The Grosvenor Hotel Torquay has recently opened its doors after an extensive refurbishment program which has seen the hotel’s restaurant, bar, and a number of the bedrooms completely transformed. Group Regional Manager, Chris Bailey Lewis has said: “We strive to offer guests an experience that they will remember, and the completion of the refurbishment shows our dedication to this experience.”
The 3-star South Devon hotel, just a short stroll from Torquay’s seafront, is the perfect location to enjoy a break in South Devon with 22 miles of beaches, hidden coves and the stunning coastline that make up The English Riviera. Those wishing to explore the surrounding areas are spoiled for choice as there are plenty of attractions and activities for all the family to enjoy.
Perhaps the biggest change to the hotel is the new restaurant – John Burton-Race @ The Grosvenor. The two Michelin-starred chef has brought his European menu to Torquay, with a brand new seasonally focused menu which ensures that the finest produce remains at the heart of the restaurant whilst making use of international elements to enhance the best local produce available.
Hoping to bring some ‘Michelin magic’ to his group, Mr. Keith Richardson has said, “We’re very excited to be working with John. His background is in world-class dining, and that’s something we want to promote at The Grosvenor. He’s lived in Devon for many years, so he knows how to really harness the best of what Devon has to offer. We aim to make the hotel a real destination, not only for tourists, but for locals too. We want to serve the very best food possible, and John is certainly the man to do it.”
John Burton-Race has been involved in every aspect of the new restaurant, from the actual kitchen design to creating menus with a real seasonal focus thanks to the local produce. Although many would be daunted at the task of turning around the hotel’s somewhat infamous reputation, Burton-Race was adamant about what needed to be done and is keen to emphasize the importance of quality in producing food which won’t be forgotten. He says, “We’re so fortunate with the produce that’s on offer locally. The animal husbandry, the pastureland and the seafood of the county allows my menus to have a real seasonal focus.”
As well as benefitting from a new menu, and a celebrity head chef, the restaurant has enjoyed something of a facelift, courtesy of Interior Designer Elizabeth Elliott BA FRSA, whose portfolio includes work for a number of high profile clients including Conran, Paolo Gucci and Harrods. Elliott is renowned for her attention to detail – emphasizing period features and bring them right up-to-date through her use of colour and furniture; found both in the hotel’s archives and from local antique and salvage dealers. The new-look restaurant is decorated in a warm, luxurious palette of creams, reds and gold, which reflect the hotel’s opulent past.
The newly renovated Grosvenor Hotel is the perfect location for a break in Torquay. With sea views, and two revamped swimming pools to enjoy, and an exciting new restaurant, the Grosvenor provides an ideal break for both couples and families alike… not to mention man’s best friend. Beginning our trip to the English Riviera to enjoy dog-friendly Devon, we arrived at the Grosvenor with the adorable Puppy Gizmo whose first job was to check how comfortable the bed was in our spacious Superior Room.
All 47 rooms in the hotel have pleasant en-suite facilities and much of the accommodation benefits from sea views, as well as private balconies and terraces. Puppy Gizmo’s next job was to check the picturesque garden view from our hotel room window…
Then it was time for Puppy Gizmo to inspect the complimentary champagne and luxury chocolates that the hotel management had kindly provided for us.
Looks like Puppy Gizmo approves of the hotel’s taste in champagne… but he’s clever enough to know that the chocolates are for Mummy & Daddy and not his little canine tummy… so it was time to look around the rest of the room.
The Superior Rooms at The Grosvenor are large enough for you to have space to unwind, catch up with work or simply enjoy the comfort of your luxurious surroundings with your four-legged friend. The room features a Flat Screen TV with Freeview, en suite bathroom with luxury toiletries, a hairdryer conveniently located next to a large mirror, complimentary tea & coffee facilities plus still mineral water on arrival. Wi-Fi is available in the hotel’s public areas.
Leaving Puppy Gizmo snoozing in his dog bed, we went down to dinner in the hotel’s new restaurant which was to prove to be a sumptuous feast of flavours and torrent of textures thanks to the Michelin starred skill of John Burton-Race. As we perused the menu, my dining companion admired the view of the roaring open fireplace.
We were presented with bread for the table and an amuse bouche to begin our dining experience at John Burton-Race at The Grosvenor. The beautiful presentation of this opening dish, a vegetable terrine with lashings of truffle mayonaise heralded the sumptuous dinner which was to unfold.
To start, I chose the Cornish Scallops – sweet and succulent with a combination of nasturtium, pistachio and celeriac to complement the subtle flavours of the scallops contrasted by a meaty hit of black pudding and iberico ham that took this locally sourced scallop dish to the next level.
My dining companion went for the Cannelloni of Crab – this light tender pasta dish was scented with Asian flavours of lemongrass and ginger and served with glazed fennel and crab sauce. The lightness of this seafood starter whets the appetite in preparation for the culinary adventure ahead and allowed my dining companion to choose a heavier meat dish for his main.
For him, this was the Roast Chump of Lamb – cooked beautifully medium rare and served with caramelised onion purée, purple sprouting broccoli and a heady tapenade jus.
I had the Roast Quail – a generous portion with a homely comforting feeling emanating from the truffled gnocchi with the light touch of the giroles balanced by a rich Jerusalem artichoke purée. The superb addition of truffle with its earthy yet not overpowering aroma was a delight to the olfactory senses and challenges the quail to be the main attraction on the plate.
To finish I had the Pistachio Souffle served with hot chocolate sauce. Light and airy in texture with the distinctive nutty flavour of the pistachio complemented by the dark chocolatey sauce.
My dining companion chose an inspired dessert creation of the Sweetcorn Custard. This crazy yet winning creamy combination was served with toffee popcorn, quince sauce and popcorn ice cream continuing the corn theme. This inspired us to do a little research and according to YouTube you can indeed pop sweetcorn while still on the cob although popcorn and sweetcorn are different varieties of corn, it now makes sense why this combination works.
Having savoured these flavoursome dishes, we were suitably impressed by the new menu crafted by the talented John Burton-Race and it’s clear the Richardson’s new Executive Chef has weaved his Michelin magic into the fabric of the restaurant’s delightful menu. If only we had found room for the beautifully presented cheeses to round off the meal!
A special mention of James is a must, his humour made for a delightful evening and his knowledge of not only the menu but the extensive wine list was second to none resulting in a slight deviation to our usual wine choices. Very impressed with his Tasmanian white – Bay of Fires, Pinot Gris where a pear flavour erupted on the nose with a subtle aftertaste of rosewater on the palate. Who could resist an intense Barossa Valley Merlot with the lamb, another superb choice moving away from the Cab Sauv to a much more full bodied experience. If you have the pleasure to meet James and are a fellow foodie, do ask for his top tips on places to dazzle your taste buds in Belfast. We were inspired and might need to take a trip over there soon. For those who want to try another hotel closer to Devon… The Grosvenor is just one of the five very individual hotels which comprise the Richardson Hotel Group, all of which are situated in the most stunning locations on the South Devon and Cornwall coasts. A privately owned business, the Richardson Hotel Group has a passion for great British hotels. All of the group’s properties have stunning period architecture which are lovingly restored and individually appointed bedrooms many of which benefit from breath taking views. With John Burton-Race @ The Grosvenor joining the group’s other restaurants, it is clear to see just how committed Richardson are to providing excellent service and award-winning dining using the best locally sourced produce to deliver the best possible experience to all guests including the four legged variety!
The Grosvenor Hotel
Belgrave Road, Torquay TQ2 5HG