We had heard that the Fox and Hounds was possibly the best place to eat in North Yorkshire, the Star at Harome included, and had been unable to book on the first day I called but had to wait 'til the following day for a free table. The restaurant is an unimposing converted pub in a coastal hamlet high on the cliffs at the north end of Whitby Bay. Having struggled in up the kerb and a steeper step into the restaurant (although the rest of the premises are level but with no designated accessible WC) I was slightly disappointed to discover muzak (albeit interesting, at very low volume, muzak) playing, but the welcome was warm and we were taken to a nicely laid table in a light room with good views and two other tables, only one of them occupied. A tour of the premises after we had finished (and surprise, surprise, we were the last to leave the place) showed a further two rooms, one with a handful of tables and one 'dining room' with one large table. An eclectic selection of art adorned the walls, in the 'dining room' some of it was quite disturbing, but all fascinating.
Service was informal but excellent. Staff showed a good knowledge of the menu, wines etc and had the time and inclination to talk about them. Cotton napkins, cutlery of different provenance but well suited to the dishes and interesting glassware.
Understanding of my wheat allergy included a serious consideration of the sourdough rye bread not necessarily being wheatfree.
An excellent bowl of olives accompanied our aperitifs.
Purely picky but there was too much dressing on my carpaccio of beef, which was otherwise superb, the accompanying grilled radicchio was excellent and with just the right amount of shaved parmesan. The crab bruschetta with chilli, fennel and lemon was also excellent with the chilli being unevenly spread through the mix giving an occasional belt which only added to the enjoyment, the bruschetta was a little tough though.
The seared turbot fillet was almost perfect (very slightly over cooked for me) with perfect puy lentils, grilled fennel and an anchovy & rosemary sauce, slightly tinged with lemon, a perfect combination that required no wine to go with it. A sirloin of Shorthorn steak, pan-roasted rare, exactly as ordered, was 'perfect' with a garlic & herb butter, excellent chips (gently crisp on the outside, meltingly smooth on the inside) and fresh water cress.
Puds: A slither of dark chocolate truffle cake was like a garnache, rich and smooth, the raspberries were dressed with ricotta and glorious, feathery, lemon sugar. I had been torn between the pudding and the cheese, gluttony won out and we finished with the Lowna dairy bluestones goat's cheese which was of a perfect ripeness, well partnered with oatcakes and cherries.
A good selection of wines by the glass included an interesting Languedoc white as an aperitif which was intended to accompany the turbot but was superfluous, a simple Spanish red was fine with the carpaccio and cremant d'Alsace most suitable for the raspberries. A lovely apple juice was fine for the non-drinker. The espresso coffee was also a cut above normal.
At £102 for two the cost of the meal was expensive but considering the extra pudding (the cheese) and the overall superb quality the price was justified.
A fabulous meal in a lovely setting above Sands End and overlooking Whitby Bay. The overall price might dissuade some but it really was well worth it. They not only hit their targets but score bullseyes all the way through. Not clever cuisine, as I understand the Star does, but excellent ingredients perfectly prepared and presented.