The Star Inn the City, restaurant review: This All-Day Menu plays the Yorkshire card with a heavy hand

The Star Inn the City, Lendal Engine House, Museum Street, York (01904 619208)

After transforming the North Yorkshire village of Harome into a gastronomic Mecca with his two posh pubs, the Star and, more recently, the Pheasant, Andrew Pern has extended his operation to the local metropolis.

Opened last September, the awkwardly-named Star Inn The City is a shrewdly-positioned venture on the banks of the River Ouse, bang opposite the York City Rowing Club. A crew of oarswomen, transformed into a single organism by their bellowing cox, sculled past as my wife and I entered the Star on a balmy Tuesday evening.

Less energetic citizenry thronged its riverside garden and bar, installed in a former water-pumping station of 1836. For food, you trickle through to a modernist glass wedge given a hint of tradition by Miss Marple-style tasselled lampshades. The All-Day Menu (available from noon to 10pm) plays the Yorkshire card with a heavy hand. White Rose patriots can start with 'Nidderdale chicken liver paté' before moving on to 'deep-fried Scarborough woof' and the barely pronounceable 'salad o't day'.

Seating 80, the dining room steadily filled during the evening. A long banquette enhances sociability, though it meant that an elderly couple opposite us were obliged to endure the conversational sallies of a well-refreshed pair of thirtysomethings, who loudly informed them about the right way of drinking champagne and many other topics. Most diners seemed to be York businessmen who clocked up steaks of 'prime Yorkshire beef' (£26-30) on the company plastic. The arrival of a huge pile of onion rings gave one table the appearance of a fairground hoopla stall.

Bread and butter (£2) arrives in a cloth cap. At least, it should. Ours came on a plate. "I'm afraid people keep nicking 'em," explained our waitress. "I'll get you one." The repeated appropriation possibly explains the label hidden inside this time-honoured symbol of God's own county: 'MADE IN CHINA'.

My wife's starter of 'seared sea scallops with spiced Yorkshire pork cheek' proved to be even more disturbingly alien. Though this gastronomic marriage worked well, the price of £14 for two smallish scallops suggests that the celebrated Yorkshire obsession with dosh has gone the way of the cloth cap and whippet. Gratifyingly, my corned beef turned out to be reasonable value at £9. Topped with Black Sheep ale jelly and studded with little gherkins, it had scant connection with the tinned version. Moreover, you rarely get Fray Bentos accompanied by marigold petals and thyme flowers. If we had been on the bank of the Oise rather than the Ouse, this juicy item would have been quite at home as terrine de boeuf aux cornichons.

From a list of mains, accurately described as 'more substantial', Alison was lured by 'pan-fried breast of Beverley-reared duck', which proved to be as pink and tender as you would hope. She was impressed by accompaniments of citrus sausage roll, pickled cherries and anise carrot purée. "You can tell a lot of care has gone into it."

Pressed by the staff to order a side plate of vegetables, she turned down leeks as "too oniony". "How about creamed spinach?" But when it arrived, this too proved to be weirdly dominated by the taste of onion. A glance at the menu explained it was actually 'creamed spinach and shallots'. This odd combination went untouched.

Feeling in need of something lighter on a warm night, I plumped for the daily special of 'North Sea lobster and saffron risotto, summer vegetables and Ribblesdale smoked cheese'. It looked great – golden rice punctuated with commas of saffron – like the risotto alla Milanese I'd enjoyed in that city, though the taste was quite wrong. Substituting for a whisper of Parmesan, the Yorkshire cheese made the risotto far too saline and fatty. The lumps of lobster vanished amid the claggy morass. It was a case when less would have been more, though I don't suppose Mr Pern could have charged £22 for Milan's simple perfection.

At the dessert stage, the same cheese tasted fine among a generous selection that also included Yorkshire Blue, Harrogate Blue, Dale End cheddar and a fresh goat's milk cheese from Lowna Dairies near Beverley. Alison said her 'elderflower rice pudding with gin-soaked goosegogs' delivered "lots of lovely subtle flavours" as she followed the advice of a waiter to "have a gooseberry with each mouthful of pud".

All in all, our dinner was a mixed bag at a somewhat daunting price. The limited choice Market Menu (served noon to 6.30pm) looked a better bet at £17 for two courses, or £22 for three. Located midway between York station and the Minster, you won't find a finer setting for lunch in this delightful city.

Food ***
Ambience *****
Service ****

The Star Inn the City, Lendal Engine House, Museum Street, York (01904 619208). Around £140 for two, including wine

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Sales Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This airport parking organisation are looking...

    Recruitment Genius: PCV Bus Drivers

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Do you enjoy bus driving and are looking for ...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - York

    £18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - Y...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project