We discover a fine dining gem in the heart of Kingsbridge, South Hams.
I’ve been writing The Devon Foodie for around 3 years now and it’s safe to say that it’s not very often that I learn about a Devon restaurant I wasn’t aware of before. Especially when said restaurant is in Kingsbridge, where I happen to spend quite a bit of time. So, when I received an invitation to visit Twenty Seven by Jamie Rogers I was a little perplexed to say the least…
A quick Google search of Twenty Seven by Jamie Rogers brings up no less than 91 ‘Excellent’ Tripadvisor reviews and a #1 ranking for restaurants in Kingsbridge. Huh? How on earth did this one fly under my radar for so long? In a world where everyone and their dog seems to consider themselves a food critic these days (and yes, I am aware of the irony of such a statement) it can be quite difficult to maintain a faultless online presence. What’s more, with the average price of Twenty Seven’s evening main courses coming in at around £25, chef Jamie Rogers must be doing something right to be receiving such praise. Needless to say, I was intrigued and keen to try his food for myself…
Where is Twenty Seven by Jamie Rogers?
It’s slightly more forgivable that I hadn’t heard of the restaurant before when you learn where it is. While Twenty Seven is by no means situated on a back ally, it is tucked away on 9 Mill Street. It’s a stones throw from the High Street, next door to a popular Indian restaurant and a busy, family-friendly local.
If the prices, decor, and tasting menus are anything to go by then the restaurant is clearly catering for discerning foodies and lovers of fine dining. When we first arrived at the Twenty Seven – at 8pm on a Thursday night – we joined several other couples in the downstairs bar, where we sat down to G&Ts and browsed the menu. We were surprised to find that a fairly well-hidden restaurant in Kingsbridge was so busy at such as time and I was again reminded of those outstanding online reviews. We then headed upstairs to the main dining room where we spied several more tables of two and a group of adult friends. While there’s nothing about Twenty Seven that implies that it is not family friendly, I’d pen this restaurant as a more grown up and/or romantic destination.
The main dining room is situated in a light, attic-like room with a lofted ceiling and a modest number of covers. The decor is fairly understated with the exception of the colourful canvases on the wall, featuring Jamie’s dishes. There’s also a subtle soundtrack of music playing in the background as you enjoy your meal.
What is the food like at Twenty Seven by Jamie Rogers?
According to the website, Jamie Roger’s foodie mission is simple. He ‘uses fresh local produce [that is] skillfully prepared and served in a relaxed vibrant environment. Quality is key, so Jamie only sources and cooks with the best produce from nature’s larder. Matched with quality wines and cocktails they guarantee an unforgettable experience.’
This all sounded fabulous. Although, when you regularly eat out in Devon you’ll hear a near-identical ethos from every restaurant you visit. Everyone agrees that ‘local is best’ and nobody is about to own up to using anything less than top quality ingredients. So, to get a genuine sense of what Jamie is capable of in the kitchen, we were keen to sample his 6-course tasting menu (£65) with matching wine flight (+ £25pp). Each course is designed to demonstrate his technical prowess and his ability to pair flavours and textures.
Highlights from our dinner included an exquisite dish of Creedy Carver Chicken Thigh. This was presented like a sort of ‘updated’ Ham & Eggs dish with smoked ham, foie gras, rhubarb & hazelnut candy. It was also complemented by a delicate glass of Roubertas Comte de Provence Rosé, France. Normally, I would veto a dish containing foie gras. However, I accidentally read over this ingredient when agreeing to the tasting menu. As much as I don’t agree with foie gras as a concept, the dish was absolutely divine and I would willingly order it again (which is top praise from me!).
Another fabulous dish was the Brixham Lemon Sole with Beesands lobster, pickled fennel, soft leeks & crab fumet. Each element came together beautifully and demonstrated Jamie’s talent for balancing delicate flavours.
We weren’t quite as enamoured with the Salcombe Dexter Fillet of Beef with truffle potato & crispy short-rib. While the meat was deliciously succulent, there were a few too many puree elements to this plate of food and we both felt that this slightly tipped over the balance between the textures.
As expected, the Chocolate & Olive Oil Delice with saffron cake, yuzu sorbet & caramac sauce, was stunningly presented and very generously sized as well. Likewise, the Isle of Wight Blue Cheese Waffle with salted caramel was delightful (if a little unexpected).
Jamie Rogers is clearly a very talented chef with a strong eye for detail. At times, there were arguably a few too many complicated elements on one plate (the Fillet of Beef for example), but I really admire the fact that Jamie is representing traditional fine dining at a time when chefs are shying away from this more ambitious style of cooking. His tasting menu gives you a very clear understanding of his approach to cooking and showcases a strong range of skills. This is a chef demonstrating what he does best and I recommend trying this menu if you’re going to visit yourself.
What about the drinks?
The drinks at Twenty Seven are sourced locally, from nearby Barrel & Still on Kingsbridge High Street, and are curated by their in-house sommelier, Gordan. Throughout our tasting menu experience, we were consistently impressed by Gordan’s choices. As well as the standard wine pairings (which nicely complimented each dish) he also showed creativity in matching courses with a lager, a Lagrima White Port and a Diplomatico Reserva Rum. So often tasting menus don’t deviate from wine (not that I’m complaining) and it shows a greater understanding of beverages as a whole to pair with more unexpected glasses.
Would The Devon Foodie recommend Twenty Seven by Jamie Rogers?
Absolutely! It’s increasingly difficult to find standout independent restaurants that can offer consistently high standards of food. Jamie Rogers is doing a fabulous job honing his craft and has a talented young team around him who are doing a great job maintaining an excellent standard of service.
Book your table by visiting www.jamierogerschef.com or by calling 01548 288847