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The New Angel*, Dartmouth, Devon [Restaurant Review]

Friday, 23 October 2009

Firstly, an apology – I’m feeling rather lazy (and being distracted by my new PSP) so this review will be more to the point and contain less waffle than my usual ones.


New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 4
Dartmouth, Devon

Parents wanted to go to Cornwall, so I took it upon myself to search out some good eats nearby. This one Michelin starred sounded pretty good and was geographically well placed on our return leg so it fit the bill just fine. Plus, I’ve seen head chef John Burton Race on television in the past so he must obviously be good! Oh and The New Angel was also AA’s restaurant of the year in 2005.


New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 11

I have to admit the location of the restaurant seemed really ideal, situated pretty much in town centre (as far as I can tell anyway) right opposite the harbour. Anyway, all of us except from the PigPig made selections from the lunch menu (£25 for three courses sounds quite reasonable).


New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon


New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 2

The bread was freshly baked (the waitress alluded that it was baked on site) and marvellously nice and warm when we laid our hungry paws on it. Out of four choices, the favourite amongst us was the brioche with powdered olives; the bread itself was pillowy soft and just a little bit sweet while the olives added an interesting aroma to the bread. The walnut bread was also pretty good with a very generous dose of nuts involved.


New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 3


New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 1
Brioche with powdered olives


For my starter I had “Nick Trants rare breed pork, cured and served with glazed fig”. The first result from Google for “nick trant” is a graphic designer in Madrid so he must be doing really well to also rear these fine pigs. The ham was actually quite fine in flavour and softly textured, somewhat similar to Parma ham and went a treat with the sweetness of the fig.


New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 13
Nick Trants rare breed pork, cured and served with glazed fig


My dad meanwhile had a “Grilled day-boat red mullet served with a lightly spiced mussel and saffron broth” which was actually the recommended choice by the waitress. I can see where she’s coming from as the fish was very fresh and the grilled texture and smell is a nice contrast to the broth it was swimming in (hehe, get it?). To be honest though, the broth and accompanying linguine was good enough to be served on its own as it was spiced just enough and not too creamy.


New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 12
Grilled day-boat red mullet served with a lightly spiced mussel and saffron broth


The last starter is my mom’s, “Pam Wills Dexter beef, smoked and served with horseradish cream and beetroot”. While visually very pretty, I felt it was somewhat tasteless – I could smell and taste the smokiness but couldn’t taste the beef.


New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 14
Pam Wills Dexter beef, smoked and served with horseradish cream and beetroot


Moving onto the mains, I had the “Rare-breed pork belly, glazed and served with creamy mashed potatoes, puy lentils and buttered cabbage”. Starting from the top of the picture, the crackling was nice although perhaps a bit too crunchy (Robert’s roast pork in Pudu, Kuala Lumpur is still undeniably tops). The apple sauce hidden underneath has a good balance of sweet and sour. Meanwhile, the pork itself had just enough fat to keep me happy (fat’s not only good for flavour but texture, but too much is just sickening really) and cooked until succulent and tender. While the jus is quite light, it added sufficient taste to enhance the pork flavour.


New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 9
Rare-breed pork belly, glazed and served with creamy mashed potatoes, puy lentils and buttered cabbage


My brother’s “Wild black bream, grilled and served with butter beans and chorizo” seemed decent enough as he ate it. I confess that I don’t remember much from the sample I got but I think the fish itself was good although cooked rather plainly and the butter beans beneath it was really necessary to give the dish more body.


New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 10
Wild black bream, grilled and served with butter beans and chorizo


However, the best main was definitely the PigPig’s “Fillet of South Devon beef with fricassee of bone marrow, smoked bacon and Umberleigh snails”; an option off the ala carte which cost more than the three course lunch set menu. I can totally understand why though as the beef was perfectly medium rare and very tender and the sauce was just... well I wanted to lick the plate clean if that’s sufficient to describe how good it was. It was very rich, flavourful and it had the flavours from the bone marrow and bacon. The snails on the other hand was oddly slimy – I’ve only really ever eaten escargot baked with garlic so I’m not particularly proficient with snails but it did feel a bit odd.


New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 8
Fillet of South Devon beef with fricassee of bone marrow, smoked bacon and Umberleigh snails


Now for the dessert course, initially we had planned to share three plates among us five, but the “Warm chocolate tart with Devon clotted cream” sounded so good that both me and my brother wanted one each. Luckily too as one of the very rich dark smooth chocolate filling was definitely not enough to go around, full though we were.


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Warm chocolate tart with Devon clotted cream

Unfortunately, the “New Angel vanilla conde served with a damson compote” was a bit weird for my tastes; I’m not particularly sure what a ‘conde’ is but the dessert appeared to be a rice pudding. Biting into the dish, individual rice grains can be felt which I for whatever reason found odd.


New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 6
New Angel vanilla conde served with a damson compote


Anyway, the “Warm damson and almond tart” chosen off the ala carte menu was pretty good. It was essentially an almond tart with slices of damson (a type of plum) scattered about.


New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 5
Warm damson and almond tart


To wrap things up, the lunch cost about £30 from memory but we didn’t order any wine and just had tap water (I’m one of those that can’t really taste the difference between Evian and Tesco bottled water, so why bother?).

Food – 8.0
Service – 6.0
Atmosphere – 5.0
Value – 6.0


While not perfect, in general the food here is actually very good and on par with the other Michelin starred restaurants in London; I don’t recall making many negative points about the food. However, the décor does feel a bit sterile and it lacks any real sort of character.

Would I eat here again? Let’s just say I wouldn’t particularly drive 5 hours from London for this, but I wouldn’t mind dropping in again if I was in the area; a bit like the Sportsman Seasalter really.

PS. Sorry, I lied about it being short, I tried though.

The New Angel
2 South Embankment,
Dartmouth,
Devon,
TQ6 9BH.
Tel:+44(0)1803 839425

Official website


Check out:

Around Cornwall --> Here

Rick Stein’s Fish & Chips, Padstow, Cornwall --> Here



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