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“A perfect lunch”
Review of The Elephant

The Elephant
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Ranked #17 of 339 Restaurants in Torquay
Certificate of Excellence
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Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Business meetings, Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: The Elephant is a bright, informal restaurant which overlooks the beautiful Torbay harbour. It was the first restaurant in Torquay to be awarded a Michelin star which it maintains today. We aim to source all our ingredients locally and sustainably, many from our dedicated farm in Brixham. Please feel free to ask our front of house team about anything you are unsure of. Run by chef proprietor, Simon Hulstone and his wife Katy. Food is cooked by a talented team of chefs and served by friendly, professional team of staff. Diners can enjoy a delicious à la carte menu and set menus featuring local and sustainable fish, meat and vegetables, sourced from the surrounding area, in an informal and attractive setting. For an extra special culinary treat opt for the tasting menu. Expect friendly and knowledegable service without the formalities. All our dishes change regularly depending on which locally grown and reared (many sourced from our dedicated farm) ingredients are at their best.
Exeter, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
88 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“A perfect lunch”
Reviewed August 27, 2013 via mobile

We had a midweek lunch in the brasserie and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The brasserie is comfortable and airy though there are no views from the windows other than the road. There were only a few other diners so it's difficult to judge how noisy the room gets.

Natalia who was the main front of house was excellent. She could answer our questions about the menu and was efficient and friendly without being intrusive. She spotted that I had ordered meatless dishes so checked whether I was ok with their non- veggie Parmesan.

The set menu is very good value. We didn't order from this and ended with a bill of around £100 for the two of us for three courses plus coffee and petite fours and three glasses of wine. Given the quality of food, drink and service this represented very good value.

So, to the food. I had courgette flower beignets which came with a very pretty salad garnished with flowers. My companion had the seasonal salad which was full of local seasonal veg.

I had the veggie main on offer which was a melt in the mouth onion tart on broccoli purée with a crispy deep fried poached egg on top. This came with another pretty salad - much needed as the dish was very rich. Jeff had pollock which he pronounced perfectly cooked and he raved about the cubes of waxy new potatoes.

His pud was the pineapple carpaccio with chilli. This was again beautiful. The only slightly jarring note was my pud - ice- cream. It tasted heavenly - particularly the rhubarb sorbet. The presentation was poor though - three semi- formed scoops plonked in a bowl with no biscuit or other accompaniment. Given how beautiful the rest of the food looked this did strike an odd note.

There was redemption however in the shape of the petite fours with the coffee which looked and tasted great.

We could certainly see why the chef has a Michelin star and we will be back as soon as we have a good excuse.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank HazelRuth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElephantRestaurant, Owner at The Elephant, responded to this review, September 21, 2013
Thankyou for writing an indepth review of our Brasserie. I have passed your comments onto Natalia and she is so happy you had a great time. I will look into the ice cream presentation for you and look at changing. Hopefully when you return you can dine in our Michelin starred restaurant upstairs.

kind regards

Simon
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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965 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Great Food!”
Reviewed August 26, 2013

This is a nice place, so don't show up in flip flops and jeans. We ate in the downstairs brasserie and had a lovely meal over the August Bank holiday weekend. I had steak and my fiance had lobster. The food didn't blow us away, but we did think it was nice and we'd go again.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank audz311
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElephantRestaurant, Owner at The Elephant, responded to this review, September 21, 2013
Thankyou for taking the time to write. Glad you enjoyed the food in our brasserie. We try to cook food that is easily approachable to all and still use the best ingredients. You are more than welcome to turn up in flip flops and shorts in the brasserie in fact we have had guests in wetsuits !!! we look forward to seeing you again soon

regards
Simon
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Not worth the money”
Reviewed August 26, 2013

This was our second trip to Torquay. On our first we saw this place and wanted to go, but decided against it. We saved it for our last nights meal due to the amazing reviews.

First off, the ambiance was nice, but the temperature in the hotel was too hot. There was a lack of ventilation and no air conditioning.

The menu was full of seafood, and for a couple who don't really eat seafood, we were left with little choice. We opted for the bread and oils, which was great. The bread was fresh, full of flavour and you could tell it was recently baked.

My partner wanted the lobster as a main, but they didn't have any so he opted for duck and I got the fillet.

The meat was cooked well but lacked in flavour. It was so hot, I couldn't really enjoy the food. He felt the same and said his duck was nothing special. We both could barely finish out food (portions are small) because we felt miserable.

We ordered a bottle of wine, £30, which was ok, nothing special.

Once we finished our mains, we were left for 20 minutes waiting to be asked if we wanted to dessert... have been well overcooked at this point, we asked for the check. I was dying to the try the creme brulee. The waitress stopped by after we ordered the check to ask if we wanted dessert.

Having reflected on our experience, we weren't sure if the waitress didn't take us seriously because we weren't dressed to the 9's.... but the fact we left a glass of wine, no desert, and both were sick after.... we had to surmise, the place wasn't worth it...

The only plus is they give you a cute rock candy thing at the end with your bill... was an awesome touch.

Definitely wont be going back agin.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank lrl783
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElephantRestaurant, Owner at The Elephant, responded to this review, September 21, 2013
Thankyou for writing , although I m not sure how too respond. Firstly we arent a hotel we are small brasserie and a even smaller michelin starred restaurant with bar. The building is grade 2 listed so any changes such as air conditioning being fitted is out of the question. It was hot that weekend as it was august but to apologise for good weather is bizarre . We have seafood on the menu as we are a fishing bay and it would be strange not too but we also have duck, fillet, pork, lamb and chicken on the menu so to not like fish then order lobster seems again strange. We will serve you if you are wearing your pyjamas we have no dress code and certainly dont look down on people we are here to serve. Too say you were sick after is very worrying and you should of contacted the relevant authorities. we pride ourselves on our top rated hygiene award and all food is freshly prepared and cooked. We had no other reports of illness on your day of dining and we served just under 100 people.

Glad you enjoyed the rock , at least there was a happy end to your visit.

regards

Simon
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Exactly what we wanted”
Reviewed August 26, 2013 via mobile

This place totally nails fine dinning! We had the tasting menu minus the wine accompaniment but sommelier helped us choose a gorgeous Lebanese wine for our meal. Each course is a total treat, beautifully presented and delicious, highlight for us was the roe deer rolled in ash. The service was outstanding, as are harbour views that somehow make Torquay look attractive.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Timika24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElephantRestaurant, Owner at The Elephant, responded to this review, September 21, 2013
Thankyou for taking the time to write. I am glad you enjoyed your meal in our first floor michelin starred restaurant . We hope to see you again possibly try our brasserie next time.

kind regards

Simon
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Style over substance”
Reviewed August 26, 2013

My wife and I and two friends celebrated our 40th anniversary with a meal in the room. Extremely disappointed . The meal was a tasting menu , the portions for each course were so small it was hard to taste anything . I'am not a big eater by any means and have eaten at a few Michelin stared restaurants and never left hungry . With a final bill of just under £500 ( including drinks) I felt embarrassed for our friends as we had told them they would have a wonderful experience , not what I considered to be no more than a finger buffet. Chef please give your customers something to eat , keep the style just add some substance.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Tony H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElephantRestaurant, Owner at The Elephant, responded to this review, September 21, 2013
Thankyou for writing. I am sorry your visit this time didnt meet your expectations. Our first floor dining room does a daily changing 10 course tasting menu which we think is more than enough to try all our different creations from our own farm and local artisan suppliers. The courses are small but are well balanced and we would prefer you to leave satisfied rather than bloated . saying that I will look into the protein and carbohydrae value of the menu and increase where necessary . Alternatively our brasserie on the ground floor serves more approachable larger portions which are more recognisable and classic in style. thankyou and I hope we can see you again in the future.

regards
Simon
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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