I am in Jersey. And it is achingly beautiful. Perhaps because I was brought up within spitting distance of the North Antrim Coastline in Ireland, I feel an affinity with the rugged cliffs, sweeping strands and tumultuous seas. I love it. I have come every year now for the last three and every time I leave, I feel a stronger pull to stay. I like the juxtaposition of the old and the new, fifties social austerity against a city bonus culture, low taxes and multi-millionaire properties. I’ll tell you what sums it up and tickles me pink on every visit; On Jersey there are multiple show rooms, offering Porsches, Lamborghinis and various other super cars, which is lovely. Just fine. So far, so tax haven. But when you drive your throbbing penis extension off the forecourt, you will find yourself on roads upon which driving at forty-one mph is illegal. People here buy Ferraris with their tax free gains to drive around an island at forty mph. Isn’t that brilliant? A perfect microcosm of Jersey life in a shiny red, cock carapace.
The food is the same. It soars to the sublime and plummets to the ridiculous with not very much in between. The cafes are really good, so too the top-end restaurants, awash with confidence, great ingredients, charm and wit. Unfortunately the majority of the pubs and mid-range restaurants are either microwave and deep fry Wetherspoon impersonators or are just plain weird. There is a really bad, crap fusion food epidemic.
In many of the £12-£20 for a main course restaurants, there is a bizarre eccentricity about the food. The menus have between fifty and ninety dishes on offer from up to (and yes I counted) fifteen different countries, which is just exhausting to read. More pertinently, as a chef and a menu writer, I wonder how on earth they keep the plethora of required ingredients fresh. When I see Duck Leg Confit on a menu, I am happy as a pig in poo. When you addend it with the word Teriyaki, I want to pluck your nasal hair with a crocodile clip. And why would you tease me with a Bowl of fresh steaming Jersey mussels.……and then say with a lime and coconut broth. Ooh la la, the view from this restaurant is stunning, look at the harbour, the quaint old fishing boats. Do you know what I fancy? Yeah?! Well its not kanger-fucking-roo with tomato jam and daikon. Its mental. And I say that with love in my heart. Mid range restauranteurs of Jersey: Have the confidence to serve grilled fish, Jersey Royals and a bit of salad. It doesn’t need to be smothered in chilli and coriander butter sauce or RASPBERRIES.
I am going to the Oyster Box tomorrow for lunch. Judging from their menu, it is right up my strasse. Local fish, local veg, with a nice view of the sea. Thats all anyone wants, isn’t it? I shall report back.
Fusion food aside, this is one of my favourite places to spend some time. I want to live here one day, hopefully not too far in the future. I adore island living, the slow pace of life, the heart stopping panoramas around every corner. It is verdant and wonderful and I miss it when I’m gone, and especially the very lovely Penny, Toria and beautiful little Mia. I went to a film festival last night to the gem that is Jersey Opera House and was moved to tears and bowed by laughter by a truly magnificent film about the Afghan Cricket team of all things. And now I must walk along the beach as the sun sets in the milky Autumn sky and I know that this is a place to which I will return again and again, until one day I may be lucky enough to call it home.