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Jar

12 Loch Promenade, Douglas, Isle of Man, Douglas, IM2 4BD, Man, Isle of

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The Jar restaurant (there is a Jar Bar in the basement) is on the ground floor of an attractively sited restaurant overlooking the sea. The dining room has fairly conventional décor, with yellow walls and well-spaced tables with good quality linen tablecloths. The kitchen, headed by Steve Dedman, produces a menu of simple but appealing British dishes. The lunch menu offered three courses for £25 (with some supplements), while in the evening starters were £7.50 to £12.50 and main courses ranged from £18 to £28.50.

The wine list had plenty of choice around the £30 a bottle level, with wines such as Caliterra Tributo Sauvignon Blanc 2009 at £29.95 for a wine that retails at about £9, Marques de Murrietta Reserva 2004 at £39.95 for a wine that you can pick up for around £14 retail, up to Cristal 2002 at £230 for a champagne that will cost you around £145 in the shops. We drank the excellent Chateau Musar 1999 at £45 for a wine that costs about £22 retail. The thin slices of white bread tasted far from fresh to me, and I had assumed, given its lack of taste, was bought in. Apparently it is made from scratch, which I find remarkable given the standard delivered; it takes a certain kind of skill to make fresh bread taste like this (6/20).

My starter featured a trio of scallops that were fairly well cooked – a fraction long to my taste, but by no means over-cooked. These were served with sweet potato puree, and crispy pork won ton with curry froth. The won tons were very salty, even for me, and the curry taste was very subdued. I was unsure conceptually about matching sweet potato puree with scallops, which have inheremt sweetness – to me something with acidity would be a more natural pairing (still just about 12/20 given the decent scallops).

My main course was sea bass with courgettes and a little curry and parsley oil. The latter barely registered in taste, and meant that the dish rested on the bass, which unfortunately was significantly over-cooked, the flesh dried out. The courgette slices did not have much taste, which given they are a summer vegetable was perhaps not surprising. Hence for me this dish was not well designed, and also poorly executed (10/20).

Plum crumble was a little better. Plums are really at their best around September, but they had reasonable taste, though the crumble itself had texture that was too fine, so the thin layer of crumble disappeared into the dish rather than being a proper foil for the fruit. Still, this was a pleasant enough dessert (12/20).

Service was surprisingly sloppy. Three separate people asked us whether we wanted water, wine topping up was erratic, and the waitress delivered one course with a “who ordered the venison?”, which is not really on for a restaurant that is clearly aspiring to be up-market. The bill was over £75 a head for lunch was service was added; we had a quite good wine and a glass of dessert wine each, but for £25 in London you can eat multi-course meals at Michelin starred restaurants, so this was hardly a bargain. Overall I found this to be a rather disappointing experience.

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