Dinner Out: Juniper Returns!

Scott Campbell

Juniper is open again. After being closed for several weeks, as Covid-19 swept the globe, Juniper has re-opened. They had to remove a couple of tables inside to be able to accommodate social distancing, but they also have a new patio open which gave them back a few tables. On a nice day/evening, they can still accommodate as many guests as before. So, I took advantage of this opportunity to have a great meal out and was certainly not disappointed.

The menu, as always, changes frequently and features a selection of tapas (small plate) items. These are great for sharing with your table and everyone gets to try as many of the dishes as possible. Juniper is also great at making fantastically original cocktails. One is the Rhubarb Gin Sour. Made of Portobello Road gin, elderflower and rhubarb syrup, lemon, and egg white this is a tasty and refreshing cocktail that was perfect for the hot July day when we visited. A great way to start our meal.

For our appetizers we had a plate of Serrano ham and pickle, a crispy potato waffle, and some East Coast oysters. The ham was Juvilles ham from Spain that had been aged 20 months. It was served with pickled daikon and romanesco. The tang of the pickles went perfectly with the buttery ham. We also opted for a half dozen PEI oysters with a mignonette accompaniment and some hot sauce. The potato waffle was served alongside a salmon tartar mixed with fresh summer beans. The smooth salmon was full of rich flavour that was enhanced by the beans. A generous scoop of salmon tartar on a small wedge of the potato waffle made for a delicious bite. The oysters were fresh and briny and served with a sprig of oyster plant. I had never had the opportunity to try oyster plant before but it does taste remarkably like a combination of oyster and dulse.

For our main dishes we enjoyed chorizo sausage a la plancha and pan-roasted Digby scallops. Both of these options are incredible. The chorizo sausage was grilled perfectly and served alongside asparagus and under a fried egg, and then everything bathed in a rich delicious piri piri sauce. Every mouthful of this spectacular dish was bursting with flavour – definitely a favourite. However, the Digby scallops were not to be outdone. The scallops themselves were grilled perfectly – not overdone at all – but the fresh peas and mortadella and couscous mixture that they were served with was amazing and arguably the star of the dish. Make no mistake, I savoured each of the tender scallops, but by the time I was nearing the end of that dish, I had a spoon in my hand and was scraping the bottom of the bowl to get every drop of that delicious sauce. I highly recommend you try this if it’s on the menu when you’re there.

If any of you have followed my column before, you’ll know that I’m a fan of dessert. One of the options this night really caught my eye – the s’mores parfait. It arrived in a stout little mason jar and was a parfait consisting of rich chocolate pudding, a chocolate and almond crumb layer, and was topped with a toasted marshmallow crust. It wasn’t exactly your typical campfire s’mores but it was a perfect ending to a fantastic meal. Cheers.

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