The Elephant 4444

3-4 Beacon Terrace , Torquay, TQ1 2BH

1 reviews

45 Modern European Devon

The Elephant restaurant bar

SquareMeal Review of The Elephant

Torquay may be synonymous with Basil Fawlty and co, but The Elephant has put this Devon seaside stalwart back on the foodie map for all the right reasons. Boasting a gorgeous location overlooking the English Riviera, here is a capacious modern destination with lots of possibilities for those wanting something to eat and drink – “a Michelin-starred restaurant that the whole family can enjoy”. The action now takes place exclusively on the ground floor – a “casual but sophisticated” bare-boarded room with harbour views and a menu of bang-up-to-date brasserie cooking fuelled by produce from “masterful” chef/proprietor Simon Hulstone’s 69-acre Devon farm. A starter of heritage tomatoes, granita and consommé with buttermilk and horseradish cream might precede slow-braised sticky short-rib of beef with caramelised cauliflower and Roscoff onion or breast of Crediton duckling alongside heritage carrots, Brixham honey and blood orange. There are South Devon steaks and local lobsters too, while sustainable fish from the West Country boats might bring hake with seaweed and smoked eel butter sauce or stone bass with courgette, samphire, pink grapefruit and lemongrass cream. To finish, perhaps try walnut mousse with camomile, Granny Smith sorbet and candied walnuts. Service is “impeccable, courteous and efficient”, and the wine list offers excellent value. In short, “this restaurant has nailed it”.   

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8.0

Food & Drink: 8.0

Service: 8.0

Atmosphere: 10.0

Value: 7.0

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 3.0

Paul A. platinum reviewer 21 July 2015

The name suggests a sense of humour and it must have a certain amount of weight as intriguing publicity. Our curiosity has been aroused, and a visit to the English Riviera gave us the chance to try out the restaurant. The Room was surprisingly devoid of other diners when we arrived and, on enquiring if we were really the first there, we were amazed to be told that although the restaurant had been full the previous night (sadly perhaps because Wednesday is free wine day) this evening we were going to eat alone. So it was hats off to Simon Hulstone and his staff for devotion to duty and lucky us having a one-star chef cooking just for us. Difficult to judge for atmosphere, then, but a glass of fruity, appley, easy-drinking Gosset got us off to a good start with the rest of the dining experience. There was no amuse-bouche as such so we tucked into the honey spelt bread which was also a good accompaniment for the "Spring" salad made up of baby leek, heritage tomatoes, radish, beetroot, asparagus, a mixture of green leaves and a very good parsley emulsion. Most of the ingredients had come from the Hulstone farm and the freshness was quite evident. It would be surprising to have a menu in Torquay without any reference to the local fishing industry, and the next two courses took full advantage with shredded crab in a major match-up with crisp chicken cracker and dashi jelly and a touch of lemon balm, and local scallops enveloped in a sheet of lardo Iberico, another terrific combination, backed by a sweet and sour contrast from parsnip purée, sultanas and spring onion. Tender tasty Devon duck breast came next with a confit croquette, artichoke, celeriac purée and fondant/caramelised onion all contributing to the dish. We had two desserts, summer berries, sabayon and delightful lovage ice cream, and an elderflower and lemon tart, which was more sponge than tart, dressed with sugar crystals and flower leaves. The wine flight was generally well chosen, but it was a shame that it was not poured at the table. A chat with chef made it clear that the ups and downs of table occupancy in Torquay had not affected his optimism, but what a shame that this should happen in the summer holiday season when he already shuts The Room over the winter for lack of custom.

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