The Elephant

Modern European·
Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of The Elephant

Gold Award

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 (unlike a lot of its contemporaries, children are warmly welcomed, and the team encourage bringing along little guests).

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. The dishes change as the months roll by, to reflect availability and seasonality, but to give you an idea a starter of chilled tomato soup with horseradish cream and nasturtium oil might precede duckling with braised chicory, heritage beets and an elderflower sauce or tortellini of ricotta with herb puree, pickled mushrooms and cepe foam. There’s Devon-reared beef too, while sustainable fish from the West Country boats could yield lime-cured bay mackerel with kohlrabi remoulade with crispy clams and dill dressing. After that, perhaps try Southdown Farm strawberry tart with Anise Hysopp ice cream and pink peppercorns for a light, fruity finish. Cheery service does what’s needed, and the wine list offers excellent value.

Despite its Michelin star credentials (having held the accolade for over 14 years now), prices are reasonable, with mains starting from £15. If you have a spare afternoon to treat yourself there is a set menu that offers great-value too, at £21.50 for two courses. With this there are only two options for each course, but the food usually offers a couple of crowd-pleasers like roast belly pork with parsnip puree or a beautifully cooked piece of hake.

As might be expected with a restaurant of such reputation, tables do get booked up well in advance. We’d recommend getting your date in the diary well-ahead of your visit.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Modern European
Luxury, Traditional
One Michelin star
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Great views, Waterside
Perfect for
Child friendly, Dates, Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating


Does The Elephant have a Michelin star?

The Elephant has one Michelin star.

Helpful? 0
Meet the team
The Elephant

Simon Hulstone

Chef Patron

Simon Hulstone was practically born in the kitchen with a high profile chef father that had him in whites by 14. Hulstone senior was a prolific competition chef and his son has followed in his footsteps, winning the Roux Scholarship, representing his country at the Bocuse d’Or – the world’s most prestigious and demanding culinary competition – and captaining the British Culinary Olympics team. Amazingly he’s found time to open and run a celebrated restaurant, too. Michelin-starred The Elephant in Torquay serves modern, seasonal food with the majority of ingredients grown and reared on Hulstone’s own farm.

The Elephant is featured in


3-4 Beacon Terrace, Torquay, Devon, TQ1 2BH

01803 200044 01803 200044


Opening Times

Mon Closed
Tue 12:00-14:00
Wed 12:00-14:00
Thu 12:00-14:00
Fri 12:00-14:00
Sat 12:00-14:00
Sun Closed
Mon Closed
Tue 18:30-21:30
Wed 18:30-21:30
Thu 18:30-21:30
Fri 18:30-21:30
Sat 18:30-21:30
Sun Closed


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2 Reviews 

David G

28 May 2017  
Excellent food and service.

Paul A

21 July 2015  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 5
Value 3.5
Where was everyone?
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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