[Torquay, Devon] The Elephant

OK, so regardless of its Michelin starred status, it’s a daft name for a restaurant. But there’s nothing daft about the food. As you might expect with such a place, there’s the inevitable tasting menu. But there’s also a short carte that is rammed with dishes you really want to eat and you’re left spoilt for choice.

Eventually, we did make our minds up about what to order. For one of us, there was Brixham crab, an elderflower and dashi jelly, pickled cucumber and an apple geranium sorbet. The sorbet was quite sweet and needed more of the cucumber or something to balance it. The other starter was the better of the two. It featured olive oil poached Jersey Royal potatoes. And, no, I have no idea how they get Jerseys at the beginning of September. It comes with a tangy kohlrabi remoulade, parsley emulsion and crispy seaweed. A good mix of textures and flavours.

Then a fillet steak for one of us. Accompaniments were outstanding – a truffle infused potato dauphinoise, hen of the wood (our favourite mushroom) and a mushroom puree. Perfectly pink lamb rump on the other plate. Also there, a thick wedge of charred Hispi cabbage, the bitterness contrasting nicely with the lamb. A well made sauce rounded it all off and I’d have been happy if that was it. But. served in a separate pot, long cooked lamb shoulder and thinly sliced potato. Almost a posh version of Lancashire Hotpot if you will. I could have eaten a bucket load of it without thinking I was being greedy. It really was that good.

We both ordered the same dessert. Think a traditional Devon cream tea. Deconstruct it; reimagine it and rebuild it. What you get is probably our most enjoyed course – and it would be very rare for us to say that about desserts. There’s a clotted cream mousse, sliced strawberries, a scattering of scone crumbs, Earl Grey jelly and strawberry juice forming a sauce. An absolute stunner.

Coffee was decent espresso, although not piping hot but the accompanying petit fours were excellent – more evidence of the skill of the pastry chef (who deserves a pay rise).

This was our second Michelin starred meal in a week and it was a really nice evening, with efficient service which, however, never missed an opportunity to try and upsell. Perhaps unsurprisingly, bearing in mind its accolades, it proved to be the best meal of our week in Torbay.

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That sounded absolutely divine.

I’ve got a sweet tooth and absolutely look forward to the dessert course in any meal.
This one sounded incredible! :heart_eyes:

John, we’re headed to the same area next week. I should have made a booking at The Elephant weeks ago because when I recently tried, they had nothing at all that was suitable. If you could recommend your favorite 2 or 3 places for lunch, I’d really appreciate that. And maybe one choice for a good dinner. Where we’re staying is supposed to have very good food, so we’ll probably eat dinner there most nights. Thanks, as always…June

Have fun, June!

Hi June. Havent seen you on here in a while - hope you’re both well.

We didnt really “do” lunch this trip - it was mainly a cafe sandwich, or takeaway, while we were out and about, so not really any recommendations. Simply Fish in Brixham was an exception and was very good fish & chips and did have a wider menu.

As for dinner, try No. 7 Fish Bistro which is, literally, a couple of doors down from The Elephant. You’ll need to book (I think they have an online system)

Scroll down the list to find my reviews of both places.

John

Thanks, Peter. We cancelled an October cruise for obvious reasons, so this will be a nice getaway. We’ve had a few this summer. I miss the family in America so hope I can get there sometime soon. What a mess…

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Thanks, John. We were somewhere in that area a few years back and did get to The Seahorse in Dartmouth for a wonderful lunch. We’ll definitely try and get to Brixham this trip and No.7 sounds perfect, too. Always love your reviews. Believe it or not, we haven’t even been to London in over a year and have stayed fairly close to home with one or two exceptions (New Forest etc.).

I had lunch at the Seahorse on my last (solo) trip to the area. A lovely place. This time we settled for a pasty in the park. Different but also nice.

You made a good decision to avoid cruises for now, June.

I’m in the same situation as you vis-à-vis visiting my family (& friends) in Singapore. I’d been in Penang since March 2020. What used to be an invisible border between Singapore & Malaysia now entails a 2-week quarantine each way, plus the need to show proof of vaccination/digital certificate.

I have a digital certificate now to prove I’m fully-vaccinated, but I’m still quite cautious about getting on-board a plane than anything. I’d not been back to London since Sep 2019.

I have my fingers crossed for travelling good luck over the next couple of years.

We have deposits paid on four trips. Two to Tenerife next year. And two cruises - one next year and one in 2023.

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It sounds as if you’ve had a tough time, too, Peter. We can only hope life will get better. I feel, now that I’ve gotten quite elderly, that a few years were snatched from me, and I won’t get them back. The quarantines were you are sure sound a lot worse than European or British ones. I’m avoiding planes. The thought of wearing a mask for many hours seems horrible. Keep in touch…

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We have two cruises, too, both next year - ones that were cancelled by us before. We’re big fan of Viking so hoping for the best. Viking has been cruising again quite a lot this year, but no thanks. Tenerife sounds good!

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Our cruises are both with Oceania which has a long time marketing slogan of the “Finest Cuisine at Sea”. Now, we havent cruised that much so I don’t know how true that is - but it is pretty good. Next year’s is a Southampton round trip, taking in the French coast and a couple of ports in northern Spain. 2023 is Miami to Rome. We’ve also been looking at Viking which seems to have a similar relaxed style - Mrs H has just been looking at one of their river cruises - Memphis to New Orleans. But it tends to have ports that we took in when we did our music road trip in that part of the world a year or so back.

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Memphis to New Orleans - sounds absolutely amazing! Good food beckons, too.
But do stay safe, John.

Like I suspect many folk, risk assessment has become part of our lives. We had tickets for a comedy gig in a couple of weeks but have decided not to go. There will be no social distancing in the venue or a mask wearing requirement.And, of course, there’s going to be a lot of droplets as the audience would be laughing a lot. Nah, just not safe enough for us right now.

As for the cruise, they are requiring proof of full vaccination and will test before boarding, as well as periodically during the cruise. As things stand now, I’m probably OK with that. But infections and deaths are rising again here, albeit slowly, so I am concerned. This time last year, UK daily deaths were in single figures. Now, even with the high rate of vaccination, daily deaths are pushing 200.

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I think it’s about time for the booster/third jab soon in the UK. Also need to keep monitoring for any new variant which might complicate matters.

In Singapore nearly 80% of all adults are now fully-vaccinated, and whereas in Malaysia, it’s 53.3%. We targeted almost everyone to be vaccinated by year-end.

I believe an announcement on booster jabs here is fairly imminent. There seems to be mixed views from the scientists - with some saying that we should get on with it, and others saying that as it probably only brings some fairly minimal benefit, it’s immoral to use the vaccine like that when it could go to poorer countries where even first jabs are lagging behind the developed world. It is a tricky decision but I’m sure which way the government will decide - those folk in poor countries don’t have a vote here.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold