Aug 16 2014

The Elephant (brasserie)


The Elephant is a two storey restaurant in Torquay, Devon. There is a more informal brasserie on the ground floor and the 1 Michelin star restaurant on the first floor. My boyfriend had booked a table in the informal brasserie, but when we got there we did really want to try their Michelin restaurant but unfortunately as it was a Saturday and as it is one of the most popular restaurants in Torquay we could not get a table there and so had dinner in the brasserie. We did not mind though as the food was amazing.

The Elephant is owned by the award winning chef Simon Hulstone and his wife Katy. Simon is a hands on chef and works in the kitchen, so rare to see these days with celebrity chefs. They aim to source all their ingredients locally, mainly from their 69 acre farm in Brixham, south Devon, which has free range pigs, sheep, hens and Kelly Bronze turkeys. The restaurant inside overlooks the harbour and was decorated in quite a casual style. It did fill up and by 8.30pm almost the whole brasserie was full.

The menu was divided into bread and nibbles, starters, main courses, sides and desserts. We started our meal with 2 different nibbles, mixed olives in spiced brine (£3.50) and lamb kofta with yoghurt and mint (£3.5). Olives were good olives and we both really liked the lamb kofta. It had interesting spices, the taste was good and unusual and it did taste like they had made it in the restaurant and taken great care to get it right, which they did. We ordered 2 starters and then shared them, “salt and pepper bay squid with Devon chilli sauce and lime salad” (£7.5) and “Brixham rape-grown mussels with white wine and crusty bread” (£7). We loved both starters. The mussels were amazing and genuinely one of the best mussels I have ever had in my life. They were not chewy, they felt extremely fresh and just the taste was superior to what mussels usually taste like. The squid was equally good and I was a bit surprised as I took the first bite to find the squid so perfectly cooked, not overcooked and with a lot more flavour than I had expected.

The main courses were equally good. We ordered “Brixham cod with warm salad of marinated tomato, basil pesto and crispy ham” (£17.5) and “stone bass, crab risotto, parmesan, courgettes, lemon thyme” (£17.5)  as well as sides of heritage beetroots, fries and curly kale with hazelnut (all for (£3). All the dishes were beautifully presented. The thing we were less keen about was the actual taste of the fish, but that is because we were being super picky at this point, but the garnish around the fish was amazing. I loved the warm tomato salad with pesto, it was super delicious and so good with the cod. I also very much liked the crab risotto, it was slightly al dente, which my boyfriend loved and it had a lot of flavour. Also the crispy ham was just absolutely perfectly made. The sides were amazing as well. The fries had a lot of flavour in them, they were cooked just perfectly, slightly crunchy. The beetroot was amazing. They had used a variety of sizes and colours beetroot (and it was uneven so you could tell the beetroot was organic and good for you) and it had such an intense flavour I have not felt in a while. My boyfriend love the kale side and he thought the hazelnuts went so well together with kale.

Overall we were both so surprised about how good the meal was and how surprisingly different and good everything tasted. From just reading the menu you would not expect such incredible food. This Brixham farm where the ingredients come from seems to produce some amazing things, and they don’t charge you a lot for the food.

Price for 2 people with some alcohol and service charge: £99.61
Location: Torquay
Date: 16/ 08/ 14

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The Elephant (brasserie)
3-4 Beacon Hill TQ1 2BH
United Kingdom
The Elephant (brasserie) Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 4.5