The Star Inn at Harome review: The Michelin-starred restaurant devastated by fire is better than ever
I have a huge fondness for The Star, for all it has stood for in Yorkshire in the past 25 years. The iconic 14th Century inn under the watchful tenure of Andrew Pern and his team, including talented chef Steve Smith for a remarkable15 years, have been pivotal in putting this county well and truly on a global map for wonderful food and hospitality. But now, it looked like it was to be no more. I texted Andrew about the news and loved his reply “all will work out, it will be ‘reet and we will be back.”
It took almost a year to the day before his then unfounded belief was finally realised. The Star had survived following a gruelling year of hard work and a £2 million restoration. It looks gorgeous, with a laid-back elegance and still oozes character as much of what was salvaged is reused or repurposed. The charred timbers of the thatched roof were replaced with wood from a fallen tree in nearby Duncombe Park. Famous Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson pieces were restored, and new pieces custom made including beautiful new tables in the dining room.
There are newly commissioned paintings from Susan Brunskill who lives in Harome, and I spotted a couple of sculptures from Whitby-based Emma Stothard. On my visit, the bar was due to open the next day and from a sneaky look round, I can say it too is going to look just lovely. All, it seemed was well at The Star, including the food.
Choices are between an astonishing full-on 12 plate Tasting Menu which will delight all gourmands out there, an a la carte and a short, brief and enticing specials menu too. All are compiled as only Andrew Pern can. The geographic spread he manages in one menu is astonishing and the seasonality, impeccable. Where Andrew has led, many have followed; he was one of the first and is still the master of this genre.
We see amongst the dishes on offer, local hare and red leg partridge, feather blade, autumn truffles, grelots, nasturtium and Crown Prince pumpkins. East coast lobster, North Sea monkfish, organic salmon, and house-smoked eel... it goes on and on. And with 25 wines by the glass, there’s plenty to choose from while we ponder these menus.
Temptation lurks across the table when a lovely looking small loaf of 12-year old Levain-fed malt and granary loaf arrives with a yeasted butter and bread sticks with smoked cod roe. Try as I must to resist as I am afraid of filling up before the main event, I am hopeless in the face of such deliciousness, and give in.
Next comes a couple of big, fat hand-dived supremely fresh scallops, all exquisitely dressed up with lovage, parsley velouté, smoked eel and boudin blanc all nestled under a profusion of straw potato which raises a look of pure contentment across the way. For me, there’s a deep bowl with a large, squeaky fresh lobster and salmon filled raviolo in the bottom, peppered with tiny herbs, and sitting on a swish of pumpkin with hints of ginger and chilli. I too am more than happy.
Game features heavily at The Star which I always recommended. So, a crown of red-legged partridge could not be ignored, especially accompanied on the plate with a handsome array of gamekeeper’s haggis, peat whisky bread pudding, nutmeg buttered brassicas, peppered swede and roasted game juices. This dish is no slouch either in size or flavours, it is rich and earthy and game at its absolute best.
My Veal Rossini is a tender braised veal cheek, tucked alongside is liver parfait crouton and pan-fried duck liver, yellow Chanterelles all bathed in aged Madeira juices. All of this was covered with fine shavings of black truffle which I have always loved since I lived in the Perigord many years ago. There does seem now to be the need to throw truffle on everything – I was even served a full English recently and the grilled tomato was doused in truffle oil, I have no idea why. However, here at The Star, on this dish, is where the truffle belongs, where it can work side by side with the other robust flavours on the plate, not drown them out.
There are several choices for dessert (after a pre-dessert) including a cheese course but we settle for sharing a “Banoffee ReWorked” as it is called and is so far removed from any Banoffee I have ever seen or eaten. It is a beautiful presentation and is exquisite to eat and just the right amount at the end of such a wonderful meal.
So, they are back at The Star and on full throttle. I for one am delighted they survived, but we all should be glad to have Andrew and his wonderful consummately professional team both in the kitchen and front of house. And huge, huge thanks to everyone; businesses, friends and family, who have supported this much-loved inn to rise up so magnificently from those ashes.
The Star at Harome, High Street, Harome, York YO62 5JE, Tel: 01439 770397, [email protected]
Tasting menu: 3-course dinner for two with a couple of glasses of wine, £170 including service.
Tues to Fri: noon to 2pm; dinner from 6pm to 8.45pm
Saturdays: noon to 2pm; dinner, 6pm to 9.15pm
Sundays: noon to 5.15pm. Extended hours over Christmas.