The arrival of a selection of breads served in a Yorkshire flat cap was a surprising start to an enjoyable and imaginative meal. I suppose I should call it a dining experience.
Following the sour dough and black pudding-flavour bread served in the tweed cap, there were many highlights at the Star Inn at Harome, which has just regained its Michelin star and which is adorned with awards and commendations.
I started with the charred East Coast mackerel with orchard apple, celeriac and nasturtium ‘meringue’ (£9.95). It was excellent, and made entertaining by the addition of a shot of fresh horseradish vodka, which was still frozen in the glass.
As I waited patiently (unusual for me I know), for it to defrost, the waiter noticed and replaced it with one ready to drink. As a horseradish fan, it was an extra treat.
My main was the £19 Black Sheep-braised Gary Verity 100ft Coverdale lamb shoulder and cutlet, with spelt puree, charred leeks, lowna dairy curd and wood sorrel. It was thick and very flavoursome.
My partner, being female, went for the fish of course: the Isle of Man queen scallops with Holmfirth chorizo, Hawes smoked Wensleydale, and garden beans (£13). This mix of West and North Yorkshire with the Irish Sea fare was tasty with good portions.
It was followed by another Yorkshire on-a-plate tour, this time the first of the season of Bransdale Moor grouse, with heather-roast, liquorice-poached brambles, spiced bread pudding and Elderberry wine jelly (£25).
It was succulent, well-flavoured and very tasty, served in a very nice jus. There was only one bit of lead shot, which wasn’t a problem, and conjured up a reminder of the dry moorland from where it came.
The cutlery was a mix of rattail and undecorated bead, plus what looked like Sure or Austen.
The presentation was great and it was a very clever, creative menu. Flat caps weren’t the only unusual serving platter; there were slices of ash wood platters of various thicknesses.
The dessert menu was more limited but a selection of cheeses on a wood platter (£10) and the (£8) Iced Garden lemon balm parfait ‘sandwich’ with ‘alpine’ strawberries looked and tasted pretty good.
The service was attentive and pleasant and not formal. The entire experience was relaxed and relaxing, with welcoming lighting, wall decor and fabrics.
There was also a personal touch throughout with pictures of the chefs, and books and magazines in the chic coffee loft, where we enjoyed after-dinner chocolates.
The Saturday evening was full, at the thatched-roof bar and in both dining areas. I hadn’t been there for a while and there had been many changes, including a large restaurant extension.
But the most surprising aspect was the cost. It was remarkably cheap for what we chose, which included a bottle of Printer’s Ink, a South African Pinotage.
There was also an alternative menu for £25 a head, which looked great value. For a treat, it’s well worth the trip out but best to pre-book.
Ratings out of ten: Food, 9, menu choice 9, service 9, decor 9, ambience 9, overall 9.