Review – The Star & Garter, Leamington Spa

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Even though I had been to The Star & Garter in Leamington plenty of times before I had never had lunch there, so over the Bank Holiday weekend my partner and I took the opportunity to try the new Spring menu.

Booth at The Star and Garter Leamington

Taking over a comfy booth, we sought shade from the burning sun outside and settled down to ice cold beers and gin cocktails in an airy, relaxing dining area at the back of the pub.

On a Saturday lunchtime, the bar was buzzing and even with a private party upstairs to look after, the team were friendly, helpful and perfectly paced our meal. We didn’t go off menu, but when we made teeny tweaks to our choices we were happily and easily accommodated.

Asparagus and smoked slamon starter The Star & Garter

Purple, white or green, I love all types of asparagus, so my starter was an easy choice –asparagus with a poached egg and smoked salmon (£9.50). Everything was cooked to perfection, the egg yolk burst out onto asparagus that was neither rock hard or mushy (I so wish I could get this right when I do this at home!)

Ham hock croquets The Star & Garter

My partner chose crispy, golden croquets that were packed with shredded ham hock (£7.25). A side garnish of rocket and apple with mustard mayonnaise added texture and zest to his moreish mouthfuls. He said that he could have easily eaten another portion, but he was saving himself for a main course  which he had spotted on the specials board.

Salt beef hash with fried egg The Star & Garter

The salt beef dish came with hash browns, pickled veg and charred corn, but he asked for the veg and corn to be left off and a fried egg to be added instead. He said that this generous slab of meat had everything– taste, texture and smell so he was very happy with his £17 choice.

Sea bass with samphire The Star & Garter

Being a creature of habit I nearly always have fish for my main course. I wasn’t sold on the cider cream that came with the sea bream option, so instead went for a sea bass. Served whole, the silky fish was delightful alongside the saltiness of the samphire. I also liked the nutty, nobbly ratte potatoes that made a change from run of the mill new potatoes (£16).

Warm ginger sponge dessert The Star & Garter

He doesn’t have a sweet tooth, so I was surprised when my partner asked for the warm ginger sponge and custard for dessert. The generously spiced pud had a lovely warm after burn, that was so much nicer than the bland desserts that only have a glazed ginger topping, but might be a bit too spicy for some. His single dinky pot of custard was quickly emptied and replenished to be more of a man-sized portion.

Warm raspberry and pistachio tart The Star & Garter

I by-passed the chocolate and peanut butter cheesecake, as I had fallen for the raspberry and pistachio frangipane tart and swapped the clotted cream with raspberry sorbet. Cherry seeds had been baked into the short pastry base for added crunch, which was a great base for the succulent pistachio filing in this warm tart (£6).

After three courses each we had absolutely no room at all for any cheese, which I intend to rectify at one of the pub’s future wine and cheese nights. Like with the rest of the menu there are seasonal highlights and locally produced varieties to try, with the Wookey Hole Aged Cheddar in particular piquing my interest.

For me it’s the quality of ingredients that shine through at the Star & Garter. There is an obvious care of cooking and preparation, dishes are executed well, and sometimes with unexpected twists, making it a cut above your average gastro pub.

If you are after just a light bite, the fixed priced lunch menu is very good value. With four of five choices for each course, with a more substantial range of sandwiches and burgers along with tasty sides, you can enjoy two courses for £13.25 or three for £15.75.

Not your run of the mill choices either. The garlic and rosemary-studded camembert with rustic bread and spiced lamb koftas starter and mac n cheese with maple cured bacon lardons, stood out to us straight away as dishes to try on our next visit.

  • I was invited to review the Star & Garter’s Spring menu and received a complimentary three course meal. My opinions are unbiased.

The Star & Garter, 4- 6 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa https://www.starandgarterleamington.co.uk/

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November, November events to remember

November 2017 events

From chocolate to game I am getting a warm glow writing about the fabulous food and drink happenings in November. Remember that this is the only guide you need to the best events this month!

Not one but two Chocolate Festivals are being held this month – the first in Warwick on Saturday followed by Shrewsbury on the 18th and 19th.

In Stratford upon Avon it’s luxury all the way with a champagne tasting dinner Salt and a charcuterie and cheese dinner at the Arden Hotel.

A brand new event to look forward to in Birmingham as Digbeth Dining Club together with Original Patty Man launches Sear & Smoke for a complete meat-fest.

Sauce Supper Club is hosting a very special event on Monday 20th November, with a champagne reception and stunning six-course menu – designed and delivered by six different Michelin star chefs and their teams! The all star line-up is Tom Kerridge and friends Luke Tipping, Brad Carter, Richard Turner, Rob Palmer and Adam Bennett.

Fancy learning all there is to know about whisky? Then head over to The Star & Garter in  Leamington, or is port is more your tipple Hotel du Vin in Birmingham is hosting a Port & Portuguese Wine Dinner.

Game is on the menu at The Moat House, Acton Trussell, and to get us in the mood for Christmas, food historian Dr Annie Gray is hosting a talk onMrs Beeton’s Christmas.’

More details are over on the Events page and please don’t forget to check the venues’ websites for booking information.

 

5 things you must eat at Leamington Food and Drink Festival

Leamington Food and Drink Festival 2017.jpg

Now in its 10th year, the Leamington Food and Drink Festival will have more than 100 exhibitors taking over the Royal Pump Gardens this weekend.

To help you navigate through all the stalls, here are my top five things to eat while you are there.

The Jabberwocky chorizo mozerella crayfish toastie

Local residents Flic & Barney will be serving street food fans gourmet toasties from their big, green Jabberwocky van. We can’t get enough of the classic Tuna Melt. The chorizo, mozzarella, crayfish, pesto and watercress.is pretty good too though.

Sweet As cake jars

Slightly easier to fit into your pocket or bag than one of the a-mazing cakes, head to the Sweet As stall for a cake jar. All that sweet goodness of salted caramel, rocky road and chocolate orange in miniature. Look out for new flavours this year.

Lobster mac n cheese

If it’s a little nippy, then a comforting bowl of unctuous mac n cheese from the Star & Garter’s Mac Shack should warm you right up. Spoil yourself with a choice of lobster, crab, pulled ham or pesto topping.

mushrooms

Stock up on mushrooms and truffles, where Antonio Carluccio himself will be revealing the best way to cook them at the Carluccio’s mushroom pop-up market stall between 11am – 1pm.

Dulci Bella marshmallows

With flavours including hazelnut and butterscotch, caramel and distinctively Darjeeling, the Dulci Bella award-winning marshmallows are a sweet treat not be missed.

October food and drink events

Thank you for your suggestions of food and drink events for October, which are now on the events page.

Birmingham Whisky Club

There are food festivals in Solihull, Stone and Alcester to go to, or you could try whisky tasting and an Aberdeen Angus beef dinner in Birmingham.

Treat your tastebuds with a German influenced Brum yum yum street food market, savour truffles at Restaurant 23 and explore the Rioja wine region at The Pickled Piglet.

Wherever you go I hope that you have a great time!

The Star & Garter Winter menu dinner party

 

 

 

 

 

This will be the first event at The Star & Garter and will be held in their private dining room. On Tuesday 27th November from 7pm you will have the chance to taste a great selection of  new dishes cooked by Head Chef Tom, who will also be on hand to talk you through the methods to his madness. Tickets for the dinner party cost £32 which includes both food and drink. http://www.starandgarterleamington.co.uk