Michelin Magic at The Star Inn The City

This dinner was going back to where it all began for Chef/Patron Andrew Pern, drawing inspiration from The Star at Harome and bringing that token of magic to The Star Inn The City. We were most definitely in for a treat, as the menu came with a Harome stamp of approval.

Andrew was cooking alongside his ‘Brigade’ – Head Chef of Harome Stephen Smith and City’s Director of Operations Matthew Hunter and Head Chef Michael Wilkinson and the team!

We arrived at a poignant moment in the evening ahead of service, where Andrew gathered the team together in the beautiful lit dining room overlooking the dark, chilly November night. As Andrew delivered a passionate briefing about what was coming up on the menu – it was clear to see that this was a special night for all involved.

The 6-course menu began with a host of canapes, followed by a real treat in the form of Truffled White Onion soup with a Nugget of Foie Gras, Beer-braised Salsify and Kitchen ‘Tobacco’. Served in a white china espresso cup, this was one not only to charm, but also treasure. Next came a hearty ‘Haslet’ Terrine of Harome Shot Game, paired with Quince Jelly, Green Ginger Wine and a Roast Chestnut Brioche. Quince and chestnut making a much welcome autumn presence on the plate.

The fish course came next, an anticipated Smoked Lobster Ravioli with Puree of Parsnip, Granny Smith’s and Herring Caviar served in an absolute sensational Ampleforth Apple Brandy ‘Bisque.’ These flavours were on fire! The parsnip puree and shredded granny smith were total taste quenches, whilst the herring caviar added an element of luxury – the combination of lobster and the rich brandy bisque was just truly unbelievable.

At this point I did begin to wonder, how the next course could begin to smash the previous entrées. It was almost like each course had taken on its own personality. Daring to be different and taking the diner to a whole new experience.

As I headed towards the pass I could feel the unique buzz and began to witness the magic which was unfolding behind. The team working so hard to not only make it happen, but make it spectacularly happen. As the ox cheek pies were lifted onto the pass, excitement from the front of house staff was welcomed. The main course featured a Fillet of Harome Village Beef with Ox Cheek Pie, Bourgogne Garnish Choux Farci and Heritage carrots.

I watched as the choux farci appeared! Wrapped in cabbage, these were green parcels of delight. And lit up the plate! It is always a pinnacle moment driven by adrenaline and passion plating each main dish – as each final touch was applied and the heritage carrots making their debut. This dish was absolute perfection on the plate.

By this point, the atmosphere in the restaurant was electric. Laughter, warmth and love filled the room and there were absolutely no surprises why. This food delivered maximum taste and flavour at every point, whilst conjuring up a token of pure Harome magic.

Pudding came in the form of Dark Chocolate and Damson Mousse, a quenelle of Sloe Gin Ripple Ice Cream and Mulled Boozy Brambles. As the Michel Cluizel dark chocolate coupelles began being assembled behind the scenes, the sloe gin ice cream was brought out. There was a moment of laughter as the lid was frozen shut!

This dish was the most rich and indulgent assembly of chocolate and fruits I have ever tasted. The idea that the only way to dive into the pudding is by smashing it on the plate to reveal the hidden damson mousse says it all. With rich boozy flavours, another sign of winter on its way – a dish to be devoured.

To finish came a ‘Ewes Milk’ Cheese with Harome Honey, Chicory and Candied Walnut ‘Salad’ and Date ‘Jam’. By far the most delicate dish of the evening and real palate cleanser to set the taste buds back. The bitter notes of chicory delivered a superb bite and crunch, whilst the ewes milk cheese packed flavour and punch.

A menu which not only delivered substance, hearty ingredients and impressive flavours, but a remarkable night full of charm, magic and passion.