Review by Collette
Frequent readers of The Devon Foodie will no doubt recall our recent visit to The Grovsner Hotel in Torquay, shortly before it made the transition to becoming John Burton-Race Restaurant with Rooms. During our last visit the restaurant we were mightily impressed by the food & hospitality and we were intrigued to see how the establishment would fare under it’s new title. So, when we were asked back down to Torquay to try Burton-Race’s brand new bistro style menu, we couldn’t say no.
Priced at just £19.95 per person – for three-courses – the restaurant’s new bistro menu signals something of a return to Burton-Race’s foodie roots, reminisce of his days working for the legendary Raymond Blanc in Oxford. It is Burton-Race’s hope that these new ‘purse friendly’ dishes will entice locals & holiday makers alike to come and dine at the restaurant and maybe even be tempted stay overnight in one of the establishment’s many rooms.
The first difference we noticed since our previous visit was that the dining room appeared to be more uniform and a number of little decorative tweaks had been made throughout the hotel. This put us in a hopeful mood for what was to come (not that we had any complaints last time) and our lovely waitress, Cosmina, was quick to bring us our drinks and explain the new menu.
I started my three-courses with the Quail. When this dish arrived, the delicious quail meat was beautifully soft and packed with flavour. It came accompanied by a finger bowl – as the best way to eat these delicate little legs was ‘lollipop’ style – and the meat was further complimented by a herb sauce and meaty jus. I also enjoyed the sweet pecan nuts and soft quails eggs. Overall, this was an outstanding dish to start my evening meal.
My husband chose the Roasted Roscoff Onion Tortellini of Goats Cheese. This was a simple yet well balanced plate of food. The plump tortellini were filled with a subtle goats’ cheese centre and a tasty broth added a real depth to the dish. These were all finished off with a sprinkling of crisp onions. Again, this was a fabulous starter.
For my main, I opted for the Red Mullet. What can I say, this was perfectly cooked, with crispy skin and wonderful flavour. The vegetables were nicely done and the green olives added an unexpected complexity to the dish. My husband’s main was the Daube de Boeuf Bourguignon with Creamy Mash. This generous portion of beef was so beautifully cooked that it collapsed at the touch of the fork and was accompanied by a deep, rich sauce and softened onions & mushrooms. It was absolutely delicious.
For dessert, my husband chose the Passion Fruit Parfait with Yogurt Gel and Tropical Fruit Salad. This was a refreshing fruity dish that proved to be a big hit. Meanwhile, I was tempted by the Apple Tarte Tatin with Vanilla Seed Ice Cream. This classic dessert is a favourite of mine and this one was no exception to the rule. It had a crisp base layered with lovely soft caramelized apples and a scoop of vanilla seed ice cream. It was just the right amount for me and it was a lovely end to a pretty much perfect bistro meal.
Our evening at John Burton-Race Restaurant with Rooms left us with no doubt about Chef Burton-Race’s immense talents. Despite the hotel’s touristy locations, we can wholeheartedly say that it is by far the best value restaurant we have encountered since we began writing The Devon Foodie. After enjoying two stunning meals made by Burton-Race, it is safe to say that we will be spending a lot of time in Torquay this upcoming next year..
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