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Restaurant review: The Orange Tree, Torquay

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Tucked away on a side street near the harbour, The Orange Tree certainly qualifies for overused ‘hidden gem’ status, although it’s hard to deduce from the unassuming exterior what utter delectations await you inside, writes Rosanna Rothery

Scallops at The Orange Tree, Torquay

The charmingly restrained interior of white linen and candlelight provides a simple yet elegant backdrop for Bernd Wolf’s classic dishes. This time-honoured style of cooking doesn’t need drum rolls or trumpets: it speaks for itself.

VISIT for a friendly welcome and reliably lovely cooking inspired by Devon’s fishing and farming prowess.

Classic ingredient combos such as roasted loin of venison with chestnut puree and wild cranberries celebrate tried and true tastes that, when executed this proficiently, never fail to delight.

Bernd and wife Sharon (who looks after customers and keeps the wine flowing out front) met while working in Switzerland and recently celebrated a decade of serving exemplary dishes at what has become one of Torbay insiders’ fave foodie nights out.

DON’T VISIT for experimental and exotic; this is a menu of mainly quintessential British dishes enhanced with a few European treasures.

WE LIKED the perfectly cooked, locally caught brill with leeks and crayfish tail and the seriously tasty spätzle noodles (sautéed as in Bernd’s native Germany) with spinach, butternut squash and a Devon blue sauce.

INSIDER’S TIP Got a special occasion coming up? For an evening of refined dining, opt for the six course tasting menu.

What we ate (dinner)

Starter Brixham crab bisque with tomato, fennel and tarragon and king scallops
Main Loin of West Country venison with pumpkin seed crust
Pud Dark Belgian chocolate fondant with morello cherries and honeycomb ice cream

3 courses from £27.50

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