Leamington Spa is a place I didn’t know very well, having never been there before our visit to the Star and Garter. Because our reservation was on a Saturday evening we decided to make a weekend of it, and had a lovely stay. Leamington Spa is a nice town, pretty buildings interspersed with a lovely parks and river with a good independent streak running through its shops, cafes and restaurants. Well worth a visit for the day, or weekend stopover.
The Star and Garter recently refurbished in a very tasteful way is tucked slightly off the main High Street shopping area, nestled away from the main traffic bustle, but is easy to find. It’s location I think benefits it and also doesn’t hinder its popularity with the locals and visitors, for when we visited it was packed and full of great atmosphere.
The Star and Garter is part of the independent Peach Group of pubs that also own The Highfield in Birmingham and The Rose and Crown in Warwick, both of which I’ve reviewed on my blog before and The Almanack, in Kenilworth which I haven’t.
It’s impressive from the outside, lit beautifully in the fading evening light. It’s smart interior provides a Gastro pub kind of feel and is a subtle hybrid of a cosy pub, restaurant and cool bar which makes for a contrasting mix of folk eating, drinking and meeting up before moving on elsewhere. It’s a go anytime kind of place it feels, open all day it felt an important part of the town.
The food element of the pub is the trump card in the armour. The menus are seasonal, providing a variation for all tastes and diets, with a good choice for Vegetarians.
With a keen relationship built up with local farmers and producers. Vegetables are from Evesham and when we visited Asparagus was just on the menu with their popular ‘dip your own’ Asparagus dish. Prices are sensible and you feel you are getting good value.
We sat in a cosy booth like seat near the bar so was able to feel an indulge in the full pub atmosphere which was ideal.
We ordered two Negroni’s to drink initially. It was dry and zingy, everything a Negroni should be. It packed a punch with the divine bitterness of the Italian spirit Campari but had a mellowness from the Vermouth that was spot on. Perfecto.
The choice for Vegetarians at The Star and Garter is a good one, but from experience of their previous pub visits the so called, Veggie Board (Well by me) is a delicious choice. Called here Major or minor orders (prefer deli board or tapas maybe) you can choose any 3 dishes off the menu for £9.50. They come in their own pots and the menu is above. It’s a fun way to start the meal and gives a flavour of what they do well.
The Red Lentil Falafels with spicy yogurt, was a good falafel with the added dipping quality of some gently spiced yogurt which gave them another dimension.
The Stuffed Artichoke Hearts and Pesto Mayo: again with added dipping deliciousness, lovely artichokes full of Spring flavour with again a full flavoured Mayo.
The Sesame Crusted Halloumi with peanut salad and Oriental Dressing though was my favourite, and a real complimentary contrast to the other dishes offering a real stir fry like texture and crunch to the softer Halloumi and stuffed artichoke and falafels. A lovely complete dish. I love this kind of eating, and The Star and Garter’s version is a real winner.
Ruth chose the seasonal special and tempting Dip Your Own Asparagus.
Fresh seasonal Asparagus with its own pot of Hollandaise and Parmesan, presented beautifully and set up for a dipping frenzy. Ruth loved it. I tried a spear with the hollandaise and could concur to its simplicity and celebration of a beautiful British vegetable. With both starters taken together to share between two you’d have near perfection this Spring.
For veggies that don’t eat Parmesan it can be ignored as it comes seperate in its own pot.
For my main course I ordered the delicious sounding Spring Vegetable and Puy Lentil Pie, Quicke’s Mature Chedder mash, Veg gravy.
In fact it was delicious. Deep flavoured put lentil filling, chedder mash with a really mature kick, soft but firm tenderstalk Broccoli. Indulgent, rich, comforting. It was delicious and full of deep flavour and well seasoned. A tasty Vegetarian option served with hot veggie gravy.
We ordered a side order of Spring Greens and Peas with a thyme dressing, which complimented and boosted my dish well.
For dessets Ruth ordered the Treacle Tart, Chantilly cream. Which she said was nice, but didn’t wow and could have done with a zingy lift.
I ordered The Sticky Toffee Pudding, which was a good pud. Very sticky, a deep toffee flavour and plenty of toffee sauce. Lovely.
We also ordered a nice bottle of White Rioja which complimented the food well.
The Star and Garter is a lovely old town centre pub. It’s cosy, quirky, with a good atmosphere that adds to our experience and made for a lovely evening. With its low lighting and modern but old feel it a recommended try when in Leamington Spa. For Vegetarians dining out the food is superb. A good mix of dishes that could possibly do with another main course on it (maybe a special) for added choice or maybe to utilise more of the seasonal veg that is around in different more adventurous ways, but for informal eating with a cosy, Gastro feel it’s a joy and with its genuine welcome and relaxed service its a fab choice to eat, drink and be merry in Leamington Spa.
Thanks for reading,
Thanks to General Manager Colin for his time and taking us through the menu and to Sarah for the organisation.
The review was written after a kind invitation from the Star and Garter to review their Spring menu. Our food and drink was complimentary on the night. All opinions are my own, honest and without bias. I was not required to write a positive review.
The last three photos plus the first two courtesy of The Star and Garter. The rest of the photos are my own.
Star and Garter, 4-6 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa, CV 32 5LL.