Well here we are first review of the new blog. Firstly I should add that I’ll mostly be dining alone as to be honest I do not know of any other foodie’s that are nearby, hence finding someone to join me can be difficult….
Anyways a lovely warm wednesday night at a table booked for 7pm at the “Elephant Restaurant”, this is quite a well known restaurant with a single Michelin star to it’s name. The establishment is split between two separate floors the ground being more of a brasserie serving well known traditional dishes with a modern twist and the upstairs being the restaurant area with the Menu being full of mouses and foams etc, this is the known as the “Room Restaurant”.
Well entering the front door which is quite plainly decorated with small menus either side of the door and nicely shown signs as well. You enter the downstairs area of the building which is more of the brasserie type area which is still very nicely decorate. However when you do enter you are not greeted by a dedicated member of staff, I had to stand for a good 2-3minutes waiting for a waiter to finish serving a table to finally come to see me, I know 3 minutes does not sound a long time however this can seem like a lifetime.
Once seated I was offered both a wine menu and the full menu. Having a quick look through the menu I thought most tempting selection seemed to be the ‘tasting menu’ which was shown as:
- Golden beetroot and Vulscobe goats’ cheese with elderflower dressing
- Paignton crab lightly bound in chive mayonnaise with watermelon and fennel
- Hand dived Bay scallops on cabbage and lemon risotto with mussel foam
- Rump of Cornish lamb with summer peas, roasted artichoke and a thyme jus
- Selection of the Westcountry’s finest artisan cheese (optional course £7.00 per person supplement)
- Petit pot of coffee and Baileys mousse with warm chocolate foam, pistachio madelaines
- Glazed lemon tart with creme fraiche sorbet and minted raspberries
This was priced at a what I thought was a reasonable £55.00 per person, this however do not include for Coffee or tea with petit fours @ £4.00 per person this is always an annoying thing for me, I do think the coffee should be included in the tasting menu costs as these are all part of the experience.
Well having ordered and the menu been taking away. I started to access my surrounding in slightly more detail, I did this this was very pleasant. A very nice area with a relax feeling and the view was truly stunning. Behind my seating area though was a slightly lower area which consisted of large lounge chairs which was a bar area, this was completely open through arch ways into the “The Room” which then made the calming feeling fade slightly with business men being very loud which I can only guess is after a long day on the golf course from what I could hear which was a lot. I found this overall very lowering to the atmosphere of the room.
I was then served what stated to be warm olive bread, however this was more just plain ciabatta without a olive in sight, this also came with oils and a pork and duck rillette (chunky pete) with pork cracking on top which was very pleasant and a nice addition to the normal butter etc. However where is the butter? it was a nice to have a change but I am firm believer in some things should not be changed and a small pot of butter I think should be also served.
Golden beetroot and Vulscobe goats’ cheese with elderflower dressing
Within 10 minutes my first course was serve, which is quite quick and did not even give me chance to get through half of a first slice of bread. However upon viewing this stunningly colourful plate of food and the aroma of such sweetness that came from it I was pleased it did. The golden beetroot which is new to me was ever so lovely just tender and easy to cut, complete with the Elder flower dressing this wa made very sweet indeed and need the goats cheese to add the earthier flavour to the dish. I thoughouly enjoyed this and would order again.
Paignton crab lightly bound in chive mayonnaise with watermelon and fennel
The second dish arrived in minutes of the first being taken away, presented again was a a beautiful colourful dish. I get the feeling the chefs garden must be constantly stripped of flowers as a pattern is starting to form. Tasting the dish I have mixed feelings the crab it’s self was lovely and had a great strong taste, however it seemed the fennel over powered the crab and both elements over powered the watermelon, still a lovely dish with the separate elements, but combined seemed to lack balance of flavours which blended
Hand dived Bay scallops on cabbage and lemon risotto with mussel foam
The third dish which I have been looking forwarded to, being a major fan of scallops arrived, this did take slightly longer than the previous dishes due to the hot elements I would think. However this was a welcome break and was appreciated. This dish was lovely, normally I find that chefs are trying to hard with scallops with adding very strong flavours and to often over power the star which is the scallops. However on this occasionally the balance was perfect with the scallop sweetness shining through from the lovely cabbage and lemon risotto which I thought would be over bearing but gladly was a joy. The muscle foam also added a lovely element when enough was tempted onto your fork. Overall very happy with this.
Rump of Cornish lamb with summer peas, roasted artichoke and a thyme jus
On to the main dish the lamb. I was very interested to see how they cooked this dish as I love very rare meat however lamb is too often over done. Upon cutting into the rump I was a glad to see the lovely pinkness shining through, this sadly was short lived as the deep I dug into the slices the more darker the meat got. I found this entire dish to very bland and under seasoned the roasted artichoke was not season at all it seemed also the mushrooms seemed watery and tasteless. The lamb however was tender and smooth to eat but again seem to lack any depth. The only saving grace was the lovely smooth and creamy mash potato. I was not impressed by the single main dish of the tasting menu at all.
Well the end of the main courses and starters and onto the desserts which is my favourite part.
Petit pot of coffee and Baileys mousse with warm chocolate foam, pistachio madelaines
First up which I have been looking forward to was a small pot of loveliness. And this is the only way to describe this. I almost was to dissect the individual layers of this pot just as the tastes were Devine. However when combined it all matched well with the earthy espresso calming the whole sweetness coming from the white chocolate and baileys. I was a very fond of the added space dust which anyone will admit brings back great child hood memories and was great. The small pistachio madelaine was also again very good, with s soft sponge texture and subtle flavour. This dish is a particular fond memory for me.
Glazed lemon tart with creme fraiche sorbet and minted raspberries
Moving on to the lemon tart, I was glad to see the small size portion as by now I am getting very full. I was particularly interested to see how the sorbet tasted and this was lovely and light and creamy. The tart it’s self smelled amazing with strong lemon scents. The strawberries again were lovely and fresh and not soft to eat. Very good dessert, with the creme brûlée topping of the tart being a very nice not mentioned surprise.
Coffee and petit fours were then served, these were all fudges of varying types, being white chocolate and passion fruit, white chocolate and pistachio, and dark chocolate with salt and sap. These were all very good with a good range of flavours and good sweetness and texture, I only wish my local shop brought fudge was this good. My americano coffee was also very good, very hot and strong with a good depth of flavour.
Not bad for a tasting menu, however I would like to see the coffee included. Also a very nice stick of Rock from a local Bon Bon shop to take home.
Service – 7/10
I have mixed views on the service within the restaurant as although plates were cleared quickly and with a smile, when you glass was empty/nearly no attempt was made to fill this. I witnessed one couple even leave their seats to acquire their bottle of water stored in the chilled bar area to fill their own glasses. However when asked about the food my waitress seemed to have good knowledge of what was served, and was more than happy to stop for 2minutes and chat about the dishes and also just general conversation. Also I was witness to the waitress given an explanation of the various local cheese to a near by table, and I was very impressed with her knowledge and explanations of cheeses. I think it would be a great benefit to have someone more dedicated to the restaurant however to ensure attention is given.
Food – 7/10
Now this was very difficult to score, mainly because of the whole meal was very pleasant, and enjoyable. The main let down being the main course, to have a taster menu to be full of starter courses, you should ensure the main course be an absolute star of the show, but the lamb was a real let down on this menu. If this dish was altered or changed I would instantly score the entire meal 8/9 however due to the lamb and the slightly unbalanced crab dish this will be marked a 7.
Value – 8/10
Overall I think this is quite good value with some very fine food served and not over the top prices the qunaity was good and I leave feel fulfilled. However normally I have come to expect some little extras from taster menus in the form of Amuse Bouche or a palette cleanser between courses. The elephant however made sure not to give anything anyway, this was demonstrated by what i believe to be a very high price of £4 for a standard blank coffee and 3No. cubes of Fudge.
Overall – 7.5/10
I would definatly return to “The Elephant” however next time I might try from the À la carte menu.