Wednesday 13 May 2015

Restaurant Review: Taylor's, Tavistock

One of my best friends lives in Devon, on the edge of Dartmoor – a lovely place, if a little bit of a trek from London! The Other Half and I went to see her after her baby was born and decided to make a long weekend of it to offset the 5-hour each-way drive. I didn’t want to impose and ask to stay with her when she had a newborn taking up her attention, so instead we checked into a hotel in Tavistock for one night, and stayed with my parents the next night on the way back.
We visited a lovely donkey sanctuary just across the Cornish border in Gunnislake, which is well worth a visit if you’re in the area. We were there on a chilly week day in term-time so had the entire place to ourselves, and were followed around the park by a particularly friendly goat, and I was invited to groom a donkey and cuddle a few guineapigs by one of the workers, which was great fun.
We got to our hotel just before dinner; I’d done some research into places to eat in Tavistock (what did we do before TripAdvisor?) but hadn’t booked anywhere since I didn’t know exactly what time we would arrive. One that I had earmarked was just a couple of minute’s walk from our hotel and was highly rated on TripAdvisor: Taylor’s.
The front is quite unprepossessing and looks more like a shop-front from first glance, then as we got closer I thought it was a hairdresser’s due to the comfy chairs in the window and side table stacked with magazines. This is actually a sort of café area where you could have a coffee during the day, or sit while waiting for a table in the evening, at the front as the main dining room is upstairs.
The décor is lovely – no small-town hairdresser feel on the inside. Apparently it’s a listed building so they probably aren’t allowed to do too much to it - the exposed stonework is made a feature and at the same time restaurant is light and modern. We sat upstairs just off a spiral staircase and the setting felt quite romantic.
The menu is definitely British with a lot of local produce; we had a baked brie to start which we shared (though I think I ate more of it than my boyfriend, we were almost fighting over it!) and for my main course I had venison casserole with mashed potato and herb dumplings, as I remembered the friend we were visiting had once served us venison that was as local as it comes (she even knew the person who had killed it). The dish came with delicious mashed potato, and dumplings which are something I don’t usually like but the whole thing was delicious. The Other Half had a steak which came with onion rings (which again I stole from him) and chunky chips and a choice of sauces.
Tap water was brought at the start without being asked (which always makes me feel cheap when I say 'tap' if they ask 'still or sparkling') in a pretty blue carafe.

Though we were full, we had seen waiters walk past with dessert and couldn’t resist. The Other Half had a trio of desserts, consisting of chocolate mousse, sticky toffee pudding and crème brulee, which he said were delicious – the only complaint being they weren’t big enough as he could have eaten full-sized versions of all three! My dessert on the other hand was massive – the biggest piece of lemon meringue pie I’ve ever seen – and probably the nicest as well.

The food is quite pricey for the area but we have paid far more in London for food which wasn’t as good; the service was also excellent and overall we had a fantastic meal and wouldn’t hesitate to return next time we are in the area.

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