We dined at one of the world’s top Michelin restaurants and the bill came to £501 (and 5p)

“Where were the chips?” was the reaction of a colleague when told about my dining experience at one of the world’s top restaurants. Another scoffed: “That would never fill me up,” when looking at pictures of the bite-sized works of art that comprised the dishes on the spectacular tasting menu at Jersey’s Bohemia restaurant.

This venue, part of the smart Club Hotel and Spa situated in the island’s capital St Helier, has held a Michelin star for 17 years, so it must be doing something right – even without the chips. But I have never been a fan of so-called fancy food, so I was a little skeptical.

I was more concerned about using the correct cutlery for the right courses and not making a complete fool of myself among the fine dining experts and chattering classes that filled this smart venue. And there are not too many establishments in my native Black Country that possess a Michelin star.

So, when hotel manager Tim Phillips and Visit Jersey offered the chance to sample the sensory delights of the tasting menu, colleague Andy Richardson and I tucked in. Since establishing itself as one of Europe’s finest eateries, Bohemia has strived to create a unique dining experience.

Head chef Callum Graham, a Masterchef: Professionals finalist, spent lockdown creating the tasting menu using the best local produce and finest complimentary ingredients. Backed up by expert knowledge and commentary from waiting staff with wines paired perfectly by sommelier Jude, it was a three-hour extravaganza of taste, texture and flavor to excite the senses. With style in abundance amid chic surroundings and a vibrant energy, the atmosphere was relaxed but sophisticated.

Be warned this sort of dining comes at a price – the final bill including drinks topped an eye-watering £500 – and my stunned pal almost fell backwards when spotting the final total. In fact, the evening’s fayre cost more than an all-inclusive holiday to Spain.

But I now understand why fine dining is special – and this sensational selection really was something else. We entered the restaurant with a great deal of trepidation and neither of us knew what to expect.



The sensational tasting menu at Bohemia in Jersey
The sensational tasting menu at Bohemia in Jersey

A brief Google search gave us a limited preview of what was to come – but many of the French labels left us none the wiser. We were seated after a relay of waiting staff took us to our table at the exact time of booking – precision is essential for this sort of meal – and the experience began.

The starched, perfectly-folded table cloth and napkins were as crisp as a shirt collar and the waiter even used a little iron to make sure there were no creases as we sat down. We were offered a pre-dinner drink or cocktail and plumped for a glass of house rose Champagne – it would be rude not to – which seemed to be what most other diners were quaffing.



The eye-watering total came to more than £500
The eye-watering total came to more than £500

It was the perfect start and the brief outline of what was to follow immediately eased any pre-meal nerves. But some doubts remained that this would prove to satisfy the appetites of two growing lads! But what followed more than satisfied any pangs of hunger.

Dishes were petite but deceptively filling and tailored to provide maximum nourishment. A procession of designer dishes completed the nine-course menu – and each one proved how food can fool the senses when the chef has the skill of a magician.

Nothing ceased to amaze. From the postage stamp size starter, freshly-baked bread frequently replenished and even a table-top ice cream cart.

The first dish was a combination of aged Jersey Angus Sirloin of Beef Tartare, Madeira & Sherry Vinegar-Walnut on a biscuit-like shell, accompanied by Brillat Savarin Choux, Grape & Vers Jus – in other words a sort of cheese-filled profiterole.



Even the bread was a work of art
Even the bread was a work of art

Savory flavors danced throughout the mouth with the silky cheese filling and hint of black truffle providing a savory comfort blanket of taste. What followed next was the nearest to chips – well it did contain some potato.

Potato Mille Feuille served with a Comte cheese and sorrel sauce was the most memorable spud I have ever tasted. Slices of buttery potato bathed in the luxurious cheese and herb dressing was something I will never forget. Other courses came perfectly timed to get the main benefit from the accompanying wines, including Jersey white crab combined with Granny Smith apple and almond textures, which was divine.

Fellow diners seemed more accustomed to this procession of culinary perfection and it is quite easy to get used to the huge leap in quality from a normal Friday night meal out (normally a prawn vindaloo relieved by lashings of lager). By this time I was beginning to wish I had not been to a nearby pub for a few pre-dinner pints of local Liberation ale.

But the food kept coming – Foie Gras Parfait (I disagree with the way this is produced but it tasted amazing), BBQ saddle of lamb, a delicate cheese board with port, followed by the ice cream palate cleaner and a spectacular Mojito dome to refresh the taste buds before coffee and home-made chocolates.

The number of dishes on offer – and the cost – may be considered obscene by some. Especially when many rely on food banks for their very existence. But fine dining is a luxury, and it makes no sense to pretend otherwise.

However, it should be sampled to prove how food can be taken to another level. And we didn’t even have to do the washing up to cover the cost of this memorable dining delight.

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