Tag Archives: The Elephant

The Room – The Elephant Restaurant – Torquay – Restaurant Review

The Elephant Restaurant - The Room - Torquay - Sign

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:

Amuse Bouche 

Brixham Crab

Sweet pea panna cotta with crab and cicely,

mango and dashi sorbet, brown crab toast

Scallops

Roasted scallop on crown prince purée, caramelised seeds

Brill

Fillet of brill with lardo Iberico, fennel pollen,

parsnip purée, verjus and spring onion butter

Lamb

Lamb and chicken roulade, smoked garlic,

new season asparagus, pea mousse, shallot and thyme purée

Cheese

Choice of artisan Westcountry cheeses from the trolley

(Also available as an extra course £12 per person)

Strawberry

Sphere of strawberry and lemon mascarpone,

elderflower crème and jus de fraise

Coffee

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.

 

The Elephant Restaurant - The Room - Torquay - Bread

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.

The Elephant Restaurant - The Room - Torquay - Ceps

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.

The Elephant Restaurant - The Room - Torquay - Amuse Bouche

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.

The Elephant Restaurant - The Room - Torquay - Crab

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.

The Elephant Restaurant - The Room - Torquay - Scallop

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 Elephant Restaurant - The Room - Torquay - Brill

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.

The Elephant Restaurant - The Room - Torquay - Lamb

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.

The Elephant Restaurant - The Room - Torquay - Srawberry

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.

The Elephant Restaurant - The Room - Torquay - Chocolate

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 Elephant Restaurant - The Room - Torquay - Chocolate1

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.

The Elephant Restaurant - The Room - Torquay - Petite Four

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.

Overall 8/10

 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: info@elephantrestaurant.co.uk
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
 
 

Elephant on Urbanspoon

The Elephant Restaurant – Torquay

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.

Ok well thats the meal over with the bill below.

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.

Final thoughts:
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.