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3-4 Beacon Terrace
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 – a Michelin-starred restaurant for the whole family. The action takes place in a casual bare-boarded room with terrific harbour views and a menu of bang-up-to-date brasserie cooking fuelled by produce from chef/proprietor Simon Hulstone’s 69-acre Devon farm. A starter of heritage vegetable ‘samosas’ with goats’ curd and pickled mustard might precede roast Southdown lamb with black garlic, Roscoff onion, savoy cabbage and thyme jus or pumpkin fondant with spiced carrot juice. There’s Devon-reared beef too, while sustainable fish from the West Country boats could yield sea trout cured in brown sugar with lime-leaf emulsion or Brixham plaice accompanied by confit chicken wings, clams, brown bread and fried capers. After that, perhaps try forced rhubarb with baked custard and blood orange sorbet. Cheery service does what’s needed, and the wine list offers excellent value.
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3-4 Beacon Terrace
Torquay Station 1km
Torre Station 2km
Torre Abbey Grounds 1km
Torre Abbey 1km
Tues-Sat 12N-2pm 6.30-9pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
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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