Pier 17

Albert Pier, St Peter Port, Guernsey, GY1 1AD, Channel Islands

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Pier 17 is, as its name suggests, located right by the seaside in Saint Peter Port, at the end of one of the piers that juts out over the channel waters. It was opened in 2009 by Mr Seamus Duggan, who has employed a Lancastrian, Chris Reid, as his head chef. The room was light and bright, even on this soggy, foggy day. Music in restaurants is rarely a good idea, but playing, of all things, obscure folk music as they did here is surely something that few customers welcome?

There was a three course lunch for £24.95 as well as a lengthier a la carte selection. The wine list ranged in price from £19.95 to £89,95 but was mostly under £40. It featured labels such as Lealtanza White Rioja 2014 at £29.95 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for just £6, Louis Latour Pouilly Fuisse 2015 at £38.95 compared to its retail price of £23, and Algodon Gran Reserva 2008 at £59.95 for a wine that will set you back £25 in the shops. The list had tasting notes but was sloppily put together in places. “Puligny Montrachet Eneignieres 2013” (sic) at £74.95 is misspelt (it presumably is supposed to be “Les Ensignieres”, an area just to the east of Bienvenues Batard Montrachet within the Puligny Montrachet region) and is an ambiguous label that lacks the name of the grower, a pretty important omission. The Wine Searcher database currently lists seventeen growers for that vintage which fit this description, ranging in retail price from £41 for the Domaine Hubert up to £586 for a Coche-Dury, or even £910 for the Leroy version. I think we can safely assume the particular wine here is at the lower end of that particular spectrum. This point may seem picky but such lazy labelling suggests a lack of care that extends elsewhere, reinforced by the consistently incorrect use of “it’s” when they mean “its” elsewhere on the list. 

We started with roulade of crab wrapped in smoked salmon, served with simple mixed leaf salad with basil dressing. The crab was fine in itself but shoddily prepared, with no less than five pieces of shell lurking. As Oscar Wilde might have said, to miss one piece of crab shell is a misfortune, but to miss five pieces looks like carelessness (12/20 if I ignore the inaccurate shelling). Smoked mackerel croquettes with tomato and chill salsa also came with a mixed leaf salad. The croquettes were fine, the distinct mackerel flavour coming through well, and the chunky salsa having a spicy bite of chill (13/20).

Seared fillet of sea bass (as described on the menu) looked suspiciously like cheaper sea bream but tasted fresh and was accurately cooked. It was served on a bed of crushed potatoes that were more like mash, under-seasoned, and the spinach with it was on the soggy side (12/20 due to the good fish, whatever it really was). A side dish of red cabbage was nicely prepared, though chips were rather wan and needed another minute in the fryer. Tempura of vegetables would not cut the mustard in Tokyo but was harmless enough, featuring onion, asparagus, tomato and peppers, the vegetables a touch under-cooked and the batter a bit clunky. These were served with egg noodles on the side with mild sweet chilli sauce (12/20 if I am feeling kind),

Up until now the meal had been unadventurous but decent, but took a dive when desserts arrived. Rum and raisin cheesecake had grim, very firm texture and slightly grey pallor, served with presumably bought in “vanilla” ice cream that was not even distantly acquainted with a vanilla pod. There was also a little cylindrical biscuit with chocolate inside that was so grotesquely soggy in texture that it could actually be folded like a lump of plasticine rather than breaking in half. This dessert was so bad that it moved from mere incompetence straight into laughable territory without pausing (6/20). I had a bite of everything and left the rest, the plate being removed without comment by our waitress, who perhaps had seen it all before. Sticky toffee pudding was a bit better, the sponge having decent texture though lacking in toffee, with a drizzle of butterscotch sauce, but it had the same dismal ice cream that was vanilla in name only. At least the little pile of strawberry pieces to the side actually tasted of fruit (9/20). Lavazza coffee was a suitably bitter end to a meal that had started quite well. The coffee came with a tiny brownie with salted caramel that had little taste of anything at all.

Service from our Northern Irish waitress was fine apart from her ignoring the pile of crab shell and my barely touched dessert. The bill came to £75 a head with tip. If you ordered a la carte and shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical cost per head with coffee might come to around £65. This was an odd meal, as the savoury courses were fine even if they were not going to set the world alight, but the desserts were dire.

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