Saturday, 5 March 2016

Review: The Star & Garter Leamington Spa

Photo:  c/o The Star & Garter

Lunch with my Mother is always a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon and that is exactly what we did recently at The Star & Garter in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.
Photo:  c/o The Star & Garter

Nestled on the verge of Leamington Spa’s town centre hub, it is within a short walking distance of main shopping thoroughfare The Parade and offers a convenient spot for a bite to eat away from the hustle of the High Street.
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Having already reviewed two of its sister pubs (The Highfield in Edgbaston and The Rose & Crown in Warwick), if it was going to be true to form, I anticipated a quality menu in equally a relaxing setting.
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Upon arrival, we were warmly welcomed by Manager Colin and the team.  Walking past a large bar on one side and a row of dining tables and booths on the other, we opted for a spacious booth to sit in underneath the window giving us some natural daylight.
Photo:  c/o The Star & Garter

Looking around, it was very open, casual with low lighting and lots of quirky things to look at – my favourite being a table made out of a large musical drum!  I could imagine it would be quite atmospheric at night.
Photo:  c/o The Star & Garter

To kick-start events off, we perused the extensive drinks menu and opted for a couple of mocktails – the Peach Melba and the Cranberry Mojito.  They came presented in fancy glasses with wonderful sprigs of mint draped over the rims.  Both very refreshing and they were glamourous alternatives to the standard range of soft drinks.
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

With a number of starters suitable for vegetarians, I was in a bit of a quandary what to pick, so Colin suggested we have a mezze style Sharing Board with a couple of extras dishes added on to get a full measure of what was on offer, plus he procured a small pot of duck salad for Mum to try.
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Dorset Smoked Duck Orange & Almond Salad which Mum had to herself was very well received.  She commented it was tasty with the hints of orange and almond coming through which gave the salad a lift.
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Superfood Salad Quinoa, Sweet Potato, Broccoli & Pomegranate was visually vivid and when eaten, it  was crunchy with multiple textures and bore a sweet/savoury taste -  with the added bonus of being good for you thrown in!  A good choice if you want something light and less calorific.

Beetroot, Goats Cheese & Hazelnuts – a classic mix with the goat’s cheese being curd based which gave it a softer texture.  Rated as my Mum’s favourite out of all the starters.

Wookey Hole Cheddar & Parsnip Cakes with Tomato Jam. Fluffy and coated with toasted breadcrumbs these were very filling although I couldn’t detect much cheese.  But contrasted well when combined with the tomato jam.

Baked Golden Cenarth Cheese & Truffle Honey with Sourdough Bread plus extra Toasted Pittas.  Quite a moreish cheese with a soupcon of truffle honey on top giving it a little sweetness.  Enjoyable, although whilst it worked well as part of a sharing board as there were other flavours to consume alongside it, as a standalone starter it would be too much cheese in one go for my preference, especially if having more cheese further on within the meal.
Photo:  c/o The Star & Garter

Awaiting our mains, Mum had the vodka based favourite of a Cosmopolitan cocktail which she thoroughly enjoyed and I had an Apple Mojito which was very zesty – again, dressed in fringe of minty foliage.
Photo: Word In Veg Ways

Mum opted for the Roast Half Free Range Chicken, Confit Garlic Mash & Gravy.    The chicken she commented was very tender and the garlic mash she found very pleasing with just enough garlic to be flavoursome without being overpowering.
Roast Squash Wellington
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

I had the Roast Squash, Spinach & Barley Wellington with Vegetarian Gravy.    The wellington came in a soft, crumbly pastry casing, parcelled in a dome shape and you could see it had been nicely glazed and browned in the oven.  The vegetable mixture within was well blended and seasoned.  The dish came with kale which was gently steamed and contrasted by the third element of potatoes roasted in skins which were done to the right level of crispiness (for me).
Maple Roasted Vegetables

We both shared a portion of Maple Syrup Coated Roast Root Vegetables which worked well for both dishes and oozed that sticky lovely sweetness from the maple syrup used.

A dessert each we felt was a little too much for us at this point, so we went for the Sharing Board of Desserts which contained 3 mini items from the main dessert menu.
Sharing Board of Desserts

Our board consisted of: Warm Valrhona Chocolate Brownie, St Clements Cheesecake and Coffee & Amaretto Parfait.

The brownie came with salted caramel ice cream instead of vanilla as the kitchen had run out of it, which I think upon reflection worked better than vanilla would.  As a trio, the desserts each had their own merits so via this sharing method, it was a good way to try them all without committing to a single dessert. 

My visit to The Star & Garter came just as they are revising their menus and they have quite a few new dishes lined up for spring.  Vegetarian dishes coming through include: Stuffed Artichoke Hearts, Baby Leaves & Pesto Mayo and Spring Vegetable & Puy Lentil Pie with Quicke’s Mature Cheddar Cheese Mash + Vegetarian Gravy.

Overall, the venue offers a relaxed setting with wholesome dishes woven with uplifting gastro twists to suit all palettes.  With a number of vegetarian options present, the team are flexible if you want to change or fuse some of the choices together, which is always welcomed, however a suggestion would be to have less cheese focused options on the starters section and to utilise more ingredients/combinations.
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Aside from the dining, The Star & Garter also have regular events centred around their food and beverage offerings.  Everything ranging from specials for Easter weekend to wine tasting to even dancing for those that like to let their hair down. 
As a venue it really does endeavour to appeal to the masses and can morph its way to accommodating those that just want a coffee to those that want a full evening of food and entertainment.   It can be whatever you want it to be.

Other Connected Reviews:
The Highfield
The Rose & Crown



Disclosure:    This post has been written following a kind invitation from The Star & Garter to sample their menu.    This review was conducted honestly without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review.  For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website. 



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