If you have spent any time in Jersey, you will almost certainly have spent some time basking in the wildness of St Ouen’s Bay. If you have had that pleasure, then you may well have spied or already enjoyed the beachside eatery, Big Vern’s; for many it’s considered a local institution.
Perched on top of the bay, you can make the most of the view across the sea over to La Rocque Tower and Corbiere lighthouse by snagging one of the numerous al fresco tables. Beware the wind however, which can have a nasty bite, so pick your table carefully. You may want to take advantage of the outdoor tables closest to the restaurant which have the advantage of a glass wind brea; less of the wind but with most of the view. If the weather isn’t going your way, the light, bright inside dining space will do everything it can to remind you that you’re a stone’s throw from the beach and the waves that made Jersey a surfing hotspot.
The menu here is classic beach cafe with a number of additional daily specials, which tend to focus on fresh fish. My choice of fish cakes provided a very generous portion for the price and whilst the dish looked great the fish cakes themselves lacked in flavour. To be honest this is not unusual, but given the care that had been put into making them an increase in the amount of fish and some stronger seasoning would have had a drastic effect on the taste. Unfortunately it seemed that a large proportion of the cake was potato and while this is needed as a binder it drowned out the taste of the fish that had been used. The upside though was that the accompanying salad included a lovely cooked prawns and lots of nuggets of fresh crab, which was totally delicious and really lifted the dish, albeit that a rogue piece of crab shell made it onto my plate.
While the food didn’t blow us away, Big Vern’s is a good shout for a solid, filling beachside plateful and the location is hard to beat. Personally I would stick to the classics; sandwiches, burgers and breakfasts or, if it is a little chilly, indulge in one of their famous hot chocolates which is sure to warm even the coldest of extremities!