GH and I had a lovely weekend getaway in York recently. We were slightly worried about the state of the high street and hotel we booked at given the recent floods but all was good and back to the normal state of things when we got there. As a treat, we booked ourselves for dinner at The Star Inn the City, a casual dining place and sister restaurant to the Michelin-starred Star Inn in Harome. About the only trouble we had in York was navigating our way from the car park to the restaurant itself. Perched right on the edge of the River Ouse, the river walkways were slushy with mud and a poor old tree had also been completely uprooted and had fallen across the walkway into the river. We arrived with slightly muddied shoes but nobody was looking! Prices are not cheap here but the atmosphere was jovial and bustling and the service by our very friendly and knowledgeable waiter together with an amazing menu made it all worthwhile.
We sat right at the table that’s second from bottom in the picture!
Two different types of bread with butter to start off with – the bread was freshly baked, crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. I avoided the pitfall on scoffing on all that lovely bread to leave space for the rest of the meal and lucky I did because the bread came in handy for my starter to come.
This was my starter of hand-picked white whitby crab with pickled baby vegetables, seaweed and some sort of curried crisp bread. Oh my days, this was heavenly. The crab was fresh and had an amazing rich seafood flavour that fresh shellfish imparts and was offset well by the sharp, crisp baby vegetables. I rationed out the crisps to the meat and when it ran out I resorted to spreading out the crab meat onto that delicious bread.
GH’s starter from the special menu was pretty amazing too. His ‘BLT’ consisted of locally shot wild rabbit on sourdough bread with bacon mayonnaise, chicory & sun-blushed tomatoes. Rabbit dishes I’ve tried in the past were a bit bland, so I don’t know what they did to this meat but it was incredibly flavourful and smoky and needless to say went down GH’s tummy very quickly.
I ordered the cod and scallops from the specials menu as well. This was pan-fried fillet of Locker’s East Coast cod, seared king scallops, Lishman’s of Ilkley salami, shallot & pontefract cake puree. That cod was divine. You could tell that it was amazingly fresh, the flesh was cooked to just opaque and fell apart under the fork into smooth unctuous flakes. I wasn’t too thrilled with the scallops and thought they could do with more caramelisation and oddly didn’t taste as sweet as scallops usually do but I still enjoyed the dish as a whole.
This meat fest was GH’s choice aptly called ‘A Celebration of Yorkshire Beef’. You’d have to really enjoy your meat to fully appreciate the whole plate. GH was in meat heaven. That middle hunk was a pan-fried fillet, bottom left is a slow braised rib with meat that just fell apart when you cut into it, as well as some ale & beef sausages and a corned beef & horseradish croquette to round it up. That little cup had the most delicious beef gravy inside. I feel that many restaurants don’t serve enough gravy on the dish and should provide some extra on the side so this was a much appreciated change from the norm.
This was our token vegetable dish of buttered seasonal vegetables which came in a very generous portion size and actually were the same vegetables I had in my main course. I won’t say no to more greens though!
By now we were stuffed to the brim and had to wait a while before ordering dessert. What, you said? But of course you can’t pass up having a third course in a restaurant this good. We only wanted something light and our nice waiter recommended the raspberry mascarpone cheesecake from the specials menu but we decided to go for the red berry and knickerbocker glory with citrus chantilly. Boy, that was pretty rich and Mr Nice Waiter man couldn’t resist rubbing that in our faces when he came to check on us later.
The food was amazing, the service was attentive and the atmosphere was pretty special but what impressed me the most was how much beyond their call of duty the wait staff went to in order to get me enough change for the car park. They literally had a whip around to get enough coins for me, and when I spotted some macaroons on the side Mr Nice Waiter man snuck away two lovelies for us to take away. (The pay machine at the car park accepted card payments after all that trouble, but their effort was much appreciated!)
Please, go, and enjoy this place with an empty tummy and an open heart and you won’t be disappointed, I guarantee you.
(Top two pictures courtesy of york360.co.uk and starinnthecity.co.uk)