The “Star at Sancton”:http://www.thestaratsancton.co.uk/, a small village pub in the East Riding of Yorkshire, was deemed worthy of a 70th birthday celebration as it’s won a number of awards and uses locally sourced ingredients all described on the menu e.g. meat from A Laverack & Sons at Holme on Spalding Moor and eggs from ‘Tony the Egg Man’. Having lived in the area until my late twenties, reading the menu brought back so many memories of places and people.
The pub has undergone a huge renovation recently with a new large car park at the back. There’s lots of tables and chairs outside but this was a damp November day and having admired the rabbits in their smart hutch, we made our way through a cosy back bar with open fire (presumably to placate the locals) to one of two dining rooms at the front.
There’s lots of bare brick, polished wooden furniture, antiques and framed newspaper cuttings of reviews on the walls.
Whilst there was a Yorkshire lunch menu (two courses for £16.95 and 3 for £18.95), this was a birthday and only the a la carte would do (there are separate lunch and dinner menus).
We had a choice of warm rolls: brown with sunflower seeds and white with onion seeds and rosemary. Two of us chose potted smoked salmon served a small glass jar topped with clarified butter on a wooden board with salad garnish and small French toast. The flavour was excellent and the texture lovely and coarse. Likewise the celeriac and apple soup was said to be good.
Living in London, I always complain about the quality of southern fish and chips – no problems here. Black Sheep Beer battered fish was divine: no skin, whale like in size, crisp, golden batter and best of all, it was sat on a huge pile of big fat chips. I generously gave five away and still had lots. The birthday girl asked whether there was onion in the fish pie and was told it was freshly made so it could be left out (unfortunately her accompanying salad had lots of red onion but was swiftly changed on asking). Like the fish pie, macaroni cheese arrived in a deep round black heavy pot and was described on the menu as ‘Fountains Gold and porcini mac and cheese, crispy mushrooms, crispy shallot rings and a cheese straw’.
My brother chose a pie and whilst waiting (the menu says it takes 30 minutes) we debated pie likes and dislikes – soggy bottoms, no bottom, too much gravy etc. This was a pie bomb – a balloon shaped pie full of Mr Laverack’s tender beef chunks cooked in Wold Top Ale with a separate jug of gravy. It was served on top of rainbow chard and spiced red cabbage. There was little conversation over mains as we all tucked in.
I was really full at this stage but I knew the birthday girl really wanted a pudding, so I gallantly offered to share cider-glazed spiced apple cake, golden sultanas, cinnamon ice cream and ginger thin. Once again, it was excellent.
I booked through opentable and told them it was a celebration meal and there was a voucher in a glossy gold envelope on the table for 10% of the next meal and the pudding came adorned with a sparkler.
We had a bottle of excellent Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, very reasonably priced at just under £16 and my brother tried a pint of Humber Light from Wold Top Brewery.
This is not your normal pub meal and the prices reflect this, but if you want fabulous food for a special event it’s certainly the place to come.