Yes, yes, yes how did you guess?’
This was the text reply to my suggestion of what was becoming a tradition lunchtime with an ex colleague – ‘macaroni cheese at the “Old Star”:http://www.oldstar-westminster.co.uk/ at 12 noon prompt’.
Whilst the Old Star is in theory a pub, you can book a table, they provide waiter/ress service and there is a good wine list.
This Victorian pub is right outside St James Park tube station (assuming you come out of the right exit) and a short walk from the government buildings that dominate Westminster.
Whilst there’s some limited seating on the ground floor (mainly on either impossibly high or low seats) and a first floor dining room, we prefer the bowels with its atmospheric arches.
The menu has about half a dozen starters or snacks – so if you want home-made Cumberland pork Scotch egg or British pork and Old Speckled Hen sausage roll with a pint, you’ll be happy. There’s a good range of sandwiches but we skip straight to the mains with its range of English favourites like sausage and mash or chicken and chips. I used to be torn between the fish and chips but recently we’ve both become converted to the macaroni cheese at £8.95 with an accompanying watercress salad, crispy shallots, and garlic flatbread. To add pulled pork or chicken for £1.50 extra to us, would be sacrilege. Because the Old Star is such a British institution they would never call it by its trendy name of Mac n Cheese.
Despite it being busy with smaller Christmas office groups, the service was good and the food up to its usual standards. The macaroni has just the right amount of sauce, fabulously flavoured cheese with a dressing on the watercress salad that cuts through any creaminess.
Because it was Christmas we decided to finish with a shared sticky toffee pudding with ice cream. No words were said until it was finished which actually says it all.
Our favourite New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is not the cheapest at £24.95 (or what seems like an extortionate £8.75 for a large glass) but again, it complements the food so well.
On our penultimate visit, we’d sat at a small table for two with a beaten copper top. I was in a black polo neck cotton sweater and soon discovered verdigris coloured sticky dots on the elbows (that will teach me not to put elbows on the table). The manager was summonsed who confirmed that it was brasso which the cleaners had used on the table. Unfortunately they’d failed to polish it out of the dents! I was advised to have the top cleaned with the bill being refunded (and 20% off our food bill). Unfortunately this wasn’t successful and so on taking it in, I was asked to name my price for a new top. We settled on £20 with both sides feeling they’d done OK. The good natured way this incident was handled ensured that this is a place we will return to again and again.