Genuinely excellent dishes, carefully presented, very worthy of its newly awarded Michelin Star (2017)
As I was in the county region, it made absolutely no sense not to visit this newly promoted 1 Michelin starred venue in the seaside town of Ilfracombe. Thomas Carr in the kitchen and his brother running front of house have a small and welcoming restaurant showcasing some really quality dishes. The only menu available for the evening I was present was the tasting menu of 7 courses, but as this was £65 this was a very reasonable price and as I had spent nearly two hours driving there, I was more than happy to have a more substantial meal. This turned out to be hugley worth it, gaining some excellent and original things in the process.
My intolerance of molluscs led me to not having the scallop dish however, the price of the menu was adjusted accordingly (-£5) which, for the overall menu price seemed very reasonable. The opening crab with crab mayonnaise and thyme oil was sheer delight – so creamy and light at the same time. The hake was a stroke of genius with the tempura batter piece and gorgeously done fillet sitting on top of a white tomato emulsion with a clever use of the tomatoey and non-colouring pulp, making possible to have its white finish. That, with the bacon pieces and cherry tomato was a sensational dish – a shame it may be coming off the menu soon, so my advice is get there quick before it goes(!).
The sea bass with light and its accompanying broth was very fresh and served with highly flavoursome squid pieces and the most succulent and juicy prawns I have ever had. The venison with its garlic mash was just lovely and the fritters, made in live time (not made hours earlier and kept in the fridge for mass production, resulting in a much more moist and luxurious centre) were gloriously moist. The recommended glass of Côtes Du Rhône went very well with the venison and came from a very reasonable wine list all round.
Finally, two desserts that were both a total pleasure. Although the frozen passion fruit parfait was quite hard (as one would expect) and tricky to control, it was nicely toned down (not too sweet) with meringue covering it. A lovely plain doughnut with superb cheese cake sauce completed that dish and was very good on the mouth and the eyes. The warm chocolate cake was another belter of a dish with its softened but lovely flavour and great design making it fun to chip away at its long stem in equal parts and enjoy a bit more than the usual slice.
It finished off what I can only describe as a superb meal that was a consistently strong 1 Michelin star meal throughout. I only had two niggles which were the (deliberately) charred toast beneath the crab which I personally thought wasn’t necessary and the honeycomb on the final dish being slightly darker than my palate enjoys but these are minor points in an otherwise great meal. At 3.5 hours it took longer than I would have expected, but given the choice of waiting longer for that result rather than lesser quality more quickly, I would obviously go with the former every time.
A cracking meal had here showing clear talent and some lovely flavours at the same time – well worth the drive if you live in the SW counties.
Food Grade: 87%
Location (Click google logo for directions)