The Star still shining brightly
I discover just how relaxed fine dining can be as the sun beats down on God’s own county and helicopters come and go at the Star Inn, Harome.
LOCATION, location, location that’s what Kirsty Allsop and that bald guy from TV bang on about all the time! I know one thing or two about location when it comes to restaurants, or more to the point the whole occasion of going out for a good feed on a sunny Saturday afternoon and what I know is that The Star Inn, Harome has got it all when it comes to location – times three!
Set in one of the most picturesque parts of north Yorkshire just outside the picture postcard, village of Helmsley. I honestly cannot think of anywhere else I would rather be than enjoying good food and wine at the Star, of an afternoon, aperitifs in the garden, lunch inside and retreat to the garden for more drinks after a sublime taster menu, which we did actually finish in the garden!
Andrew Pern makes a fine host for the day and is always at hand to make sure things are running smoothly in the kitchen and of course making sure his guests are having a tip top time in the garden. His laid back manner and relaxed relationship with customers only adds to the occasion.
For lunch we were served the taster menu which consisted of seven well thought out courses, starting with twice-baked Lowna Dairy goat’s cheese souffle with Heritage beetroot salad and sweet and sour new season cherries which was a nice appetiser with a mixture of hot and cold on the plate to open up the palate and get it ready for the next six sensational courses.
The cured sushi with heirloom tomatoes, bloody Mary sorbet with wild garlic and baked cheese was my particular flavour favourite with a burst of ripe flavours mixing with the smooth cheese background taste and the wild garlic just doing enough to be noticed. Then Andrew’s signature dish of black pudding and foie gras, as ever one of the stars of the day, which meant that the Matelote stew of north Lincolnshire smoked eel and ham knuckle had it’s work cut out, but the intense smokiness of the eel just added another layer of flavour and stood its’ ground very well after the richness of the foie gras.
The last main came in the form of roast rump of Rydale lamb with crispy sweetbreads, a warm salad of wheat asparagus, girolles and Mrs Bell’s ewes milk cheese, it looked like my perfect Sunday dinner albeit a miniature version. The asparagus looked an absolute picture on the plate and the flavoursome lamb was melt-in-the-mouth-tastic.
The atmosphere that Andrew and his team have created is unique, with a level of calm and relaxed dining, with no hint of pomp whatsoever. It’s unlike any other restaurant I have experienced in that it makes you feel so relaxed you could be in your own garden having a drink and that’s exactly how the day ended for us, drinks in the garden watching the sun go down – oh and one table of diners leaving by helicopter after popping in for lunch! Only in Harome…
“The cured sushi with heirloom tomatoes, bloody Mary sorbet with wild garlic and baked cheese was my particular flavour favourite with a burst of ripe flavours mixing with the smooth cheese background taste and the wild garlic just doing enough to be noticed.”
The Star still shines as brightly as ever for me, Michelin recognised or not, it is a restaurant worthy of all its praise as it creates a very unique dining experience, whether you consider yourself a foodie or not, it is a star to behold. Which leads me on to Andrew’s new venture with fellow ‘old boy’ and rugby team mate Justin Brosenitz as they are full steam ahead with ‘The Star Inn The City’ in a converted engine house, situated in York’s famous Museum Gardens, which open this October.
They will be open from breakfast to 11pm, serving a menu very Star like, using great ingredients with great provenance as they aim to bring a bit of the countryside into the city. The style will be very much in keeping with the Harome Star, using tartan and antlers to achieve its’ lodge look and feel with a great big theatre rotisserie to add a touch of town. If Andrew and Justin can extend the Star’s brand into the city with a few townie twists, then I think it will be a roaring success. With a prime location (remember what I said about location), city savvy diners and great food then the single Star may just become a full constellation.