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The Elephant Review

Visited February 2017

The Elephant

Situated in the seaside town of Torquay, The Elephant is an established restaurant with a strong reputation. Formally a two-tier brassiere and restaurant operation, since 2016 the restaurant now runs as a single ground-floor space with views over the harbour. I was fully expecting an accomplished meal as I visited with my wife and young daughter for lunch on a Wednesday.

The welcome on arrival was warm and friendly and what's clear from the outset is that this is a genuinely child friendly venue. A well as a children's menu, a colouring book and crayons were provided which was a much appreciated touch. The restaurant itself is nice and airy with good spacing between the tables; the perfect environment really for a quality restaurant in a seaside town. But of course, I wasn't there to look at the walls, I was there for the food. There's a set lunch menu available but for me, the carte looked a little bit more appealing.

After some reasonable bread, albeit surprisingly served without butter (only oil), lunch for me began with a delightful Orkney scallop. It was an absolutely delicious plate, really top draw and one of the best scallop dishes I've eaten in some time. The accompanying croquette and nasturtium puree worked wonderfully with the scallop and it was presented beautifully too, I wouldn't change anything about the dish. My wife wasn't quite as impressed with her carrot and coconut soup but it was still a decent effort.

Next up for mains came a very accomplished loin of venison dish; whilst not quite as knockout as the starter, it was still a delicious plate of food. My wife's duck main went down a treat and was the highlight of her meal. I should mention as well that my daughter very much enjoyed her steak and chips.

For dessert, I went for the apple tart tatin. Although it was a neatly constructed dish, flavour wise it just didn't quite hit the spot for me; perfectly edible but just not as tasty as I had hoped. Similarly for my wife's chocolate and praline mousse, nice though it was it did lack a little bit of wow factor sadly.

Overall however, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to The Elephant. The food on the whole was excellent and the service was great too. It's always a tough sell to have this level of dining in a place like Torquay, and indeed during our visit several passersby perused the menus outside before deciding not to come in. It's a shame as whilst it's certainly not the cheapest restaurant in the area, I think it's a good value destination considering the quality of what was served.

Dress Code

It's a smart place, but also relaxed. Perhaps I'd go for a shirt at dinner.

Top Tip

Properly child friendly. There's a pay and display car park virtually opposite the restaurant.

Guide Ratings

I think the guides all have this just about right, although why the AA took nearly a year to reinstate the three rosettes after they were suspended, I have no idea.
Ratings Michelin Guide AA Guide Good Food Guide
At time of review Michelin Star AA RosetteAA RosetteAA Rosette 5
Our view Michelin Star AA RosetteAA RosetteAA Rosette 6

Group size: 2 adults & 1 child. Total bill (including service): £115.