Editor's note: chef Mark Jordan will leave in October 2017.
Ocean is the restaurant set within the Atlantic Hotel on the coast of Jersey. Its head chef is Mark Jordan, who moved here in 2004 from The Gilpin Lodge in the Lake District. Prior to that he was head chef of the Pink Geranium restaurant in Cambridge, and prior to that he cooked with Jean Christophe Novelli in Hampshire at Gordleton Mill. Atlantic has held a Michelin star since 2007. The ground floor dining room is carpeted, so producing low noise levels, with a view over the garden. The tables were reasonably well spaced, with white linen tablecloths and napkins.
The extensive wine list had over 500 different choices. Examples were Irvine Spring Hill Merlot 2008 at £35 for a wine that you can find in the high street for £12, Mount Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2011 at £45 for a wine that retails at £18 and the lovely 1998 Rioja Ata 904 at £99 for a wine that will set you back £36 in a shop. Three courses were priced at £65, and there was a full set of vegetarian selections in addition to the main menu. Bread was made from scratch, a choice of white, brown or a roll made with sun-dried tomatoes and Parma ham. The texture was good, and it is nice to see a kitchen making the effort to produce its own bread (15/20).
A nibble of wild mushroom and truffle risotto bombe was garnished with a Parmesan crisp, Parmesan foam and wilted spinach. A luxurious take on arancini, this dish was pleasant, though the outside of the ball of risotto could have been crisper, whilst the Parmesan crisp was, er, not (14/20).
A trio of langoustine tails were served on a rock, with Ebene caviar (a French farmed caviar) and oyster mayonnaise, along with wilted spinach and seaweed and anchovy sand. This presentation, reminiscent of a dish at Noma, had the drawback that the accompanying elements tended to fall off the rock, not making for an easy dish to eat. The langoustines were cooked nicely, the mayonnaise was fine, the caviar quite subtle to the point that I am not sure that it added much to the dish (14/20). Better was sashimi of yellowfin tuna with wasabi mayonnaise, pickled mouli (radish), crab and soy gel. The wasabi was nicely restrained, the radish good, and the crab fresh. This was a refreshing and balanced dish (16/20).
Duck was served with compressed apple, celeriac purée and burnt apple jus. The duck was cooked nicely pink, the apple providing some balancing acidity, the celeriac a pleasing earthy flavour (15/20). Jersey sole was pan-roasted and served with crab and crushed Jersey Royal potatoes, fennel and sauce Grenoble (made in this case with fish veloute, gherkins, capers, lemon and parsley). The fish was presented in an unusual way, several ends of the sole trimmed and laid on top of one another, given the appearance of a cube of fish. The sole was nicely cooked and the sauce pleasant, though the unique characteristic of the Jersey Royals was lost a little through being crushed (15/20).
Blackcurrant jelly was served with yoghurt sorbet and a blackcurrant and lime compote with a stick of blackcurrant meringue. This worked very well, the fruit having excellent flavour, the meringue delicate, and the yoghurt sorbet working well with the fruit jelly (16/20).
Carrot cake ice cream was served on a biscuit crumb, with a tubular swirl of sweetened cream cheese and droplets of carrot puree and mandarin, with a garnish of pickled carrots and baby leaves. The carrot cake ice cream tasted better than its slightly grey colour suggested. The addition of pickled carrots and coriander were jarring, with mandarin pearls not an obvious combination but one that worked all right. However overall this dessert did not feel to me like a very coherent dish (14/20).
A rectangular wedge of Black Forest gateau had layers of sponge and chocolate ganduja covered with a rich chocolate glaze, topped with cherries stuffed with kirsch, with an excellent cherry sorbet, and a dusting of cocoa powder. This was a very successful dessert, the cake beautifully moist, the flavours in lovely balance - they would have been proud of this in the Black Forest (17/20). Coffee was served with petit fours: a very good black currant jelly, raspberry and chocolate macaroon, five spice Madeleine, cognac truffle and salted caramel with peanut.
Service was generally good, the maitre d' friendly and capable, though on the next table when the cheese board was presented the waiter saying "I don't really know what the cheeses are" did not inspire confidence and would never happen in France. Overall this was a very enjoyable meal, the ingredients of good quality, kitchen technique fine and with the benefits of a specialist pastry chef in the kitchen showing in the bread and the excellent gateau.