During our recent visit to Jersey, we were invited to dine at the prestigious Greenhills Country House Hotel, we were excited for this dining experience as their reputation for outstanding food on the island is second to none.
What we were not prepared for was everything that came with it. Greenhills is the most beautiful setting and the history, character and charm stay with you long after your visit has ended.
Hidden away amongst Jersey’s narrow country lanes, you are more likely to meet a horse or a cyclist than a car, yet it is a mere five-minute drive from the airport and a world away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Just a 10-minute drive and you will find any number of sandy beaches and it must be said that the beaches here are spectacular!
The main wing of the hotel dates to 1674, a history reflected in the character and atmosphere of this stunning country house, they also have award-winning gardens which make the perfect setting for pre-dinner drinks. There is something very special about Greenhills.
We were greeted and looked after by Restaurant Manager, Andrew Guilfoyle. A Lancashire lad, Andrew honed his hospitality skills at some of Jersey’s top restaurants, including the Atlantic Hotel where we were staying, joining the Greenhills team in 2018.
We warmed to Andrew immediately and soon found out that food and drink are not just a job for Andrew, they are his passion. His knowledge of each dish on the menu, the ingredients and influences were so engaging and we found ourselves taking his recommendations for pretty much every dish.
Which brings us to our dining experience at Greenhills, beginning with a glass of champagne on the garden terrace in the early evening sun, it really doesn’t get much better. Once escorted into The Restaurant, a traditional, elegant and spacious room with crisp white tablecloths and napkins, the friendly, smiling staff welcomed us warmly.
As we looked over the menus, there was a written introduction to Head Chef, Lukasz Pietrasz telling us about his culinary influences and how he uses the finest local ingredients from the sea, field and farm. Lukasz is passionate about featuring seasonal Jersey produce in his menus to create his fantastic inspirational dishes.
The proceedings commenced with a stunning amuse bouche to awaken the taste buds. This was promptly followed by our chosen starters of Ham Hock Press, warm pea and mint velouté, crispy hens’ egg and pea shoots (my husbands’ choice) and for me, Beef Tartare, soy cured egg yolk, kimchi mayonnaise, wild mushrooms and wasabi crackers.
The Ham Hock dish was fresh, light and full of summer flavours. The Beef Tartare was something else! It melted in the mouth, was a delicate flavour and perfectly matched with the other ingredients. But that soy cured egg yolk was simply stunning. I keep looking for something similar on every menu – unsuccessfully.
Main courses arrived; Greenhills Lamb Wellington, filo pastry, spinach, duxelles, Parma ham, mint, flageolet beans, sugar snap peas, fondant potato and rosemary jus. (Are you drooling yet?) Plus, our other choice of Half Lobster Thermador, cheddar cheese, wilted spinach and basmati rice. Of course we had buttered Jersey Royals on the side, the sweetest we have tasted.
We are both huge fans of any wellington dish and the Lamb Wellington did not disappoint. In fact, although not my own choice, I did bribe a couple of mouthfuls and this was a faultless plate of food. The sweetness of the lamb in the crunchy filo pastry was delicious.
My lobster was as fresh as any I have ever eaten, it was meaty, succulent, cooked to perfection and I did not share one forkful! This was all mine and I savoured every bit. In fact, we struggled to choose a favourite from the two main courses and would happily choose exactly the same again.
The freshness of the ingredients and the masterful way in which every dish was constructed and presented, resulted in us taking longer than usual to eat as we wanted to really do justice to them.
Following a respectable break, we were ready to order dessert. There was never any doubt that my husband would order his all-time favourite of Vanilla Panna Cotta, which came with fresh berries and homemade Champagne sorbet. I opted for Smoked Pineapple, lime, coconut, rum jelly.
Being a self-appointed connoisseur of Panna Cotta, my husband declared this one to be perfect! But how could it be anything other than perfect, following such amazing starters and main courses? The smoked pineapple was a delicate flavour, just the right amount of smokiness, which the lime and coconut cut through creating a superb flavour combination.
This had been the most wonderful evening, dining from an amazing menu, created by a gifted chef and served by true passionate professionals in a beautiful setting.