Monday 19 October 2020

Why you must visit Blue Jasmine Immediately

(Review Press Visit - see disclaimer

Before the world plunged into the unknown Blue Jasmine opened its doors in Ocean Village, Southampton much to the delight to many in the city. Delivering contemporary Southeast Asian fine dining it's somewhere you immediately have to add to your to try list. I finally stepped through their doors a few weeks ago and it was so worth the wait, in fact, I've been back twice since.

At Blue Jasmine, they follow a simple philosophy: to serve Asian gastronomy that has been elevated to fine dining standards. This carries through every aspect of the restaurant, from their waterside location to the precision with which each of their dishes is expertly prepared and plated and boy are they presented beautifully!

Their modern take on Asian cuisine is a celebration of authentic flavours. Overseen by Executive Chef Daren Liew, the menu delivers the essence of Southeast Asia while using the best local ingredients from Hampshire, the New Forest and the Isle of Wight before enhancing with spices imported from Malaysia, China and Thailand.

Everything about Blue Jasmine is exquisite, not a single thing has been missed and we had such an incredible experience when we spent an evening sat upon their sun terrace as the sun set over the marina. 

Met by conceige upon arrival and given hot towels as we were seated, our impression was high end from the offset and with COVID at the forefront of everyone's mind, our worries were put at ease thanks to Blue Jasmine's exceptional protocols. Staff wore masks, we were temperature checked before being seated and contact details were taken for Track & Trace - every single detail was taken into consideration and as someone who is still quite nervous about being out, I felt very safe. It was a relief that we had sunshine and could sit outside. 

While waiting for my friend, I was shown around the restaurant and try as might to explain how utterly beautiful the interior is - you really must make a visit and experience it yourself, it's unbelievable. The multi-million pound project by Xi Zhao and his wife Phoebe have undertaken is phenomenal - from stunning rattan lampshades to hues of orange, yellow and blue its Asian interior chic at its best and that's before we even start on the blue resin and wood table below. 

Once seated, we accessed the cocktail menu via the QR Code - there is an incredible selection each as delicious sounding as the next but I had to start with their signature, Jasmine Blue which is Absolut vodka, lychee, apple, coconut, blue curacao and lime. My friend tried the Lemongrass & Yuzu Martini with Plymouth gin, Akashi Tai yuzu sake, lemongrass and orange bitter. 

We ended up sticking with the Jasmine Blue and Lemongrass & Yuzu Martini most of the night, we did try a couple of others but it seemed it was those that stole our heart and was consequently what we ordered again when we visited a week later. 

Blue Jasmine sure know a thing or two about cocktails!

The main reason we visited was of course for the food and oh my gosh we were totally blown away. 

Featuring delicious fresh fish marinated in Asian spices, exquisite cuts of meat basted and slow cooked, and duck air-dried for crispness - the menu really does deliver the best of the best. Each dish has been intricately thought about, drawing on time-honoured techniques practiced throughout Asia for centuries to extract maximum flavour from each ingredient.

From the signature dishes menu we tried - 

Carabineros Prawn in Royal Supreme Stock and Corn Noodle
Carabineros are a large, bright red deep-sea prawn from the Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. Distinct and robust in flavour, it is braised with royal supreme stock, crab meat, Ikura roe, sea vegetables, and corn noodles - both delicious and healthy.

Hampshire Pork Belly with Orange and White Chocolate
Hampshire free range pigs are noted for being well-muscled with a satisfying texture and flavour. The exquisite marbling and exceptional balance of fats is perfect for slow cooking. This high quality dish is seasoned with a blend of Asian herbs, caramelised with a homemade white chocolate and orange glaze.

The Carabineros Prawns were presented spectacularly - full of colour, vibrance and of course taste. The highlight unbelievably was The Royal Supreme Stock, it was like nothing I've ever tasted before, absolutely delicious and really made the dish. 

I do need to take a moment for the Hampshire Pork Belly with Orange and White Chocolate because it is quite possibly one of the BEST pork dishes I've ever tasted. The addition of white chocolate? Incredible - it worked so well and it would be the first dish I order upon our next visit. We didn't originally order this but we were advised that we had to try it so it promptly arrived at the table and oh my - when I say the pork melted in your mouth it melted! I think we spent the whole meal murmuring how tasty it was to ourselves. 

As well as the signature dishes we tried a selection of smalls and mains from the menu - the hardest part was deciding on what because the menu has such a brilliant selection. From Seared Pork Belly and Crispy Pork Skin in Satay Sauce to Blue Swimmer Crab Salad with Pine Nut and Shallot Oil and Turmeric Chilli Octopus with Yuzu Tobiko there really is something for everybody. Portions were generous which is great as it makes each of them brilliant for sharing so if you're with family or friends you could order a selection and get a real feel for the menu. 

If you want something completely intimate, Blue Jasmine also have a private dining room with its own lounge area and bathroom set with a beautiful wooden table, touches of gold and blue and views out over the marina - it would be wonderful for a small wedding reception.

After a mind blowing selection of beautiful food, our arms were twisted by our wonderful waiter into trying the dessert menu. The Matcha Fusion was well and truly the star of the show - so much so that when we went back for cocktails the following week I ordered a cocktail and the Match Fusion again! 

Maybe we should normalise cocktail and dessert evenings with the girls? 

The Matcha Fusion consists of Raspberry Emulsion, Citrus Zest, Strawberry, Pistachio Crumb and Raspberry Sorbet. It's the perfect mix of flavours to cleanse the pallet with a melt in the mouth twist of gorgeous eastern flavours. 

I cannot recommend it enough!

We knew we were in for a treat at Blue Jasmine but it completely exceeded all expectations.

It's just such a wonderful dining experience and the attention to detail from the staff was out of this world, I don't think I've ever had such incredible service. To be honest, I don't think I've stopped talking about it since I first visited and I honestly cannot wait to go back with Arran. 

You can make your booking by calling 023 8063 6387 or by using - I promise you, you won't be disappointed. 

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