[Torquay, Devon] Orange Tree

There’s very much a traditional feel to the Orange Tree. The sort of traditional feel that is long gone from most of the restaurant industry. There’s much to like – a short menu that reads well and service that is generally fine (although a glass of wine ordered to go with the food didn’t arrive until it had been chased twice).

A smoked duck salad was a light, summery starter. Three thin slices of duck breast sat on pea shoots and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. Dabs of carrot and orange puree were really nice but the orange and horseradish cream needed more of both to make an impact. The other starter was a red pepper and butternut squash soup that moves you from summer to autumn and had a nice texture contrast from sunflower seed croutons.

Fillets of John Dory were accurately cooked and were served with a nice saffron and pea risotto. A squid ink tuile was a dramatic bit of decoration.

Game and ale pie was a bit disappointing. Not really a proper pie, with pastry fully enclosing the meat but really just a stew with a puff pastry topping (which was still a bit raw in places). It was served in one of those metal pie dishes you might find in pound shops or on a market stall. It’s the sort of dish my local pub serves and at much less than the £25 price tag here. It comes with decent mash and a red wine sauce.

Main courses also come with your own individual dish of vegetables – something we’ve not seen in a restaurant for many a year. It’s another nod towards the traditional feel of the Orange Tree. There’s also a dish of potatoes to share – both dauphinoise and new. It would have made for a carb heavy meal (as both plates already had enough carb in the form of the risotto or pastry) had we eaten more than a taste of them.

We’d had enough to eat by then so didn’t order desserts.


That duck salad sounds very good. I love pea shoots, although I’ve only had them sauteed with garlic at dim sum restaurants.

Like you, I don’t really like these Potemkin cheat pies. I love my pastry shells - especially when the pastry was moistened and made more delicious when it had partially absorbed the gravy.