Review by Collette
As we were driving down to Sparkwell last weekend, I couldn’t quite believe that it had been over a year since we last paid a visit to The Treby Arms. I felt both excited and intrigued to see what they would have in store for us; especially when considering the departure of it’s previous Head Chef, Anton Piotrowski. Assured by a family friend that the food was still fantastic, we thought it was high time to pay another visit to find out what new Head Chef Luke Fearon was bringing to the table…
From the outside one could be forgiven for thinking that The Treby Arms hasn’t changed at all. In fact, the same could be said of the inside too! However, after we had been greeted by the team and shown to our table by the restaurant manager Callum, it was clear that there’s a really vibrant and positive vibe surrounding the whole restaurant. I like the interior decor of The Treby. It’s warm and inviting. Yet Callum explained that there are plans to make changes to the aesthetic in the months to come, which is really exciting!
From the outset, we were made to feel most welcome and after a short ponder of the menu, we thought it best to opt for the chefs tasting menu to give the kitchen team a chance to show exactly what the new menu is all about.
The Tasting Menu is comprised of 7 courses and is £70 per person. First to the table were little pots of sweet crab meat, tangy yoghurt, grape and sorrel (see gallery below). This was accompanied by some little tartlets, made of light and crisp Feuille De Brick pastry and topped with a wonderful tomato compote and an aerated goat’s cheese vail. All together this was beautiful start to our meal. Light, crisp and full of flavour.
Next was a rather wonderful plate of delicately cooked Brill with pine nut butter, seaweed and seashore herbs. In my opinion, this fish dish was spot on and full of flavour. The sauce was well balanced and not over-creamy, while the addition of seaweed vinegar really elevated the rest of the flavours well.
Owen’s Sourdough ‘Our Way’
Unusually, the next dish to be served was sourdough bread. This was presented with both a homemade salted butter and a Marmite & Penny butter. By this point you’re probably wondering why the bread came to the table three courses in rather than at the very beginning? Me too! However, one should not question the simple pleasure of savouring fresh bread and butter. This particular sourdough was made by Jacka Bakery in Plymouth and it was soft on the inside and crusty outside. It tasted delicious and the Marmite & Penny butter was a real delight too.
Summer Truffle – Parmesano Reggiano and Aquerello Rice
We were presented next with what appeared at first to resemble two snowballs! Presented in little white pots, each serving of this course was topped with a dome of garlic foam that obscured the delicate rice and truffle underneath. This dish was intriguing, to say the least, and I’m pleased to report that every spoonful was packed full of flavour, from cheesy garlic to subtle truffle.
Arguably the main event of our lunch had to be the Yeast Glazed Duck Breast with Boudin, Summer Herbs, Pink Peppercorns and Pommes Dauphine. The duck was nicely cooked and the boudin (sausage) was a fabulous accompaniment; being moist and delicious. The herb puree was also full of wonderful flavours and I could have easily eaten a plate of it on its own!
‘Strawberry Not Strawberry’
The first of our sweet courses was the aptly named ‘strawberry not strawberry’. As the title suggests, we were presented with a sweet syrupy strawberry (coated in a fragrant jus de fraise) and another ‘strawberry’ made with a soft ewes curd centre. This was all topped with pretty edible flowers – which provided a hint of citrus – and made for a light and summery dessert.
If you’re chocolate lover then I guarantee you’d enjoy diving into our ‘final’ course. Sometimes chocolate desserts can be a little sickly and rich, but I was happy to find that this dish contained crisp, chewy, soft and gooey textures along with a light ice-cream that made eating it a pleasurable experience.
While I say that the signature chocolate dish was our ‘final course’, in reality there’s more to come.. I don’t want t spoil the surprise, but if you opt for the tasting menu, throughout your meal you’ll get to enjoy a few surprise elements too (one of which was my husband’s favourite dish of the day!). So, rather than let you in on all the details, we thought we’d share some photos with you and let you discover what these where when you pay a visit yourself!
The Treby Arms is doing a fine job of maintaining it’s reputation for excellence with Luke Fearon at the helm. While the restaurant undoubtedly earned its Michelin status through Mr Piotrowski years of hard work, I would go as far as to say that I actually enjoyed The Treby Arms even more during my second visit! You won’t be seeing any dry-ice or overly theatrical elements to this tasting menu; but what you will receive is plate after plate of beautifully executed food, made by an incredibly talented young team of chefs and served by a friendly and enthusiast front-of-house team.
Bravo Treby – keep up the good work!
Sparkwell, Plympton PL7 5DD