Home RestaurantsChains The Grand Hotel, Torquay

The Grand Hotel, Torquay

Review by Collette

We’ve got a bit of a soft spot for The Grand Hotel, Torquay. Having stayed there for the first time some 28 years ago, and again last year, we were pleased to find the same great quality food and service three decades on. With arguably one of -if not the – best views of The English Riviera, this elegant Victorian hotel boasts over 132 individually styled bedrooms, spa facilities, and AA rosette ‘Restaurant 1881’.

The Grand Hotel Torquay

The Hotel

We arrived at The Grand at around 2pm on a sunny Saturday afternoon and after checking in we made a beeline for the lounge and the promise of comfy, plush seats. From there, we were able to soak in the fabulous sea views of Torbay and make the most of our complimentary hot drinks voucher that had been given to us on arrival – which for the record, I think is an inspired idea, as I am always ready for a cup of tea after a long car journey. The lounge was humming with guests and while a wedding reception was in full flow, a friendly member of staff was quick to serve us our drinks and some complimentary cookies.

The Grand Hotel Torquay

Refreshed and more than a little relaxed after our welcome, we decided to venture out into the afternoon sunshine and take a stroll along the seafront. The sea is literally minutes from The Grand’s entrance and on our walk we passed numerous restaurants and the Princess Theatre, before arriving at the harbour.  It’s definitely a walk I’d recommend – especially if you pay The Grand a visit during the summer months.

The Grand Hotel Torquay

The Rooms

Our room was situated on the second floor of the hotel and we had a fantastic sea view, along with a small balcony, where we sat and sipped on a second hot drink as we watched the sailing boats heading along the harbour. The room – although in need of a little bit of a re-decoration – was immaculately clean and a nice size for the two of us. There was a triple wardrobe, with plenty of hangers, and an iron and ironing board. The room itself had all the traditional amenities, including a seating area with table, tea and coffee making facilities, and even a little complimentary  plate of fudge, which was a sweet added touch!

The Grand Hotel Torquay

 Alongside cleanliness and comfort, my husband and I  like our hotel’s to have somewhere to relax and read a book, and of course, somewhere to enjoy great food and good service in the evening. So, so far The Grand Hotel was ticking all the boxes. It may not be a cutting-edge boutique hotel, but the service is impeccable and they were going the extra mile to accommodate us!

Dinner is Served

Restaurant 1881 – named after the year that The Grand Hotel was founded – offers a seasonal a la carte menu,  designed to showcase Executive Head Chef, Mark Brankin’s passion for fusing seasonal and local ingredients. During our last visit to the hotel we remember being very impressed by the food on offer, and so we couldn’t wait to see what would be in store upon our return. As we took our seats. our lovely waitress Ena brought us complimentary water for the table and a selection of homemade breads.

The Grand Hotel Torquay


To start, I opted for the Smoked Salmon Mouse with Wasabi, Cherry Tomatoes and Lemon. This was a nicely presented dish, with lovely jewels of colour thanks to the cherry tomato and a sprinkle of micro herbs. The portion size was also very generous. The mouse was light and fresh, with subtle citrusy flavour, and the wasabi cream was quite mild (good if you’re not a fan of heat). I enjoyed the mouse with some of the delicious freshly baked bread from the kitchens and overall it was a lovely start to a meal.

Grand Torquay

My partner chose to start with the Chicken and Crab Satay, Spiced Cashew Nuts, Radish, Cucumber and Lime Custard. At first I thought this sounded like an unusual combination! However, the dish worked very well. The crispy satay was packed with flavour and the quenelles of creamy chicken and crab ate well with the custard. The lime custard actually enhanced the rest of the flavours in the dish and overall it made for an unusual but enjoyable starter.

Grand Torquay

Throughout our meal we were catered for by three great members of staff. Ena – our waitress – was always on hand with extra bread and water. Our sommelier, Felix, had a fantastic sense of humour and we remembered his great service from last time we visited; and the Restaurant Manager, Chris, kept everything running like clockwork.


For my main I chose the Duck Breast with Celeriac, Rhubarb and Five Spice. The duck was soft and pink – just as I like it – and the jus had just the right amount of five spice. The soft, slightly sour rhubarb and the buttery, flavour-packed celeriac both came together to make an overall lovely dish.

Grand Torquay

My partner had Lamb Loin with Wild Garlic, Carrots and Goats Cheese. Although as a rule he prefers the more flavoursome cuts of lamb (the ones with more fat essentially ) he did enjoy this dish. The goat’s cheese with the wild garlic was a great combination and the lamb was cooked very well.

Grand Torquay


For me, dessert had to be Steamed Chocolate Sponge and Vanilla Custard. How does that saying go? The proof is in the pudding? A chocolate dessert does not have to be sickly or stodgy! And for me this seemingly, basic looking sponge and custard proved it! I really enjoyed the Creamy vanilla flecked custard, with the delicious light chocolatey sponge the perfect end to a meal on this occasion, just lovely, and gone in no time at all!

Grand Torquay

My partner went for the Cheese Selection and had the option to choose from either three or five different cheeses. In true fashion – he opted for five cheese – and was presented with a nice varied selection, that included the likes of Sharpham Elmhirst and a chilli and black pepper Dorset Cheddar. These were served with homemade chutney, apple slices, celery sticks and crackers. I hate to receive a cheeseboard without chutney or fruit – so this board definitely gets the thumbs up from us.

Grand Torquay

We finished our meal with a mint tea and a coffee, before moving on into the bar area for a night cap and a brief chat with the bar manager (who was very obliging and happy to talk us through their wide selection of spirits). It was a lovely end to a relaxed and enjoyable evening. Needless to say, we were not disappointed by the quality of food and the tremendous level of service.

Lasting Thoughts

It’s not hard to see why The Grand Hotel has earned a reputation for excellence. I would be lying if I said that the building wouldn’t benefit from a spot of redecorating, as it does have a bit of a tired feel to it in places – like many period buildings do. But in the same respect, you cannot flaw the quality of service.  The staff are incredibly welcoming and always go the extra mile to accommodate guests. The food on offer at Restaurant 1881 is made to a very good standard and if you’re looking for a relaxing foodie break, you won’t go far wrong with The Grand.



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