Another instalment from #VinkAndGingeUpNorth – mine and Vicky’s recent road trip around North Yorkshire. This time dinner in York at The Star Inn The City. From both my shout out on twitter and conversations with Ben from York on a Fork, we decided upon this place for a couple of reasons. The food sounded good (the owner’s other place just outside the city is Michelin starred) and the location is stunning. So, we booked in and here’s what we thought…
Initial impressions were sadly a little damaged by the long wait for a drink at a very busy and understaffed bar. However, the restaurant is set in a beautiful modern glass structure attached to an old engine house and the outside area is stunning. We chose to start with a glass of fizz outside but unfortunately, had to sit at a table full of empty glasses which they failed to clear during our time there. In defence of The Star Inn The City, it was a very sunny Saturday evening and the place was jam packed full. Once we headed inside, we were greeted by a very friendly waiter and talked through the specials.
To start, we opted for the Heirloom Tomato Salad with ‘Yorkshire Fettle’ Cheese, Aged Sherry Syrup & Green Gazpacho and a dish from the specials which was from memory an English muffin with caramelised red onion chutney rarebit and beetroot. We both enjoyed Vicky’s Yorkshire fettle cheese and the tomatoes were good but the gazpacho was watered down too much by the large ice cube in it. My starter was delicious all round.
Between mains, we were brought a bi-course to try – something from the specials board – Razor Clams with John Dory, gherkins and olives. Although we were somewhat surprised at the arrival of this complimentary dish (no doubt sent having seen a tweet I’d posted) we soon tucked in and found it really tasty. The fish was cooked beautifully and I really enjoyed the clams although they aren’t to everyone’s taste. The presentation on this dish was also superb.
Sadly we really struggled to fit our actual main courses in but as big as both our eyes AND bellies are, we failed to finish and certainly couldn’t have managed dessert. My main dish was the Garlic-braised Shin of Welfare Veal, Saffron Risotto, Plum Tomato & Basil Juices, ‘Burrata & Caponata’. Although the veal was tasty, I was surprised at how it was served (essentially as a large meatball). The risotto was very dissapointing but the creamy burrito did make up for that slightly. In all, for £22, very disappointing.
Vicky had the Hotch-potch of English Corn-fed Chicken Suprême with Beetroot, ‘Pot Stickies’, Heritage Carrots, Fennel & Lemon Thyme Juices. We asked the lovely waiter what ‘Pot Stickies’ are and he explained they are a kind of dumpling. The presentation of this dish was nice (the picture doesn’t do it justice) but as with mine, Vicky felt disappointed by it. The chicken was a little dry and the pot stickies were dense and bland.
It pains me to write such hard words because I genuinely wanted to love this place. From the location to the look and feel and the helpful waiter but there were just too many rogue elements letting it down. We ate the cheaper dishes on the menu and the bill came to around £70 in total (including two glasses of wine) but with dishes like the Razor Clams & John Dory priced at £29 and fillet steak at £33, this place has the potential to be an expensive night out. For those kind of prices, the attention to detail in some areas needs to be picked up a notch.
*We paid for our meals (apart from the Razor Clams dish) and the restaurant did not know we were coming, nor that I was planning to review. As always, my opinions are my own. You just can’t shut me up*