I try and get down to The Elephant at least once a year as it’s the closest Michelin starred restaurant to my home (approx. 2miles), I like to go down around May as “The Room” the fine dining area of the restaurant re-opens from its winter shut down. Due to the re-opening “Simon Hulstone” (Chef) makes a new and exciting menu, including a new tasting menu.
The tasting menu for this evening would be:
Sweet pea panna cotta with crab and cicely,
mango and dashi sorbet, brown crab toast
Roasted scallop on crown prince purée, caramelised seeds
Fillet of brill with lardo Iberico, fennel pollen,
parsnip purée, verjus and spring onion butter
Lamb and chicken roulade, smoked garlic,
new season asparagus, pea mousse, shallot and thyme purée
Choice of artisan Westcountry cheeses from the trolley
(Also available as an extra course £12 per person)
Sphere of strawberry and lemon mascarpone,
elderflower crème and jus de fraise
Coffee or tea with petit fours
Tasting Menu £69.50 per person
Optional Matching Wine £29.50 per person
The server was very polite and showed us to our table right in front of the main window, with an absolute gorgeous view over Torbay, if only the weather was as fabulous it would have been perfect.
Bread was then quickly served, this consisted of a duck rillette with crispy pork, hummous, butter, green and red olives and olive ciabatta bread. All of this was very good, the bread was good and warm and the butter very good.
Also with the bread some locally foraged ceps/mushrooms were provided, these were picked by hand up at Haldon Forest. I have to say I wasn’t too keen on these and found there wasn’t any distinct flavour, or mushroom type flavour at all.
Next a chilled Amuse Bouche of vichyssoise with cubed apple and candied walnuts. This was really nice with a creamy taste, the sweet walnuts were a very good addition also.
Next came the crab dish, this was accompanied by “Brown Crab Toast”, upon tasting my dining partner instantly declared “they should just sell these!!”. She was correct as well the outer “toast” was extremely sweet and matched beautifully with brown crab. The white crab meat was lovely, and the pea panna cotta underneath matched really well, the sorbet tasted alone had a very distinct flavour and wasn’t to my taste, but when matched with the other elements it worked perfectly.
Next was the Scallop dish, this was a very well put together dish with the bowl being piping hot when served. The flavours were very distinct and clean, with only 2 main elements it was very pleasing, the seeds only added to the slight sweetness of the scallop and prince purée.
The Brill came next, now this dish was my favourite of the whole evening. The fish was perfect, with all flavours coming through but the star for me was the verjus and spring onion butter, this was very sweet and for my big sweet-tooth made for the perfect dish. The small balls of spring onions which had been made I can only imagine with a mellon baller, shows the attention to detail here.
Next came the lamb and chicken, this dish to me was slightly disappointing. The lamb was gorgeous with it being cooked just as I liked, but I found the chicken just didn’t add anything to flavour, I think I would have preferred there be just lamb here with no chicken. The side elements were all good with the flavours showing and the garlic added a lovely after taste.
Now for my best bit of any meal….. Dessert! This was the strawberry dessert and was served plain and then the jus being added at the table. The sphere itself was a beautifully light strawberry moose, with an added surprise of popping candy throughout. It all worked well and the centre of the moose had a small ball of cream which really added a nice flavour. The whole dish was so light and refreshing.
Now normally that would be the end of the tasting menu with the “Strawberry”, however being the greedy dessert lover I am, I opted for another dessert course. This was a “Chilled bitter chocolate fondant, salted butter caramel ice cream, pailleté feuillantine”, the fondant itself was a deep, rich moose and personally I was in a small slice of chocolate heaven! The ice cream was lovely with a rich caramel taste, with a subtle salt after effect. However this dish did cause abit of a discussion at the table, and with a few other fellow bloggers after the meal……
The centre of the “Fondant” was a strong butterscotch type caramel, however this was a very thick centre, and I would not call this gooey/liquid. Now this asks the question “what is a fondant”, does this really class as a fondant having a quite solid centre, or more of a caramel centred moose? I’ll leave that up for individuals to decide, however all I know is that it tasting in a word “lush”.
Well that brought the meal to the end, we were asked if we wanted coffee, however we both declined as we are both not coffee drinkers. The bill was then served with a nice stick of rock compliments of the restaurant. However we were both slightly disappointed as the tasting menu included coffee/tea and petite fours, although we declined the tea/coffee, no petite fours appeared. After settling the bill, I then asked to have them which the waiter politely and kindly said he would go get from the kitchen right away.
Petite fours were then served, being a strawberry macaroon, orange jelly, chocolate fudge and white chocolate truffle. The favourite for me was the white chocolate truffle, it was smooth and creamy and had a great taste. Also which was great was that there was 2 of each item, so we could both sample each one.
We both really enjoyed our experience at the Elephant, the food was clean, well cooked and executed well. There seemed to be a rolling theme throughout the entire tasting experience and that was sweetness, which to my personal taste was my dream menu, however this might not be to everyone’s taste. There was only a few minor issues of the evening, but they didn’t really distract from an overall good meal, it would have been nice if the petite four experience had not occurred, but something which can be forgotten easy enough. I now only want to return and have the À la carte version of the brilliant Brill dish! Cant wait to return!
The Elephant Restaurant, 3 & 4 Beacon Terrace Torquay Devon TQ1 2BH Phone: 01803 200 044 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.elephantrestaurant.co.uk Brasserie Lunch Tuesday – Saturday Reservations 12.00 – 2.00pm Dinner Tuesday – Saturday Reservations 6.30pm – 9.00pm The Room Dinner Tuesday – Saturday Reservations 6.30pm – 9.00pm