Outstanding is the word. Who would have expected such a gem in little Wiveliscombe? Somerset must be the foodie capital of the South West, if not a wider geographic area. The restaurant has been converted from a shop, and decorated, lit and furnished to provide a rather sexy ambience. The welcome was warm and the service sharp but friendly. We had the 5 course tasting menu, which comprised a collection of delicious dishes, each comprising layers of taste and texture that made me want to roll each forkful around my mouth repeatedly before swallowing. Probably not a good look, but I really didn't care. A great menu and fantastic cooking from the joint chefs, Tim Zikki and Olivier Certain. We will be back soon. Highly recommended.
Noisy restaurant area, the soup was thin and lacked any depth of flavour, main course was a minute offering with little or no vegetables.
I cannot rate this excellent restaurant highly enough, from the moment you step through the doors your experience is like nothing else you will get in the area. It is just fabulous and I would recommend to anyone and will be back again and again especially as they now do an A La Carte menu.
Perfect relaxed eating in quiet ambience. Very good food and service.
The food was superb, the service very good, friendly and efficient. The only drawback was the noise level. Maybe a few locally made baffles on the ceiling would sort this problem. Look forward to returning.
Outstanding restaurant. Excellent food and service, and I think, very good value for money. It’s an unexpected gem in deepest Somerset!
Loved the restaurant, loved the service and our meal was delicious. We really enjoyed our visit & would recommend it highly.
Very impressed. Superb value. Great atmosphere. Went for the wine taster menu and it was brilliant. Food took a little while to come (perhaps give people bread to tide them over?) but then timing of courses was brilliant. Can’t recommend it enough. Cheap too for what it is.
Really interesting menu and flavours. We didn’t have the wine flight, but liked the fact we could dip in and out with our own wine choice. Good reisling, which is quite a rarity in many restaurants. Unobtrusive friendly service. Would definitely visit again.
Food was excellent. Portions are not large but a 3-course Exmoor festival deal at lunchtime left me feeling just right and very contented. My only gripe is that when my coat was returned it stank of frying.
This restaurant is hidden away in Wiveliscombe and only open 3 nights a week so you are prepared for pretentiousness. But this restaurant is incredibly delightful and an absolute surprise and hidden gem. No 'ideas above their station' just excellent food paired with beautiful wine. What A Treat.
Arrived 10mins early for 12.30pm booking - still clearing and opening.
Disappointing decor. Difficult to see people across table-lighting wrong?
Cutlery not clean.
Excellent service. Polite and prompt
Excellent food- Duck and pork cooked perfectly. Portions correct (not excessive)
Overall disappointing as had been highly recommended by friend
Nice to be able to have lunch now at duende. Good, interesting choices.
Despite announcing 18:00 as the opening time, it was not open when we arrived for our 19:30 reservation.
The restaurant was very cool for our liking, and so uncomfortable from that point of view.
The food was good without being exceptional or particularly exiting. There was only a tasting menu option and no catering for vegetarian tastes or questions about allergies.
The guinea fowl dish was not hot enough.
The lamb dish was the best but a very meagre portion, even for my small appetite.
The dessert was ordinary and we were not told what the homemade ice cream was, but I think it was vanilla.
The cheese dish was bland to my taste.
The wine flight accompanying the tasting was different and interesting, although by and large the wines were not memorable examples of their particular grape/region.
I would go back again because it is nice to have this type of option here in Somerset where pub food or national chains predominate.
I hope the owners persist and the restaurant becomes hugely successful
An excellent return visit for us, this time to sample the lunch menu. The food was excellently presented and very well served, the overall experience being very satisfactory. Keep up the good work!
Food really excellent. Pity it is not open more days of the week. The only menu was the tasting menu which was excellent,but next time we would like to choose what we eat. The reservation system with open table was not easy. My phone number was rejected 4 times in different forms before I noticed a minute American flag which you have to change to uk before it will accept your booking. Nearly gave up before I saw it!
Our second visit to Duende, this time for a seven-course tasting menu (wine flight optional) based on customers' favourite dishes from the restaurants first year since opening in Wiveliscombe. We had a lovely evening. The restaurant was busy but not quite full. Background music was just right and service was very attentive and friendly. A couple of the dishes were outstanding, a couple less so. The quantity was just the right amount for me but I think my partner would have preferred a bit more of the 'main' courses.
Thoroughly enjoyable evening with fantastic food. Food generated great discussions with food combinations that were new and exciting.
Delicious food but I would have appreciated a little more.
The evening was very enjoyable from start to finish. We have been before but took friends for first time and they thoroughly enjoyed it
This was our second visit to Duende, having previously been on opening night a year ago. I'm glad to say it was much improved; the teething problems have been sorted and the food quality was far better.
We had the 7 course taster menu and opted for the full wine flight too. Overall, the food was excellent. There were a couple of weaker courses, especially the final course (puff pastry with goats cheese) which was a shame, but also some exceptional courses (especially the duck and the home cured salmon). The inventiveness was really good (who knew marine plankton jelly was even a thing!) although I'm not sure that it was always successful from a textural perspective. Portion sizes were perfect for a taster menu too, we were left satisfied but not overly full.
The wine flight was really strong, the only issue was that the final course (with lime and chilli) was too sharp for the accompanying wine. Otherwise, the pairings were really good.
The waiting staff were great; knowledgeable and attentive. They also seemed genuinely interested in our thoughts about the food and wine.
I love the decor and music choices, although this seems to divide opinion.
We will definitely go again to try another taster menu. However, at £70 a head, it would only be for special occasions.
Outstanding cooking and charming and knowledgeable service. But suggest unlaid tables give a depressing impression and the heating needs sorting out, moving an electric fire nearer our table was thoughtful, but not very professional!
One of the best tasting menus I have ever eaten and I’ve been to many stared Michelin restaurants in my 74 years!!
The wines were very well chosen too.
Duende is going from strength to strength. Their tasting menus provide an opportunity for chef Tim Zekki to show his initiative to great effect with some magnificent novel tastes; and they are reasonable value.
The 7 Couse game tasting menu was delicious, inventive, seasonal, locally sourced and intriguing. As it was my birthday we splashed out and had the additional wine flight which was such an eye opener. White wines which appeared rather dry matched perfectly with the food. The front of house staff were efficient, knowledgeable and great fun. Luckily my partner's birthday is next month so I've already booked!
A fabulous 7 course game-themed tasting menu (with wine flight if you want it including a really good and unusual Puglian pudding wine that tasted almost like sloe gin), from the very recent winners of the Devon Life Food Award 2018 - Duende really deserves the award. Each course is carefully put together without being pretentious or fussy, the ingredients are carefully sourced, and the portion sizes are just right - not miniscule mouthfuls put together with tweezers and covered in dots, smears and foams! Very imaginative plates of food with lots of attention to detail and flavours going on. Lovely attentive and timely service, the waiters really know their stuff and are proud to tell you what the kitchen is putting out. We ate there on a very cold day end of Oct (temperature had dropped suddenly) so it was a little chilly when we arrived but soon warmed up. Nice décor with a distressed wall and moody-blue colours, great b&w photo-portraits of rock and art idols downstairs in the basement on the way to the loos (mind your head if tall!), so it was a funky touch to see Keith Richards, Patti Smith and Picasso staring back at you from the walls. My only little note would be that the base cushions in window-seat benches are a little uncomfortable and 'slidey' and that the wooden backrest can feel a bit hard and cold in cold weather. Other than that it was a really top dining experience and worth every penny of £45 pp for the food - you'd pay 30-50% more for the same in a city restaurant and get a lot more pretention on your plate and among the eaters around you. If you're heading to Exmoor or Taunton area, definitely detour to Wiveliscombe and book in advance, because now Duende has won this award it might be advisable. More tasting menu evenings planned for this autumn alongside their regular a la carte menu.
Tasting menu only available, but at a very reasonable price. Delicious food and great presentation. Wine flight was also reasonably priced and looked like a good selection, even though we didn't have it.
A very interesting approach to eating out. Quiet and definitely for foodies. The set selection of 7 courses was beautifully presented and innovative. We enjoyed all of them.
You don't leave stuffed to the armpits but if that is what you want, then there is always the Hungry Horse ...
We shall certainly go again, for that special occasion.
We had a seven course tasting menu at Duende and enjoyed all the food overall. There were some unexpected flavours. Some dishes shone out for us (mackerel, crab, beetroot) and staff were both helpful. We enjoyed being able to have just a couple of the wine pairings as we had a driver and an early start next day. It was nice not to feel pressuried into the entire wine flight when it was not ideal for us on this occasion.
A lot of work had clearly gone into the dishes and we felt the meal was good value. We would go again if we were in the area.
Lovely tasting menu with very creative dishes that were beautifully presented. Nicely selected wines to go with each of the seven courses, or you could have something off the wine list.
£44 per head, plus £25 if you wanted the full wine flight (you can also dip in and out and pay by the glass).
It was barely half full on a Friday night. This meant good service but the ambiance was a bit lacking. I think the rather stark decor doesn’t help either and the restaurant was quite cold.
I’m not sure that the Wivvey area has the demographics to fill this restaurant regularly, so word still needs to spread to bring people from further away. It’s definitely worth it.
The food is amazing and we’ll definitely be back.
Outstanding. The tasting menu had everything you could have hoped for being varied, beautifully presented, unusual, delicious and very well matched with the recommended wines. The quality of the ingredients spoke for themselves and everything on the plate added something and was there for a reason. No pretentious foams and gels, just beautifully balanced, well-seasoned deliciousness in every mouthful. Great textures too. Very slick, smooth, friendly and knowledgeable staff made this a perfect experience.
We have previously greatly enjoyed dining at Duende. This was our first experience of their Tasting Menu but will certainly not be our last.
Let me, from the outset, say that in our opinion Tim Zekki is an outstanding chef. His combinations of textures and flavours coupled with the best of local ingredients and exquisite presentation marks him out as a very accomplished cook.
The seven course menu: Six of the courses were outstanding with our particular favourites being the Citrus Glazed Mackerel, tartine of almond, Parmesan and micro herbs and the Pickled Beetroot, butternut squash purée, pickled pear and roasted pumpkin seeds.
In saying that we also hugely enjoyed the Crab and mango, the Guinea Fowl, the Lamb with pea purée and a eucalyptus sauce and finally the Kumquat with gingerbread crumbs and clotted cream ice cream.
The one course not to our personal taste was a grilled duo of cheeses with shortbread and a plum sauce. We are not fond of cooked cheese and the sharp plum sauce rather dominated the dish.
The wine flight was also enjoyed. The surprise was a Vino Verde chosen to accompany the Mackerel. Initially we thought this would be too dry a wine but the citrus in the dish
‘sweetened’ the wine and it was an inspired choice.
Service was explemporary. Attentive, professional, courteous, efficient, informative, knowledgeable - and all done with a smile and a pride in ‘their’ restaurant.
The cost: £45 a head for the seven course menu. For the quality this is remarkably good value.
What an absolute find! Only in the area for the weekend but saw they were doing a tasting menu and were extremely impressed. The dishes were superbly envisioned, presented and executed. Having enjoyed a number of tasting menus previously, I can honestly say that the food at Duende has taken the crown.
Our 4th visit to Duende and still a very high standard of cuisine, some confusion on our behalf mainly as we were expecting to order from the usual a la carte menu, having seen it that day on the web site. To be presented with a 7 course taster bill of fare was not what we were looking for, but having been given an option to leave, we decided to stay, persuaded by the head waitress. We were not disappointed at the end of the evening; even if the final bill was a lot higher than we intended.
I cannot praise the service, the food and the atmosphere enough, myself and friends had a fabulous night and I would recommend Duende to anyone.
Duende has been going from strength to strength since it opened less than a year ago. The food is original and adventurous and the service excellent. The only thing that slightly lets it down is the background music, which was too loud - and in any event unnecessary.
This little gem is easily missed neatly snuggled between its shabby neighbours but delivers large on fresh innovative food. A decent restaurant in this area at last!
Wonderful food and service. The combination of flavours is a delight to the palate. Duende is more than a cut above any of the eating places for many miles around and Wiveliscombe is very fortunate to have such a lovely fine dining restaurant. We cannot recommend it enough.
Super 5 course tasting menu with wine flight. Unpretentious fine dining, with every mouthful justified and delicious. Highlights were the crab and mango, sea bass on potato puree, and cream pudding with maple. Wines went well. Great for the price. Relaxed atmosphere and attentive service, with courses delivered at a good pace but not rushed. Chef poked his head out at the end and received spontaneous and rapturous applause, which says it all. Can't wait to return for the a la carte.
Exceptional food and a great atmosphere. We attended for a family get-together and had the 5 course tasting menu on a Sat evening. We had two vegetarians in the party and 4 meat eaters. All of us were very happy with our dining experience. We were so pleased to be introduced to the chef so we could ask some questions about the magic that had been worked on our food! Can't wait to go again now...
We ate at Duende on a Friday evening with some friends. It was our third visit and once again we had a very enjoyable evening. My scallops were perfectly cooked as was my sea bass main. My wife's lamb was tender and succulent and our friend's were very complimentary about their choices also. Highly recommended.