Cheoff

A site about food, drink and other random stuff!

A spot of TripAdvisor to and fro

I admit it... I occasionally get an alert saying, "Congratulations, Geoff, your review has been published on TripAdvisor". You must have worked out that I could fairly easily be described as an extrovert. Now that doesn't mean I can't be a shrinking violet if the occasion demands but restaurant reviews often creep in as one form of expression which redresses the balance.

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We do reference the site for all sorts of information. Half the fun is in sorting out the emotive inputs from the objective, practical ones. My comments are as honest as I can make them. If I do praise, recommend or censure I am perfectly happy for the readership to discard anything I've said... like I sometimes do with others! There's no substitute for going and finding out yourself - but it's good to access firm warnings to avoid costly mistakes or see high praise which encourages a visit.

Here I'm sharing one of my most recent efforts from TripAdvisor (truly, there aren't that many of them!)

From the title you'll gather that The Star Inn at Harome was a good experience...

Accomplished, honest cooking - smashing!

We live within a couple of hours’ travel from Harome. Having tried for a mid-day snack here years ago while we were passing and giving up because the place was so packed, we always intended returning.

We successfully booked for lunch on our thirty-eighth wedding anniversary… only to find on arrival that we had been trumped completely by a couple a few tables away who had made their vows sixty years ago!

The unusual flat cap bread basket became totally secondary once we had tasted its oven-baked goodness. The black pudding rolls were my particular favourite.

‘Cured Hartlepool Landed Octopus with ‘Mollet’ Norfolk Quail Eggs, Deep-fried Anchovies, Black Olive Sorbet, Marinated Vegetables’
This was just utterly lovely. Every ingredient was treated with perfection. The vegetables had such a light touch that they might have been the stars of the show. However, the black olive sorbet picked up on the sea-life elements and became a subtle, salty ‘rock-pool’ backdrop to their fishiness. Wonderful.

‘Homemade Village Shot Roe Deer ‘Sausage’ with Pickled Red Cabbage Purée, Pontefract Cake and Pommery Mustard Seeds’
My wife enjoyed this a great deal. Liquorice is often a dangerous plate-fellow but could have been even more insistent here before going into Bassetts AllSorts territory. Meat and one veg in harmony.

‘Cutlet of Ryedale Lamb with its own Faggot, Lowna Dairy Cheese, Smoked Ratatouille-style Vegetables, Oregano Confit Tomato’
Perfectly cooked lamb… that is always a good start. With the cheese ‘lurking’ in the faggot and all vegetables, rather like the chef, on top of their game, this was another delight for my wife.

‘Barbecued Venison, Slice of Giant Puffball with Cobnuts, Rainbow Chard, Elderberry Juices’
No letting up here. On a warm summer day this dish could have edged towards autumnal heartiness. However, it was given the sort of consideration that planted it firmly in the realm of a bright and light season - well before any need for the serious business of pickling or preserving. The meat had been rescued from the coals at the perfect moment and every one of its plate partners gave texture, flavour and colour in abundance. Elderberry was left as a suggestion of thin, fruity, blood-hued meat juices. This decision was just right. A thicker, more syrupy reduction would have carried everything towards a later season.

The vegetable selection was almost unnecessary but, again, the cooking made it irresistible.

‘Iced Garden Lemon Balm Parfait ‘Sandwich’ with our own ‘Alpine’ Strawberries, Homemade Lemonade’
This was my wife’s selection and provided an eye-catching and palate pleasing end to her meal; very clean and light. It also determined me to include ‘Melissa officinalis’ in our garden planting next year!

‘Caramelised Rice Pudding with Sugar’d Skin, Homegrown Blackcurrant ‘Jam’, Deep-fried Apple Pie Custard Doughnut’
This could be considered as an inevitable nod to the passage of time, acknowledging cooler months and demand for heavier puddings. There is a distinct possibility that I made the wrong choice here but it didn’t match the heights of the rest of our meal. The crystallised or candied mint leaves were certainly lack-lustre, having lost any vibrancy. It was still as good as many offerings elsewhere and there had been so much previous excellence that it really didn’t matter that much.

Since we were both on driving duty, we allowed ourselves one glass of wine each. The choice is terrific and we easily found a suitable white and red.

Prices for this quality of cooking are more than reasonable. Ours was a quiet mid-week booking. The old part of the restaurant is intimate and slightly quirky. There are higher ceilings and more modern livery is installed nearer the kitchen. Service was attentive, responsive and informative. After eating, we explored more of the venue’s potential for larger occasions with family or friends. The lovely garden revealed some of the ingredients for our meal.

Were we suitably distracted from the intoxicating love which has developed between us? Indeed we were. Did we identify a reason to return? No… we found countless excuses to visit again very soon!

Michelin be damned… the Star at Harome still shines!
Picture from: http://www.thestaratharome.co.uk/star_accomm.htm

Picture from: http://www.thestaratharome.co.uk/star_accomm.htm

What I failed to include in my review was the fact that chef-owner, Andrew Pern, was not cooking on the day of our meal. I'll give belated congratulations to his well-trained, talented 'substitute'. Andrew did, however, contribute to the experience a few weeks later when TripAdvisor posted this:

StarInnHarome, Owner at Star Inn, responded to this review, 9 September 2014

Maybe I should ask you to write the foreword to my next book!!! Although with a review that long, you could be the author! I am glad you managed to dine with us and a very happy belated anniversary to you. Maybe you should stay with us next time!

Thank you for all of your great comments and we hope to welcome you back very soon.

Kind regards

Andrew Pern

Andrew's compliment was mildly diluted by his astute identification of my reckless word-count but I intend standing firm there. Perhaps my stubborn motto should be: "Write nothing that you wouldn't want to read yourself."?

Obviously I'd recommend a visit to Harome's number one restaurant - then you can check out my opinion and their lovely food at the same time!

Ah... I've just visited The Star Inn Home Page and found out that they have regained their Michelin star for 2015. Great stuff! I don't think it will make much difference to the excellence provided there but it's pleasing to hear of renewed recognition for their efforts.

As for me, I'll continue to pontificate and review. It's fun to contribute and fun to soak up the community offerings. If, like me, you don't treat it too seriously you might use TripAdvisor for a bit of diversion... see you there!

All images and content are the property of Geoff Griffiths. Copyright Geoff Griffiths 2014 ©