From time to time, I’m reminded of the vagaries of the Michelin star system. That’s not to imply that The Star isn’t, erm, star worthy. But I do think of those meals I’ve had which have been at the same or higher level of cooking, yet the place misses out on the award. But, hey, what do I know, I’m only a diner.
There was bread to nibble on. A cracking sourdough, flavoured with caraway. And, for the second one served, there was good intent to incorporate black pudding and apple sauce. But it didn’t work, There was no flavour of apple and the bread itself was hard to bite in to and chew.
There was seafood to start for both of us. A “posh” prawn cocktail made posh by the inclusion of smoked salmon and basil. It was dressed, as you’d expect, with a Marie Rose sauce and there’s the addition of horseradish and a Bloody Mary sorbet. Bags of good intent here but what you’d expect to be punchy flavours turned out to be quite muted. If that missed the mark, then halibut tartare was right on it. As light and fresh as you like with fine dice of the fish and cucumber mixed together. Pickled cockles from Whitby and an oyster ice cream provided texture and flavour contrasts.
Local Ryedale lamb came two ways. A mini kofta kebab was in a soft pitta. You’re going to pick this up to eat, so they thoughtfully provide a fingerbowl. There’s also a couple of cutlets., cooked to pink but oddly a bit chewy. There’s a pickled red cabbage puree, a little black pudding and a light lamb broth. It was back to seafood for the other main course. A fillet of wild turbot, locally landed, came with poached white asparagus and dressed crab. A chervil veloute set it off. It was fine. The menu gives this as “market price” but, to be frank, they see you coming at £56, even allowing for the turbot being a pricey fish. Separately to share, there’s a bowl of simply prepared mixed vegetables – carrots, leeks, cauliflower, broccoli and shredded cabbage. Nice enough, if underseasoned – yes, I know you can always add salt but, at Michelin level you sort of expect it to be right first time
A simple dessert for one of us. Three mini cones, filled with lemon curd ice cream. For the other, there was a savoury amongst the sweets. Whipped Blue Wensleydale was served with bitter leaves and warm digestive biscuits. My vote goes for more places resurrecting the idea of savouries to end a meal. This might have been the nicest thing I ate all evening.
Coffee and petit fours were very good.