Star Inn the City, York
We’ve long championed the Star inn at Harome, one of Yorkshire’s best gastropubs, and the Star Inn the City, in a corner of Museum Gardens right by the river in York, brings Pern’s traditional British dishes with a twist, to the green heart of the city.
Pern restored the rotting old Engine House by the Ouse and today it looks a million dollars with it’s sleek glass Garden Room and its sunny terrace (excavated beneath to allow for the frequently flooding river).
Like the Star Inn the country, the menu is made up of comforting plates of well-cooked food with the added Pern skill that lifts a mundane Monday night dish into something pretty good. For instance: posh prawn cocktail … prawns, cold-smoked salmon, tomato sorbet and pea puree … a salad of mulled quince with Yorkshire Blue cheese and candied walnuts … risotto of partridge with chestnuts, curly kale and Hawes Wensleydale.
At mains we went for cod with parsley mash, white wine sauce and Shetland mussels and roast suckling pig with crackling, poached figs, mulled quince and a little sausage roll (Pern knows just how to do accompaniments) all served with an Ampleforth apple-brandy sauce. The menu still falls a bit short on veggie dishes, but winter truffled macaroni with wilted greens, chanterelle mushrooms and a Hawes Wensleydale crust sounds tempting. So does Yorkshire rarebit with beetroot salad and walnut pesto.
Puddings are just as appealing: dark chocolate and orange tart with clementine curd and blood orange salad; caramelised damson gin rice pudding with sugared skin and homemade hedgerow jam or maybe that Pern signature of ginger parkin with rhubarb ripple ice cream and hot spiced syrup (plus a shot of rhubarb schnapps on request). Plates of the latter sailed past our table a number of times, but we were stuffed. Portions are generous without being overwhelming; we settled for a cafetiere of good strong coffee from York’s Coffee Emporium served with a little chocolate brownie.
Before lockdown the terrace overlooking the river has been crowded and rowdy, but for the time-being at least it is available for diners and not just drinkers and all the better for that. The menu is shorter and simpler and again, no harm in that and on a recent visit it was a delight. With well-spaced tables and a view down the river, there really is nowhere better.