Review by Collette & Chris Dyson
We’ve been fans of Elly Wentworth ever since her first appearance on Master Chef The Professionals in 2016 and we were thrilled to attend her guest chef event at The Elephant in Torquay last year. It was great news, therefore, to hear that Elly has taken the reins of the iconic Angel restaurant in Dartmouth; a popular foodie destination for many decades since it was established by Joyce Molyneux in 1974.
Following her more recent appearance on Masterchef Champion of Champions, we decided to book a table at The Angel for dinner. It turns out this was just in time because over 450 people have booked since the program aired. No doubt numbers like that will keep the 45 cover restaurant busy throughout much of January.
We were welcomed to The Angel by a young and enthusiastic front-of-house team, and we were shortly seated at a table close to the pass with a great view into the kitchens. Pre-dinner drinks arrived promptly after, including both Salcombe Gin and Wicked Wolf G&Ts (reflecting the restaurant’s commitment to local brands). Next, we perused the menu and were pleasantly surprised to find that the dishes sounded both refined-yet-simplified. At present, there is no tasting menu on offer; but Elly assured us that she is working on this and that guests will be able to indulge in this option soon enough.
Before our starters arrived, we were presented with two pre-starters. One of these was a light, rice crisp with avocado and curry mayonnaise; the other was an artichoke bonbon with truffle. We were also presented with a selection of breads, with a choice of butter. All of these were delightful and a great indication of what was to come…
To start, we opted for Roast Diver Scallops and Quail Two Ways. The scallop dish was perfectly cooked, served with a delicious chicken wing, hazelnuts, dates, and a fabulous jus. All of these components worked well together and we would gladly order the dish again. The quail starter was also cooked to perfection: two pieces of quail breast, a deep fried leg served with caramelized shallot, grape puree, goats cheese and golden sultanas. We both agreed that our starters were pretty exceptional and both plates of food were expertly presented.
Both of our main courses were simply divine. We chose Best End of Dartmoor Shepard Lamb as well as Day Boat Halibut. The lamb was really quite outstanding. Once again, Elly knows how to cook Lamb excellently and the sweet notes from the apricot married beautifully with the tender meat. Likewise, the halibut dish was soft and delicious. The remainder of our bread was even used to mop-up the lobster and verbena velouté because it was too good to waste!
It should come as no surprise that dessert was also stunningly presented. Our Apple souffle with maple & walnut ice-cream arrived at the table with a novel little pan decanter of syrup alongside it. Likewise our Honey mousse with salted granola and blackberry & pear sorbet was an absolute picture. Both plates of food proved to be a wonderful way to finish off a particularly excellent meal; but if sweet treats are not your thing you could also opt for a selection of Devon Cheeses.
The ‘Carved Angel’ will always be remembered as a top foodie spot in South Devon. However, what Elly Wentworth is bringing to the table at the Angel is a fabulous reinterpretation of quality British fare. In its new guise, The Angel – Taste of Devon is maintaining tradition while injecting new flare into proceedings. We doubt it will be long before this establishment earns its spurs in its own right. Elly is an exceptional chef and a lovely person. She deserves all the praise she is receiving and with her young, enthusiastic team around her we’re confident she’s going to make a huge impact on the Devon foodie scene.