Upon arrival at Ormer on a wet November evening, H&L decided to spend some time at the bar, after being greeted by the charming head waiter and prior to being seated in the main restaurant. There is no better way to start one’s dinner when you can see the turbulent evening weather outside the restaurants large windows. It was excellent to meet the waiter and barman, who talked us through the cocktails menu and to watch him prepare our drinks, an Old Fashioned alongside a raspberry and mint daiquiri. The rich colours and flavours of the drinks alongside the interior décor gave us a cosy feeling and we knew we were in for a very special dining in Jersey experience.
We were ushered towards the main restaurant, a visually stunning space, that can seat 50 covers. Intense shades of blue are set alongside umber yellow seating. The soft ambience is reminiscent of a New York bistro from the golden age. It makes you feel as though you are a real life character in the hit TV show Mad Men; any minute now Christina Hendricks character Joan Holloway could sashay past the bar. Glamour at its absolute finest. The restaurant also offers diners a 20 covers roof terrace and a private dining room for up to 14 guests for those special events. Ormer even has its own humidor for those with a particular penchant for a cigar after dinner on the terrace.
Shaun Rankin, a regular on TV shows such as Saturday morning kitchen, is a world-renowned Michelin starred chef and received his first Michelin star in 2005 for his work at the restaurant Bohemia. The Good Food Guide rank him as a chef ‘at the top of his game’. After living on the island for over 18 years he has come to know the very best of what the local produce has to offer and this knowledge is evident in his menu at Ormer. The pairings for dishes and drinks alike is second to none. Ormer received Michelin starred rating in 2013, only four months after its opening. Since 2013 Shaun has done an excellent job at marketing his food where he has an extensive recipe list as well as a book for sale.
Now, down to the dining in Jersey experience. For our starters we chose pigeon with barbecued celeriac, burnt apple and vanilla pureé, blackberries and a celeriac consommé. The pigeon was deliciously tender and flavoursome, with the blackberries providing the sweetness to offset those full flavours. Our accompanying starter was a two-way pickled beetroot, with beetroot gel, a goat’s cheese curd, beetroot sorbet, dressed pine nuts and olive oil with balsamic vinegar. This dish was a work of art of the plate. Beetroot whilst having amazing flavour also possesses incredible colour that really intensifies the plate. When a dish looks this good, the flavours are elevated. The pine nuts give a great crunch against the soft textures of the beetroot and goat’s cheese. Utterly divine!
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Mains followed and it was difficult to imagine that our starters could be beaten on flavour, texture and presentation. However, our imaginations were obviously not up to scratch, because they sure were. A delicious excellently cooked John Dorey served with fennel pureé, marinaded grapes, charred fennel and star anise dust was the star of the show. Fennel is a very strong flavour and can easily overpower a dish if used in abundance. However this dish showed you how to use it perfectly and in fact the charred fennel provided a delicious smoky and almost caramlised taste against the aniseed flavours. John Dorey, a fish found locally in these parts of the world was beautiful on the palette, its flesh delicate and sweet just as it should be. Cooked to perfection.
We also tried the vegetarian main which was a rich gnocchi served with king oyster mushrooms, jersey artichokes, fragrant herbs, braised onions and a smoked potato sauce. Beautifully presented on the plate, the gnocchi’s flavour was although outstanding in itself, bought to life by the accompanying fungi and smoky flavours of the potato sauce.
Casting our eyes down the desert menu we were tempted by all to see. They all sounded superb; an excellent way to finish the meal. After speaking with our waiter he persuaded us to go for the Black Forest Gateau with a cherry soufflé whilst our companion enjoyed a Chocolate Ganache. The latter was served on a raising crunch base alongside malt ice cream, whisky jelly and pumpkin deserts. It brought the meal from the Old Fashioned at the start full circle and was absolutely delicious. The richness of the ganache packed a punch for sure, just as it should, yet we couldn’t stop eating as every mouthful was heaven, until it was all gone. The Black Forest Gateau also delighted in ways that only berries and chocolate can. Accompanied by an absolutely scrumptious and light cherry soufflé that melts in the mouth. The evening was finished off with a delicious rich espresso.
Upon leaving, this time we were ready to face the November weather. We were feeling on top of the world after a glamorous evening enjoying the finest food and drinks, nothing could stand in the way of that. A visit to Jersey is not worthwhile without a visit to Ormer. Shaun Rankin and his restaurant encapsulates all that Jersey food has to offer and it must be commended.
Ormer by Shaun Rankin, Jersey
St Helier, Jersey
+44 1534 725100