Understated class and sophistication is the order of the day at Ormer by Shaun Rankin. This Michelin Starred restaurant sits right in the centre of St Helier, Jersey and is one of the island’s best fine dining experiences. You may recognise the name Shaun Rankin from BBC Two’s Great British Menu and Saturday Kitchen, but he has earned himself a sterling reputation in the culinary world for his high-end cuisine. The menus have been created by Rankin himself and are changed seasonally to reflect the finest produce. Since 2013 the restaurant has earned its name for its fine dining offerings.
From our first steps through the door at Ormer we were greeted by a warm and inviting atmosphere, plus even warmer and courteous staff. Décor throughout is refined, yet with an air of comfort and familiarity. Dark woods combine with mustard coloured leather and highlights of blue make for an usual colour scheme, but one which really works and gives a sense of quality.
The ground floor houses a 50 cover restaurant, bars and 20 cover terrace for al fresco dining. The second floor delivers a stunning private dining room and bar suitable for special occasions and corporate hire. A real secret gem is the overgrown roof garden & cigar terrace, which can seat up to 25 comfortably.
Ormer may seem an usual name to someone not from Jersey; however, it is a subtle reminder of the island’s wealth of world class seafood. The ormer, from the French ‘oreille de mer’ (ear of the sea), is a rare marine snail and the Channel Islands mark the northern limit of its habitat. With that in mind, we begun our meal by sampling the Scallops (£15), with chicken wings, grilled leaks and summer truffle. This dish offered distinctive and honest flavours, but was elegant and refined on the plate. This dish was the most immaculate scallop dish we tried on the island and sang from the plate.
Taking my selection from the air, rather than the sea, I sampled the pigeon (£16), with barbecued celeriac, apple and vanilla puree and celeriac consommé. The barbecued celeriac perfectly married the subtle gamey flavour of the pigeon. A real delight.
Moving onto the mains, we could only try one thing, the king of fish – Turbot (£29). Ormer’s Turbot is perfectly cooked and comes with a pine nut crust, cauliflower salad, samphire and sea purslane. The samphire gives the saltiness you would expect and the pine nut crust gives a different dimension to the dish through its texture. Light, packed full of simple flavours and yet supported by terrific technique, this dish was a triumphant success. Furthermore, this main was expertly matched to a vioginer-chardonnay ‘Bien Nacideo’ 2013, from the USA. At £12 a glass, this wine offered wonderful value for its quality.
The other main sampled, Venison (£32), showed to us that Ormer could not just do great seafood, but the restaurant can also master products from the land. The venison was accompanied by a beetroot and chocolate puree, which perfectly cut through the richness of the meat and complimented its sweetness. Macerated blackberries and chestnut granola once again added new dimensions through texture to elevate the dish further. Once again this was matched with aplomb to Malbec Saurus (Familia Schroeder), from Patagonia 2013.
Deserts are always a favourite for us, so we went for the warming Toffee Cake, with an apple salad, Granny Smith ice cream and walnut toffee. For me this dish was made by the flavour of the granny smith ice cream, which cut through the toffee and cleansed the palate at the same time. To enhance the sweetness we also enjoyed a glass of Vidal Icewine from Canada. Another wonderful match.
Ormer is a wonderful experience for any foodie and the menu shows a real understanding of produce, technique and flavours. One certainly not to miss if you visit Jersey.
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