Restaurant Review: Twenty Seven by Jamie Rogers, Kingsbridge in Devon
For someone like me, who loves food and refuses to leave the beauty of the South Devon town she grew up in (I mean, beaches, Dartmoor, stunning coastal walks, it’s awful it really is…), I just love it when I don’t have to travel far to enjoy a top quality restaurant.
Enter Jamie Rogers and the recently-launched, Twenty_Seven in Kingsbridge. He combines 16 years of experience gained working in and around some pretty impressive West Country restaurants (Dartmoor’s 2 Michelin starred, Gidleigh Park and No6 Padstow to name a few) with a fantastic ethos about sourcing food within a 30-mile radius (why wouldn’t you raid South Devon’s larder!) I love that the menus are printed on recycled paper – ‘To make not only the food sustainable’ and vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters alike are catered for as well as lovers of great wines and cocktails.
Talking to Jamie it was great to hear of his ambitions and enthusiasm towards his restaurant, staff, food and the industry in general. He is willing to try new things and adapt to what his customers want and I think he will succeed with this attitude. Kingsbridge is full of lovely eateries specialising in cuisine from all over the world but there is nothing like this. Locally Dartmouth had its Michelin star and has the celebrity chefs, Salcombe has a wealth of restaurants with those gorgeous views but somehow Kingsbridge hasn’t had the same recognition, until now.
It was a hot summer’s evening when Nick and I visited so a glass of refreshing rosé Prosecco was a very welcome start. There’s a bar area on the ground floor with fresh, white décor with rose gold accents and mirrors along one wall with windows along another and a small bar. The drinks selection is abundant – the cosmopolitan was delicious (at least I think it was the cosmopolitan, it could very well have been the absolute fizz – it was after the meal and I was a little tipsy by then!) and the twist on Nick’s espresso martini made it the best version of this classic I had tasted!
Back to the food and the open-plan restaurant is situated upstairs with mirrors galore, white painted stone walls holding images of food and wood beams offering a rustic, yet fresh, space. Grey high-backed chairs sit around white-clothed tables and instrumental jazz fills the room throughout the evening to create a relaxing environment.
There were a varied selection of dishes on the main menu (there’s a six course tasting menu too) and it was hard to make a decision – everything sounded great! While we thought about it we had the onion confit and parmesan bread with horseradish butter – the warm, crusty bread was lovely and the perfect dipper for the flavoursome and foamy confit. The choices were made and we chatted with the young sommelier and listened to his recommendations for accompanying wines – with his experience, knowledge and confidence I felt he was an asset to the restaurant and his suggested Malbec was a winning choice.
I love goats’ cheese, and beetroot (thanks to my Dad forcing me to try it again and again!) so for my starter I couldn’t resist the Modbury beetroot, Vulscombe goats’ cheese, truffle, honey and polenta (£8). It arrived like a little piece of artwork, I almost didn’t want to touch it! It looked great, it tasted great and it was very delicately put together with a lot of effort clearly involved, three little parcels of cheese sat atop thinly sliced beetroot and surrounded a crisp polenta cake. I couldn’t decide if the portion was a little small or I was just being greedy but I wanted more. I’m going with greedy!
Nick had the hand-dived scallops, morcilla croquette, cauliflower, lime, mandarin gel (preserved 2017) (£12). He felt it was very autumnal with the blood pudding and loved the mixture of rich and tangier flavours with the naturally soft, sweet scallops – he said all flavours complemented each other beautifully. Again a lot of effort had been put towards the presentation and there were a good mix of textures on both plates.
We were offered a surprise course of Start Bay crab, pickled cucumber, Champagne sauce and viola (£10) and were so happy about this, it turned out to be my favourite dish of the evening! Crab isn’t something I would normally go for but this dish changed my mind – it was light, summery and beautifully flavoured with crunchy cucumber balls and a tasty sauce to soak up the crab. I would very much recommend this dish.
For my main course it had to be the fillet of Dexter beef, shallots and wasabi confit, potato ‘risotto’, pancetta and thyme jus (£28). I love beef and I thought the accompaniments sounded interesting. The portion of beef served medium/rare was very generous and the quality, just brilliant. The plate was full of differing flavours and I could have drank the rich, sweet gravy. Nick went for the Rose Farm Little Piggy Went to Twenty_Seven with bubble and squeak, hazelnuts, pineapple and sage (£24). He really enjoyed the selection of meats presented in various ways, the crunch in the hazelnuts and the sweetness of the pineapple, which complemented the other earthy tastes.
It is a fact that I’m not great at sharing my food but if it means I can have a sweet dessert and some cheeses, I’ll happily oblige! We opted for ‘Jamie and Dan’s three favourite cheeses’ with Fudge biscuits, seasonal chutney and pickled celery (£9) and the frozen white chocolate, popcorn, banana and passion fruit (£8).
I would have liked to have seen a selection of cheeses and picked my own and think the chunks of cheese could have been slightly bigger, however I did enjoy the three that were provided and the fruity accompaniments were delicious, as was the wine. The sweeter dessert looked stunning and as good as any I have sampled in any Michelin-awarded eatery I have visited. The dense, cold, creamy chocolate was sweetened with dots of tangy passion fruit purée, creamy banana sorbet and the super-crunchy popcorn added a sweet, buttery flavour. It was colourful, delightful, and the dessert wine that was chosen suited it perfectly.
All in all we enjoyed everything, from the relaxed feel of the place to the quality wines to the excellent food. I wouldn’t be surprised to return in a year or two and find Twenty_Seven with some major awards under its belt. The staff were so friendly and welcoming, the South Devon location is lovely and the food is top-notch. If you’re a lover of tasty, creative food and gorgeous cocktails I highly recommend a visit. I can’t wait to return, we finally have a place that can put Kingsbridge on the culinary map.
Address: 9 Mill St, Kingsbridge TQ7 1ED / 01548 288847