Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Best Meal Ever

Tonight we went out for the best meal I have ever eaten. We were given a voucher for a three-course meal for two at a local Michelin starred restaurant and I have to say I have never eaten food like this! The food was cooked to perfection and the presentation and service second to none. Some people eat out like this all the time and probably don’t think twice about it but for us it was such a treat. It would be a shame to become blasé about such delights, I feel!

The restaurant is The Elephant, and its many accolades are well deserved.

We added a few extras to what was covered by the voucher and were happy to spend the extra for the superb side dishes, wine and petits fours to accompany our coffee after dinner.

The restaurant is an interesting mix of traditional and quirky modern. It is one of a terrace of beautiful houses just off the sea front in Torquay, with iron balconies and arched entrances, and inside, high ceilings with plaster cornices. The décor is understated and the plain tables are finished with a very interesting paint effect to co-ordinate with the room décor in colour.

Immediately inside the front entrance, one is confronted with a dramatic wooden carving of an elephant on the stairs.

01 Entrance Hall with Elephant Carving

Elephants feature elsewhere as well.

04 Elephants Above Bar

The lamp on the bar, with the attractive domed shade, is an elephant, too.

03 Bar

05 Steps to Upper Restaurant

The table surface.

02 Painted Table Surface

The edges are nicely distressed and the finish is semi-gloss with a silky feel. They were obviously hand-painted and included some interesting marks and occasional geometric stencil shapes in brighter colours.

Here is the à la carte menu.

06 Menu 1

We began with Campari and soda as an aperitif, and while we were waiting for our meal, we were served some delicious crusty sourdough accompanied by an attractive quenelle of whipped butter (on the left in the next photo). We both had the duck liver parfait to start. This was served with wafer-thin sourdough croutons – my sourdough is never like this!!

10 Starter

We were given beautiful steak knives to eat our mains, which were a pleasure to use, although the serrated edge seemed scarcely necessary as the meat was so tender.

08 Knife

On the top of the handle, where you rest your finger, was a little bee.

09 Knife Handle

For his main, my hubby had more duck:

11 Duck Main

and I had the venison.

12 Venison Main

In both cases the meat was beautifully pink and juicy.

For the side dishes we chose fine green beans, piccolo parsnips and dauphinoise potatoes, all melt-in-the-mouth and deliciously seasoned. These were all served in small cast iron dishes.

13 Vegetables

The dessert menu.

07 Menu 2

My hubby had the cheese. On the left of the picture you can see one of the bright geometric shapes stencilled on the table top.

14 Cheese

I couldn’t resist the chocolate fondant tart. It was served with the most delicious ice cream and a piece of thin crispy stuff that I couldn’t identify but I think it was caramelised sugar.

15 Chocolate Dessert 1

16 Chocolate Dessert 2

When I cut into the tart, a sumptuous larva flow of chocolate deliciousness poured out. Was I in heaven? Almost!

17 Chocolate Dessert 3

Here is my hubby enjoying his wine. He’s looking very pink!!

18 N Enjoying Meal

And yours truly:

19 S Enjoying Meal

I decided on a small glass of rioja to accompany my meal, but my hubby chose a white wine that he was particularly fond of. I had not heard of this before, and after I had sampled it, decided this was the best wine I had ever tasted: Gewürztraminer, a delightfully fragrant wine from the Alsace region of France. He had chosen a large glass and I think I probably drank about a quarter of it – I kept telling him he shouldn’t have too much as he was driving – that was my excuse, anyway!!

This was the most sensational evening out. Next time we have something special to celebrate, we agreed that this is where we would go, and blow the cost! For tonight, we are more grateful than we can say, to our friends at church who passed the voucher on to us. What a lovely gift. What a stunning meal.


  1. Looks amazing! Glad you had such a nice time. I've recently become a fan of another rod your recommendations - the Yum Sing.

  2. I was enjoying reading all about your lovely meal and almost salivating at the thought of what you could have from the menu and then seeing how artistically the food was arranged when suddenly a huge banner appeared across the page. It was for "Rare Bird Ltd" - it has gone now and despite scrolling back and forth there is no sign of it. That was the name of my lovely friend Liz's company and it is just over a year since she passed.(10th October). I do miss her lovely smile and our almost weekly emails, I always called her "pure sunshine - inside and out". In fact if you went to my blog last week you would find that there was a Tribute post to her.
    How strange that this should happen! The banner was huge! Was it a message from Liz?
    Hugs, Neet xx 2


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