Fabulous Sunday Brunch at Fat Rascal

One of Guernsey’s best kept foodie secrets, Fat Rascal, gained a very loyal following over a period of years, and deservedly so.  Steve Hopkins and his lovely wife Sarah have created a unique, warm, friendly restaurant in the heart of St. Peter Port, handily placed about ten steps from the hubbub of our local shopping attractions.  Just step through the archway opposite Airtel’s shop into a peaceful, cobbled courtyard guarded by garlands of beautiful flowers at the front of the Constable’s office.

I knew I would like the place when I first stepped through the door and saw some of those Enid Blyton spoof books – Five Go Gluten Free, Five on Brexit Island, and Five Give Up the Booze.  That’s my kind of humour, so we were off to a good start.

Annoyingly, the place caught fire back in , through no fault of the lovely staff, so Fat Rascal has been closed for xxx months.  Recently, Steve announced they were open again for business, so we took a lazy stroll through the cobbled streets and went to sample their offering for Sunday Brunch.  It was very busy, and I’m delighted for them, so make sure you book in advance.  The atmosphere and decor are very much ‘contemporary cosy’ whether you’re in a booth or the comfortable chairs in the middle, and you’ll enjoy the informal service.

Our family of four, with one vegetarian amongst us, had the full brunch experience.  In fact, I think none of us will need to eat until Tuesday evening.  We were impressed by the menu choices, which we drooled over whilst sipping a very, very nice coffee.  My other half is very choosy about her coffee.  She has never awarded a coffee 10 out of 10, but Fat Rascal gets nine out of ten for it’s Cappuccino.  She does like to spoon away at the froth for a while, then downs the coffee in one, once it’s at the right temperature.

Despite being mid-summer, the welcome break in the heatwave signalled time for my first hot chocolate since the ski slopes in February – it just seemed that kind of day.  Actually, I think the taste and texture of a hot chocolate is a test of any restaurant, and mine was a harbinger of a tasty meal to follow.  I did forego the cream, marshmallows, etc., but it touched the spot very well.
A successful restaurant is about so many things – the food of course, the service (vital), and the people.  Steve has an enormous wealth of experience in the hotel and restaurant world, and Fat Rascal is his first venture on his own, so it’s great to see him making such a fabulous success of it all, and deservedly so.  A small fire or two can set a person back, but Steve has come out of his corner without a bruise, and the smiling busy staff are testament to the kind of person he is.  A family man himself, he welcomes kids, babies, couples, tourists and plain old locals like us, with cool professionalism, good food advice and a winning smile.  Despite it being busy, the whole front of house was run by three staff, and with no delays at all.  We liked it a lot.

The main event for my partner was a terrific treat called ‘Rascal Rancheros’ which is grilled tortilla, homemade beans and chorizo sauce with smashed avocado with feta, plus two fried eggs.  She didn’t so much eat it, but rather wrestled it to the ground first.  It was a formidable meal, and Steve tells me it’s extremely popular, being a bit of a house speciality.  One of our group chose Turkish Eggs which is garlic yoghurt, chilli oil, poached eggs and sourdough bread, and one chose the full Vegetarian Breakfast.  I went with the Full Rascal Breakfast – bacon, sausages, baked beans (rather special ones), black pudding, tomato, and eggs cooked any way you wish – I went with poached.  I simply couldn’t finish it, and quality has been maintained while quantity would leave even the most voracious eater more than satisfied.

There is so much more from which to choose, and next time I’m going with the American stye breakfast pancakes with banana, honey and almonds.  I was pleased to find there was a huge list of options for vegetarian breakfasts, which always pleases my partner.  What was also interesting to try was the array of different exotic teas, although I am partial to plain old PG Tips when really pushed.
Nothing was too much trouble, and they served us quickly, but without any sign of being hurried.

The evening menu includes a wide choice of salads, burgers and other main courses, together with the excellent service.  I know, I do keep banging on about service, but I’ve always maintained it’s the most important thing in a restaurant.  You can serve great food with poor service and it really will not be enjoyable, but you can serve mediocre food with excellent service and you’ll have a great time. Fat Rascal offers fabulous food, with tastes, smells and sights to delight even the most jaded, and they provide it all with delightful friendly service.  I may have to go back to try the evening delights.

Eat well


Have You Ever Licked The Plate?

Have you ever licked the plate at the end of a meal?  Be honest now.  OK, but have you ever wanted to? As a very young child one of my great pleasures was to lick the plate, particularly after we’d had beans on toast.  I can recall a stern rebuke from my very proper father, as, despite his very humble beginnings, his favourite saying was ‘manners taketh man’.  So we were brought up with good table manners, I think, and I’ve endeavoured to stick by those early lessons.  This evening, however, was a struggle – I mean a real Herculean struggle.  It was the Bramley Apple Fritter with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce….  Hmmmm….  Oh dear, I seem to have started at the end, so let me not get ahead of myself….







The Bella Luce is one of the gems of Guernsey.  Hidden away in the leafy lanes of St. Martin, in Renoir country, The Bella offers five star service and standards, in a four star hotel.  We’ve eaten here on many occasions, from family Sunday lunches to those very special occasional treats.  It is consistently excellent food, splendidly attentive service, and a very warm welcome.  The food is simply delicious.  Luke Wheadon, Proprietor of the hotel, and a very experienced Chef himself, may be there to greet you, if he’s not busy making gin in the the hotel’s gin still.  If not, Ionel, the restaurant manager, along with Javier and his team will give you a very warm and relaxed welcome.  We reviewed The Bella about a year ago now, but since that last formal visit a new Executive Chef, Patricio Filipe, has been arrived, and he’s certainly making his mark.  Patricio is just what you’d expect from his name – Latin, passionate about food, and attentive to all the little details that make a really first-class meal.  He has painstakingly, reformed the menu, adding in so many of his own ideas and innovations, and his efforts have been worth it.







Our evening started with the most extensive wine list, and with something for every pocket and palate.  After the obligatory gin, I moved to a very nice Chateau de la Tilery, Alma Soror, 2011 which washed down the Guernsey marinated onglet with pickled walnuts and blue cheese.  It was light and easy as a starter, despite the fact it was preceded by the hotel’s own bread, baked but an hour before we ate, and served with whipped Guernsey butter and sea salt.


I think I may have been full at that stage, but I persevered….!

My dining partner, a dedicated vegetarian, chose a most unusual but delicious celeriac steak, with whipped parsnip and wild mushrooms, topped with truffle infused pearl barley. As a dedicated carnivore I usually shy away, but I did give it a try and it was extremely light, subtle, and greatly enhanced by the lovely pearl barley with hints of truffle oil.

My own main course was a barbecued short rib of beef, garlic mash, and herb salad which description doesn’t really do it justice, as there’s so much more to it, including  the very rich jus. It was decadently rich.  We both had our fair share of new potatoes, laced with Guernsey butter and parsley, cooked to perfection.

You can always tell when a restaurant is at the top of its game – the service is warm, easy and flawless, the food is delicious without being pretentious, and the surroundings produce an atmosphere in which anybody would be relaxed and at ease.  The Bella has it all…. The menu is varied, interesting, simple yet tantalising, very much fitting the Bella’s philosophy of good taste, good texture, and great local ingredients.

The hotel had hosted a gin-tasting that afternoon, as Luke Wheadon has brewed two new delightful flavours of gin.  It had been an extremely busy and successful event, yet the staff were still attentive and working very hard to ensure we had a great meal, which we did.  Full points to the team….


So, dessert arrived, and I was allowed to pick briefly at my dining companion’s Bakewell tart with vanilla ice cream, just by way of quality control you understand – it was scrumptious.  I didn’t want it, you understand, but the Bramley Apple Fritter with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce arrived.  It was simply the most delicious dessert I have had in a long, long time.

Go along to The Bella and make sure Patricio is properly welcomed to the island. Whilst you’re there I dare you to lick the plate….

Eat well


Fast Food at the OGH….?!

The words ‘Fast Food’ are rarely coupled with the name of the Old Government House Hotel, Guernsey’s only five-star hotel.  However, on this occasion I was pleased to be the recipient of a very quick meal at lunchtime, and with the sun shining upon us….

My past trips to the OGH have usually been sedate, unhurried, a gentle trawl through their comprehensive wine list, and a leisurely amble through a dessert.  The OGH have now decided to offer something special at lunchtime for those in a rush from their busy offices, or like me, on my way to a concert at St James’ after work.






The team at the OGH pride themselves on their service levels, and they fully realise that service is a vital component in their plan to maintain their prime position as the leader in Guernsey’s splendid hotel offering, and it’s that service which allowed me to arrive, order, eat and drink in around 45 minutes, and without any of it seeming the least hurried.  The team at the OGH recognise we’re all busy, so they’ve invested in some small garden ovens, so you enjoy the outdoor ambience whilst watching Daniel the Garden Chef produce your pizza, your fish dish or your pork steak in front of your eyes.  I’m not sure what secret ingredient they’ve put in their pizza base, but it’s worth the walk uphill from St Peter Port High Street.


I was in plenty of time for the concert, but with the full OGH food and service experience under my ever-tightening belt.

Eat well,