Tucked away just off of Front Street in Chancery Lane is a hidden treasure known as Bistro J, whose intimate setting always makes for a cozy dining experience. A part of the Yellowfin Group of Restaurants, they are the casual dining arm to Port O Call, Pearl, Cafe Ten, and Ruby Murrys. What’s intriguing about Bistro J is that they only serve from a daily blackboard menu with delicious, innovative, scrumptious creations that generate a fun conversation about food.
We were pretty excited to try them as the $29 option for Bermuda Restaurant Weeks, so we called a couple of hours before we went, to find out what they were dishing up. With all of it sounding like surefire winners, we arrived still undecided – the gracious waiter was forced to return more than once as we plotted out final our decisions.
After much back and forth, here's what made it to our table:
Spiced Sweet Potato Soup – This creation was smooth with a full bodied creamy texture, making it that kind of soup that warms your insides a cool day. It had a spicy kick that didn't settle in right away but crept up after a moment or two; the overall verdict, a mixture of texture and flavours that absolutely hit the spot.
BBQ Chicken Wings with a Sweet Chili Sauce – It's a good and not so good thing to say that the best part about these wings was the sauce!! The wings themselves were closer to the side of overdone and thus a bit dry. But that sauce definitely compensated, offering up a punch of sweet, tangy and spicy flavours along with that 'excuse-me-may-I-have-a-few-more-napkins-please' sticky texture.
Mini Fish Sandwiches – Flounder seasoned with excellence was accompanied by lettuce, tomato, pickled onions and tartar sauce. These sliders were piled generously with fish and initially had us wondering about making it to dessert. The standout ...? The bread. The soft, just buttery enough, just sweet enough bread. And as we all know, a fish sandwich is nothing with out a suitable bread.
Grilled Blackened Wahoo over Applewood Smoked Bacon Grits - Ordering Wahoo can be a risk because it can be dried out very quickly... but this was NOT the case here. A seasoned, seared crust enveloped the moist and flaky fish while the spice of the blackened seasoning was mellowed out by the cheesy grits. (Despite being called 'grits' they were actually quite smooth and creamy) And while they may not have had a real 'gritty' texture, what they did have was LOTS of flavour. Overall a very well balanced dish that if it ever makes an appearance on the Bistro J chalkboard you'd be advised to give this a try.
Asparagus, Pea & Lemon Risotto - Bistro J was slightly off their game here and as lovers of risotto, this was a bit of a disappointment. When reading the mixture of ingredients, the palette prepares for a combination of mild green vegetable and citrus flavours. Unfortunately the result here was beyond mild...bland would be more accurate. The saving grace was the addition of fresh cracked pepper, a drizzle of the fruity olive oil and a spoonful of grated parmesan cheese.
Pan Seared Chicken Breast with Watercress, Cashews, and Tomatoes - A light and flavorful dish that left you feeling very satisfied (who says you can't eat healthy during Restaurant Weeks?). The watercress brought a piquant flavor while just the right amount honey dijon dressing added a hint of sweetness. A salad that's not overdressed is always appreciated!!
Oven Baked Vanilla Cheesecake - Having experienced the a-ma-zing vanilla cheese cake at their sister restaurant Port O Call (which sits around the corner) there was no doubt that a nothing short of delectable dessert was on deck. And happily as expected this is what was delivered. The rich and creamy decadence was no match for the appetite for this dessert and in short order, it disappeared from the plate.
Warm Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream - With this classic dessert, the enjoyment is twofold; both the taste and the texture. The perfect spoon is when you got a bit of the softened spiced apples with the crunch of a homemade oatmeal crumble along with the sweet and creamy ice cream. It's somewhat of a comfort dessert that makes for a great ending to any dinner.
Passionfruit Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream - What first appeared to be a teasing, two-bite dessert turned out to be the perfect portion size and definitely satiated the sweet tooth. The contrast of rich chocolate against the tartness of the passionfruit topping made an intriguing impression on the mouth - quite delicious really. So much so, that we didn't have to eat ice cream with every bite (but, who leaves behind any ice cream.)
Dining at Bistro J can be considered something of an adventure. Definitely not your run of the mill "let's go to so and so because I love their pasta" (or what ever it is your favorite dish is at any given restaurant). One goes to Bistro J because they know that no matter what's on the menu, they're bound (for the most part) to find something to satisfy the craving of having a great meal at a really great price.
We are in the final days of Bermuda Restaurant Weeks which ends on Friday, February 5th. Now is the time to get your last meal(s) and cast your vote for your favourite Bermuda inspired meal. You can do so by visiting www.table.bm
Have you seen our Instagram, Twitter or Facebook feeds??? We've documented our Restaurant Weeks experiences along the way...we'd love to see yours so during this last week, be sure to tag your food pics with the official tag #BermudaRW.
Other posts from Bermuda Restaurant Weeks
For a full list of the restaurants, menus and prices click here.
2016 Bermuda Restaurant Weeks Overview
Our #BermudaRW Sneak Peak at Chopsticks and Rosas
Bermuda Restaurant Weeks: Muse Skybar
#BermudaRW Review of Cafe Lido