The Elephant Restaurant ★ // Torquay // England

Simon Hulstone has an abundance of creativity and skill to amaze his diners. No doubt, a chef of his calibre would be running for a second star in London if he was in the right Park Lane hotel. A day trip to the Elephant Restaurant will certainly leave you with some striking memories.

Across Hulstone’s well balanced tasting menu, you’ll find what is missing at restaurants like Seven Park Place; flavour. The deconstructed samosa is a lovely starter, which is prettily dressed-up with crisp beetroot, a light goat’s cheese foam and a heady white truffle dressing. A truly surprisingly little dish that a lot of chefs would be proud to have created.

But it’s also the simplicity of dishes like the homemade tortellini, filled with ham hock, dropped on a sea of toffee pea velouté which really surprise.  Playing on traditional ham and pea soup, this course is so fresh and delicious, not to mention sublimely presented.

Onto the fish course and a succulent piece of pan-fried halibut is simply served with a classic verjus; sumptuous. Though the duck is just is good, cooked rosé to perfection, with its honeyed pak choi and celeriac purée accompaniments, giving you a smart display of French Chinese fusion.

Your experience will come to a polarising end with the somewhat unimaginatively named chocolate and banana combo, which delivers what most chefs can only aspire to.  With a smear of roasted banana and a strong chocolate ganache, the elements that make this course stand-out are the crispy feuillantine wafers and out-of-this-world salted butter ice cream. While the ice cream may not be to everyone’s taste, this dish is certainly not the disappointing, unimaginative end to a meal that diners often expect.

If you’re on the English Riviera, the Elephant Restaurant is definitely a ‘must eat’ destination; a real winner on beauty and flavour.

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