at The Coal Shed here.