Working the New Normal – Restaurant Twenty_Seven by Jamie, Devon.
A meal of fish and chips is one of the most ubiquitous takeaways in the UK, renowned worldwide and universally loved. I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy this national dish even when it is of a mediocre quality, eaten on a drizzly day at the seaside. Restaurant Twenty_Seven by Jamie has taken things to a higher level where chef Jamie Rogers, is plating up his posh version. This being Devon, at his restaurant in the market town of Kingsbridge, a stone’s throw from the coast, the fish is lobster and the chips are served with black garlic and truffle.
Jamie Rogers won South West Chef of the Year 2015 and the restaurant won Taste of the West, South West England 2018/2019. Rogers grew up in Wales and began his chefing career aged 12. After a rigorous apprenticeship, he became head Chef at Langdon Court Hotel in Devon, winning two red rosettes within months. He reached the semi-finals of Masterchef the Professionals in 2013. He opened Restaurant Twenty_Seven in 2018. He was not yet 30.
During lockdown, Jamie kept his restaurant afloat by converting to takeaways. I would imagine that being a young chef in possession of one’s dream – owning your own restaurant – it must be a mighty blow to have to close your doors. But what began as a necessity is now becoming part of the restaurant’s personality and the Friday fish and chips takeaway will no doubt continue to grow. Now that the restaurant has reopened, diners can book for the fabulous 6-course tasting menu with wine flight. And people do. The restaurant has an excellent reputation. But if like me, you are in search of a takeaway, you need look no further than Jamie’s takeaway menu.
There are three ways to approach. Two banqueting options are a three-course Lobster Banquet or Beef Banquet at £35, while the third choice is to order from the set menu with several options covering two or three courses with various sides. Everything is available for takeaway ( or for delivery in the immediate area) between Wednesdays and Fridays from 5 – 7 pm.
After a long day’s hiking on the magnificent South West Coast Path, I arrived at the door of the restaurant in central Kingsbridge looking quite a sight. My hiking boots were caked in mud, my clothes sweaty and my hair akimbo having spent all day under a sunhat. The friendly staff invited me to wait indoors but I thought my state of attire was rather undesirable. Soon I was walking to my car carrying a plastic crate filled with takeaway boxes, on top balanced the all-important dessert box. Twenty minutes later my family and I were tucking into a feast. The packaging had kept the food warm – this is not the sort of grub that you stick in the microwave to reheat. I had read a suggestion online from a patron who said to eat the main course first. It was a great idea, as the starter is not heated and so can wait until later.
The first thing that struck me on opening the takeaway boxes was how beautiful the presentation was. The lobster and chips were laid out as if on a restaurant plate with a gorgeous green and pink side salad. The crab tian was served in a round plastic dish with the champagne sauce and green flecks of basil oil perfectly executed. Clearly, much thought has gone into how the food will travel on the steep, curving Devon roads. Even the desserts had come to no harm after their trip from the restaurant to our remote lodgings.
The Start Bay crab tian from the starter menu was quite a picture. A column of white crab meat was topped with tiny slices of sweet and sour apricot and a micro-garnish. It sat in a pool of champagne sauce flecked with green. South Devon crab is renowned and served all over the county. We had been eating it all week in sandwiches and a homemade risotto. Restaurant Twenty Seven by Jamie takes the rudiments of a great ingredient as the building block and elevates it to a cut above, serving this treat of the sea at its finest. It was delicate, colourful, subtle and the champagne sauce elevated the dish to a luxurious treat.
The second starter we ordered was Creedy Carver chicken thigh, smoked ham and foie gras. It was presented in disc form and looked like a medallion of Italian marble. Alongside perched three small circles of sweet rhubarb puree and five miniature blocks of rhubarb which I thought might have been pickled. Rhubarb is an excellent choice to cut through the richness of the fabulously smoky ham and the foie gras. The dish was accompanied by a slice of saffron yellow brioche toast. A marvellously thought out array of colour, tastes and textures.
The main course – Fish and Chips The Twenty Seven Way – is Salcombe lobster with Thermidor, chorizo and Dirty Millionaire fries. It was simply fabulous. The lobster was succulent and tender, very rich with its Thermidor sauce. The addition of chorizo made it mighty and meaty. We all loved the sauce which was a spicy foil to the rich sweetness of the lobster. This was luxury on our plates and we licked the shells clean. The sensitively dressed side salad was pretty with slices of pink, sweet pickled onion.
And the fries! These were thick cut chips which were perfectly fried – I assume they were double if not triple cooked and certainly the best of these I have eaten in years – and accompanied by a sauce of black garlic and topped with truffle and finely grated parmesan. I would happily drive back down to Kingsbridge for another helping. Really worth travelling for.
We tried two side vegetables. Baby carrots with black treacle and gingerbread was an inspired way to bring new life to baby carrots which are certainly having their day in recipe books and restaurants. These had a lovely crunch and a great kick from the gingerbread and sweetness from the treacle.
The tenderstem broccoli also had a good, healthy crunch and upped its game with a saffron dressing and chopped hazlenuts. I cook tenderstem week in and week out but have never seen my family tuck into this vegetable with such gusto.
The desserts showcased further – if we needed any more proof – that there is much talent in the kitchen. Each of the three desserts we tasted was beautiful to look at, complex and thoughtful in construction and a delight to eat.
Dark chocolate and peanut cheesecake was a column with a very fine peanut base, a cake layer and finally a creamy chocolate mousse. I had a flashback to a snickers bar – in a good way. It was rich and creamy and topped with tiny iced swirls of chocolate and cherry.
The white chocolate and cherry gateau was a slice of prettiness in pink. It looked like the cake slice you would choose in an upmarket patisserie in Paris. It was a multi- layered cake with a melting crumb, wrapped in cherry and white chocolate and topped with a cherry mousse with three iced circles on top. Complex, light, textural contrast, and very, very good indeed.
The passion fruit delice was our favourite of all these delightful desserts. It looked like a round of yellow sun and was another complex, multi-layered creation. At the bottom was a biscuit layer topped with a cake layer, then a passion fruit layer, one of guava, a coconut mousse and then a topping of passion fruit sauce. The delice was wrapped in passion fruit, chocolate and pistachio casing. We are still talking about it weeks later.
At £35 per person, this is truly excellent value. Kingsbridge diners – and visitors to the area – are fortunate to have a restaurant of this quality. When I return, I will certainly be trying the tasting menu. As a staycationer who is not yet eating indoors but loves restaurants and wants to support them, a takeaway menu is a great solution. Top-quality food to eat at home, beautifully presented, even delivered if you live close enough. Don’t miss it if you are visiting.
Restaurant Twenty_Seven by Jamie
9 Mill St
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