The Elephant’s accolades and praise might lead to you expect a formal rather convivial and charming air to the place, which is renowned for not only its levels of comfort but its friendliness. Divided into two sections, with the Brasserie downstairs and the Room upstairs, it’s the Brasserie menus which draw the most attention –the skill of chef Simon Hulstone has drawn him praise as one of the leading lights on the UK culinary scene.
With both rooms decorated tastefully and comfortably, offering good views over the bay the establishment sits on, and a lot of effort made for service to be personal and friendly – while never overfamiliar – visitors to The Elephant would quite possibly walk away smiling were it not for the sheer inventiveness and quality of what’s on offer here.
Although the focus is on the best local ingredients and classically European techniques and dishes (moules mariniere, risottos made with – for example – local crab) the lengths which the kitchen goes to to add a touch of something special and individual to each makes them stand out.
Edible flowers, fine herbs, and dots of puree all adorn the plates, leading to a very artistic and appealing overall impression. But that’s not to say that flavour is sacrificed; skilful use of modern techniques and a good old-fashioned ‘less is more’ approach in some instances lead to it being at the forefront of each meal.
Classic combinations – braised pork belly with windfall apple puree, fillet of beef with truffled mash, plaice and tartare sauce – are given new leases of life and put together with the same eye for innovation and originality as the more leftfield assemblies.
Few chefs in England are busier than Simon Hulstone. Besides being captain of the senior English Culinary team, he’s in charge of the kitchen at both Torquay’s Michelin-starred restaurant The Elephant Brasserie and its adjoining The Room in the Elephant.
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Awards & accolades
The AA culinary accolade
The Michelin Guide
One Michelin star