An interview with Chef Steve Walker at Sirocco
The new look Sirocco restaurant at The Royal Yacht Hotel
Sirocco unveiled its new look last month - with vivid magenta and violet adding a colourful accent to the sea view dining room. There's even an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs putting the finishing touches to your dishes. Has it changed things? Definitely, says Steve Walker, Sirocco's Head Chef.
'The changes haven't just been to the décor. Thanks to the new investment, we have brand new equipment that takes us into a whole new area when it comes to food preparation, technique and execution. It's given me so much more leeway to concentrate on the flavours, and diners are really going to notice the difference. As a chef, you dream about opportunities like this. When you look at the way food is developing and evolving, it's gone full circle. Classics are back, but they're revamped so they are contemporary but still recognisable. We're concentrating on prioritising the ingredients and making each dish a thing of beauty.'
Ballotine of foie gras with pear panna cotta, gingerbread, and smoked duck
Give us a taster?
'One of my favourite new dishes is the brand new starter with gingerbread, foie gras ballotine and smoked duck with textures of pear. Rich and melting all at the same time, it's one of those dishes that 'eats' really well. We've also taken advantage of our brand new kitchen to create a new canon of lamb dish which is sous-vide cooked to achieve maximum taste and tenderness. It's served with truffle honey, baby vegetables and goat's milk and comes with slow-roast lamb shoulder that's shredded and deep-fried in breadcrumbs. The taste and textures are outstanding!'
'It is! The changes we've made to our kitchen, installing the latest professional equipment, has enabled us to ensure the menu changes regularly, but keeps at a manageable price point - with a four course table d'hôte for £27.50. Even our a la carte menu is priced at three courses for £45 and that includes the best Jersey turbot, lobsters and our signature steak Diane, flambéed at your table!'
Dinner for two at the new Sirocco
What's special about cooking in Jersey?
'Being able to serve locally-sourced produce. Just-landed fish and lobsters from the Fresh Fish Company, shitake mushrooms from Fungi Delecti, chocolate and fudge from Sue's Chocolate Bar, line-caught Jersey bass, our Jersey beef oxtail - they're all great products, and it's also rewarding to have such good relationships with the local farmers, fishermen and producers.'
Sirocco Head Chef Steve Walker with the team in the restaurant's new open kitchen
What's your favourite thing about the new
'The open kitchen. As a chef, it's so important to see the reactions of our diners and build that rapport. Along with the open kitchen which the diners to watch the chefs at work, Sirocco's new decor with its vibrant colours has had an impact on the atmosphere, people seem more relaxed. It's added a different dimension to our restaurant, and created a fun, contemporary experience.'