“Allo ‘allo,’ I say — Jersey being an island as francophone as it is friendly — as we swing into the car park of Mark Jordan at the Beach. ‘What ‘ave we ‘ere?’ A beach bistro so neat, so perfectly conceived, with its rattan furniture and jaw-dropping view of the bay, that we could be in Saint-Raphael or Portofino — only the fish and shellfish, I think, are going to be much better. And I’m right. There’s devilled whitebait with mustard mayo, their plaintive little faces looking longingly out of a paper cone; lobster and prawn cocktail with a paprika-spiked Marie Rose sauce; grilled plaice with capers and prawn and cockle butter, and fish pie Mornay with everything but the kitchen sink.
But hang on — Mark Jordan’s main gig isn’t here at all, it’s at the Atlantic Hotel in St Brelade, the best hotel address in Jersey, where he waves the whisk in the kitchen of the hotel’s Michelin-starred Ocean Restaurant, and the dining room is the antithesis of country-house dreary.
Ninety miles from the English mainland but only nine from France, Jersey is more ooh-la-Ia than oom-pah-pah, and it has great surfing too. Forget Rock — Jersey rocks.
At La Route de la Haule, St Peter (01534 780180) and Le Mont de la Pulente, St Brelade, Jersey (01534744101).