Food review and three-course meal-for-two competition: The Jetty, Mudeford Quay
WITH its spectacular views over Mudeford Quay, beautiful decor, seamless service and exceptional food, The Jetty has much to shout about.
The multi-award-winning seafood restaurant was packed out and buzzy when we arrived on a cold Saturday evening – testament to its well-earned reputation as the finest eatery in Christchurch.
Having been shown to our table and offered a Kir Royale, which we gratefully accepted, I sat back and soaked up the bustling atmosphere.
The venue has a modern, striking decor, and I instantly fell in love with the ambience of the place: cool, lively, but so relaxed and intimate.
Browsing the various and very appealing menus, I opted for crab and saffron risotto for a starter, served with tempura soft-shell crab, creme fraiche and chive.
Undoubtedly the star of the show, it was the best risotto I’ve tasted.
As fans of this Italian classic will know, the consistency can make or break this dish, but this one – with its lava-like ooziness – was just right.
The crab gave the appetiser a beautifully intense flavour, with the crisp tempura batter contrasting with the creamy rice.
My husband opted for the beef tataki with Asian-style salad, cashew nuts and ponzu sauce.
A bright, colourful and beautifully crafted Japanese dish, this was an epic blend of contrasting, punchy flavours which delivered a refreshing, light quality.
The rare seared beef was soft and tender, pairing well with the crunchy salad and zingy citrus sauce.
With the mains soon to be on their way, I reflected on why, apart from the stand-out food, The Jetty is so popular. What struck me was how relaxed and happy the staff appeared; the chefs, who I could see clearly through the glass, were busy but calm, laughing together; the waiting team were warm, self-assured and unobtrusive, yet completely professional
The place seemed to work in harmony, and I felt that added hugely to its charm and to my feeling of ease.
Next to arrive was lemon sole fillet stuffed with salmon mousse, with herb crushed potatoes, prawns and caviar lobster sauce.
The strong, concentrated flavour of the salmon and caviar did well not to overwhelm the sweet, delicate taste of the fish. It was delicious, with the smooth, luxurious texture of the mousse offsetting the firmness of the fish.
My husband chose the veal fillet and wild mushroom tagliatelle in a rosemary cream sauce.
Add melt-in-the-mouth, flavourful veal to a comforting pasta dish and you hit another level of heartiness.
It looked and tasted indulgent, with the rich sauce packing a real flavour punch and satisfying the taste buds. The dish was elevated, I was told, by the bottle of chianti we were working our way through.
The dessert menu succeeded in luring us in, and after lengthy discussions we made our choices.
I opted for the pink grapefruit cheesecake with candied grapefruit, pink gin jelly and sorbet.
Tired of run-of-the-mill cheesecakes, I was delighted to see this on the menu. The intense citrus flavour brought a delightful balance between sweet and sour, comforting and invigorating, and left a delicious and refreshing aftertaste.
Having selected the banana soufflé with kraken caramel sauce and banana coupe, my husband eagerly tucked into his warming dessert – but not before our lovely waitress made a little hole in the centre of the soufflé with a satisfying crack and poured in the boozy sauce.
Safe to say he loved it, from the fluffiness of the souffle – which would have been decadent enough on its own – to the perfect marriage of rum and rich caramel.
Having enjoyed a dining experience that was, for me, a cut above, we left on a high feeling thoroughly satisfied. I would go back in a heartbeat.
- To be in with a chance of winning a three-course lunch for two with a live cooking demonstration hosted by Chef Patron Alex Aitken at The Jetty, pick up your latest A&T from the newsstand and turn to page 23