Star Inn the Harbour

It’s Wednesday lunchtime and chef Andrew Pern is sitting in his whites at a table in his own Star Inn at Harome but there’s no food in sight and the cutlery and napkins have been pushed aside to make way for a large ‘mood board’ of magazine cuttings with ideas for his next big venture.

Rockpool of shellfish with oyster ice cream and seaweed velouté

The Star Inn the Harbour is his latest project. A 160 cover fish restaurant to be housed in the former Tourist Information Centre in the heart of Whitby. The plan is to open in May with a dining area, bar, ice cream parlour and outdoor seating. It’s a plum location in the heart of the town right by the harbour. No wonder the local competition are a little jumpy.

A preliminary menu (which he warns is bound to change) majors on fish and seafood (£5-£15 starters/£15-£22 mains). Naturally they’ll be doing fish and chips: ‘We’d be stupid not to,’ he says, but also Dover sole; monkfish ‘scampi’; halibut and lobster thermidor. On ice: oysters, langoustines, lobster, crevettes then maybe deep fried calamari, fish soup and his fabulous posh prawn cocktail served with a Bloody Mary sorbet.

There will be Rockpool, a Star Inn favourite. He dashes to the kitchen: ‘I’ll get them to make you one’. What comes out is a wooden box filled with pebbles and seaweed: ‘a bit of theatre’ he says and in a hand thrown pot (100 newly commissioned from a local potter) come scallops, prawns, oyster and mussels topped with oyster ice cream and in another pot, a seaweed velouté to pour over.

You will thank me for trying it so that I can confirm it’s absolutely terrific.

It’s also the reason why Pern has a Michelin star and why in January, the Star won Best Gastropub in Britain. Me, I’m counting down to May when the Star rises over the harbour and Andrew Pern, (he was born here) comes home.

Food Awards 2017

Man_Behind_CurtainIt’s the awards time of year, so here’s a quick round up:

The 2017 Waitrose Good Food Guide came out in September with new entries for Ox Club and Tharavadu in Leeds, White Rabbit in Todmorden and the Crathorne Arms south of Middlesbrough. One of our favourites,  the Swine that Dines is credited in a list of ‘Best New Openings’ with our congratulations to Ian Myers who is named as ‘a chef to watch’.


Last week the UK Michelin Guide was published with no surprises for Yorkshire, just a sigh of relief I suspect for the six Yorkshire restaurants that retained their stars. They are: the Star at Harome, the Yorke Arms at Ramsgill; the Black Swan at Oldstead; the Box Tree, Ilkley; the Pipe & Glass at South Dalton and the Man Behind the Curtain in Leeds.


Among our near neighbours: Raby Hunt at Darlington has been awarded a second star, a stunning accolade and one of only 20 in the UK. Single stars are retained by House of Tides, Newcastle; Fischer’s of Baslow and Northcote at Langho.


Michelin’s ‘affordable dining’ award, the Bib Gourmand goes to Prashad in Drighlington, Chadwicks of Maltby and Le Langhe in York.


Yorkshire got a look-in at the Great British Pub Awards with

Best Beer Pub: the Sheffield Tap. Best Student Pub: the Doctor’s Orders, Sheffield. Best Cider Pub: Foley’s Tap House, Leeds and across the border Best Food Pub for the Freemason’s at Wiswell near Clitheroe.

Pern & Johns Link Up

Breaking news: Richard Johns (Falcon Inn, Withernwick) and Andrew Pern (chef/prop. of the Star Inn and Star Inn the City) are linking up for a new venture in York. We’ve long been fans of chef Richard and Lindsey Johns ever since their days at Artisan in Hessle.

Richard and Lindsey Johns

Richard and Lindsey Johns

They closed there in 2013 feeling they had taken the restaurant as far as they could as a two-person operation. After a break to recharge, they surprised us all by opening at the Falcon Inn in Withernwick, 15 miles from Beverley in the far reaches of east Yorkshire, so it was a surprise to hear from Richard that ‘due to circumstances we do not control there is no long term future here’.

The couple are relocating to York in mid May to ‘work on a new project with Andrew Pern’. The location of Andrew’s new venture is still under wraps until negotiations are complete but we will keep you posted.

While the Johns’ move is a loss for East Yorkshire it’s good news for York.  We wish them all the very best of luck.

Top chefs invade the Devonshire Arms

If you want to sample dishes prepared by the best Yorkshire chefs then you need to book a place at the Devonshire Arms (Bolton Abbey) Food and Wine Week which begins on Monday.

Mandy and I were invited last year for a cook-off lunch between the Dev’s chef Adam Smith and the Box Tree’s Lawrence Yates and it was terrific.


Adam Smith, head chef of the Devonshire Arms

This year it kicks off with a dinner cooked by what is arguably Yorkshire’s top five chefs: Adam Smith (Devonshire Arms), Andrew Pern (Star at Harome), James Mackenzie (Pipe & Glass), Tim Bilton (Spiced Pear) and Stephanie Moon (Rudding Park).

On Tuesday it will be a War of the Roses lunch pitching Nigel Haworth from Northcote Manor in Lancashire, (who has his own food festival coming up) against Adam Smith.

If you’ve never been to the famous L’Enclume in Cartmel, Thursday is a chance to sample some of head chef Mark Birchall’s remarkable food.

The food and wine week closes on Sunday 7th December with an evening of wines from Joe Fattorini of Bibendum Wines and a tasting menu prepared by Adam Smith. Prices range from £30 to £95.

For more information go to

To book: or T: 01756 718155


Four at the Top

In the last couple of weeks I have, by coincidence, had the rare treat of eating in four of our top ten restaurants, and what a delight. Everyone of them different and all of them operating at the top of their game.

Yorke Arms ext

Yorke Arms at Ramsgill in Nidderdale

A night at the Yorke Arms at Ramsgill, presented a sophisticated summer menu full of delicate, fresh flavours sourced from their own veg. garden overflowing with produce.

Then there was our longstanding raffle prize to cash in, a night and dinner at the Pipe and Glass which despite its Michelin star still operates as a pub. We began in the bar with a pint of Two Chefs, the newish honey beer created by the two chefs James Mackenzie and Andrew Pern and a Mason’s Yorkshire gin and tonic, which was astonishingly different to your regular Gordon’s. Dinner was hearty and robust without sacrificing finesse – lovely food firmly set in the region. Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon brought to our room the next day rounded off a terrific stay.

We popped into the Star Inn at Harome one Friday evening on the off-chance and despite a busy bar the charming waiter found us a table, served up a beautiful plate of halibut, heady with truffle, and brought us more of that Two Chefs ale.

Fox & Hounds #11

Fox & Hounds, Goldsborough, near Whitby

Finally, a birthday celebration took us to another of our favourite places, the Fox and Hounds at Goldsborough. If you’ve never been to this hidden gem, (it really is tucked away on a clifftop hamlet miles from anywhere) then go now. A short but utterly perfectly balanced menu of crab risotto followed by monkfish with polenta doused in Greek olive oil rounded off with a supremely chocolatey chocolate torte.

Four of my all time favourite restaurants, all in Yorkshire. Please send your condolences for these tough assignments.

Star Inn the City Coming Along

We’re excited to see building work progressing at the Star Inn the City beside Lendal Tower in York. It’s a great location in a corner of the lovely Museum Gardens and bordering the river. Refurbishment of the Old Engine House – the main restaurant – is well underway and we have watched the diggers preparing for the brand new glazed extension and outdoor dining space to the side. Altogether it will seat 120 and is due to open late autumn. We can’t wait.


Artists impression ot the Star Inn the City











Star Inn the City


Andrew Pern photo: Andrew McKinstry

Museum Gardens is the green heart in the centre of York. Its lovely lawns and flower beds are bordered by centuries of history with the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, the Roman multangular tower, a delightful little observatory and the timbered Hospitium. On sunny days visitors and office workers spread across the greensward for impromptu picnics. All that’s missing is a café. Not any more. Andrew Pern of the much loved Star Inn at Harome is to open The Star Inn the City in the old Engine House close by the river. It’s a peach of a location – as long as the building can cope with the flooding that afflicts this corner of York. The 130 cover restaurant promises to be a fantastic addition to the city and – for me – it’s a tough five minute walk from home. Result.

Wild Duck with Citrus Stuffing & poached Elderberries

We’ve long flown the flag for the Star at Harome, it’s in our top ten and one of our all time favourite Yorkshire restaurants, so we’re delighted that Andrew Pern has given us one of his   recipes. It’s nicely seasonal, using wild duck and some foraged elderberries.

I know it looks cheffy:  lots of ingredients and veal jus, but it’s really straightforward honest and you can substitute chicken (or even a stock cube) for the veal jus, and when you’re done, you’ve got all the elements on the plate, very Masterchef.

2 oven-ready wild duck For the Purée:
50g butter

For the forcemeat:
200g pork sausagemeat
Grated zest of ½ orange
Grated zest of ½ lemon
4 shallots, finely chopped
50g soft breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tsp sage, chopped
A little oil for frying

For the puree:
6 carrots
A little milk
2 tsp mixed spice

For the Yorkshire sauce:
200ml red wine
100g redcurrant jelly
Zest of ½ orange
Juice of one orange
75ml veal jus
A splash of rapeseed oil
75g elderberries

Preheat the oven to 180°C/ Gas Mark 4. Place the whole duck in a roasting tray. Rub a little butter over the breast of the bird, season and roast for approximately 35-40 minutes.

To make the forcemeat, first fry the shallot in a little oil until soft, then add the grated rind of half of one lemon and one orange to the sausagemeat together with the chopped sage, breadcrumbs and beaten egg. Combine together, season to taste and place into a small loaf tin. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, then turn out.

For the Yorkshire Sauce, peel the remainder of the orange, remove the white pith and discard. Cut the zest into julienne strips and place in a saucepan with the red wine and redcurrant jelly. Juice the orange and add to the pan, reducing the liquid to a syrupy consistency.

For the carrot puree, peel and slice the carrots, then place in a pan with a little milk. Cook until very soft, then drain, season the carrots and blitz in a food processor to puree consistency. Finish with the mixed spice.

To serve, slice the duck breast onto the plate with the leg next to it and spoon on a little carrot puree. Drop the elderberries into the Yorkshire Sauce and bring to the boil, then spoon over the wild duck. Serve immediately



Michelin 2011


So the Michelin stars have been doled out again and with one exception there’s been no change in Yorkshire. But what a exception. The Star at Harome has been stripped of its star to complete an annus horribilis for Andrew and Jacqui Pern what with a food poisoning scare, personal upheavals, the rebutted story of bullying in the kitchen and a vague worry that Andrew Pern has been spreading himself too thin with all his demos and publicity shots. There will be schadenfreude on some lips not least because Pern made no secret of his ambition to win a second star.

A few days ago we warned against putting too much trust in the Michelin star system. It’s simply not the best barometer of the best food, merely of a style of food. The trouble is that the Oscar-winning film and the Booker Prize-winning book may not be the best but they don’t half double their money once they win. If there’s any wryness to be had out of the Star’s demotion it is that Welcome To Yorkshire’s hugely funded promotion of Yorkshire dining, which is relentlessly defined by the county’s Michelin stars and personified by Andrew Pern’s smiling face on its magazine covers, will have to have an overdue rethink.

Meanwhile let’s not bury Caesar yet. I’ve eaten at the Star twice in the last 12 months and while I’m no big fan of the new dining room or its two-star ambition now so badly punctured, I have to say the food was still on terrific form. This is not a case like Winteringham Fields where a once great restaurant was critically diminished by the loss of Germaine Schwab from the kitchen. The Perns created something unique at the Star. They’ll be terribly hurt by today’s news but I hope they trust in what made them great in the first place and learn not to give a stuff about the blown-up Michelin. And I hope their clientele follow suit.

Bumper Food Fest

York Food Festival, ended at the weekend. It ran for ten days, and the city centre, especially at the weekend was heaving with people and scores of stalls. There’s some dross to be weeded out from among the many excellent producers who turn up but considering it’s one of Britain’s biggest food festival, there’s bags of integrity underlying the operation (which I know as an insider from having worked at it for four years or so; take that as a declaration of interest, too). The theme this year was Food Heroes. Not the festival circuit regulars like James Martin or Brian Turner, or those celebrity chefs who charge mega bucks for micro time, who you can see on TV any night of the week, anyway.

Instead, there were our own food heroes, those genuinely talented chefs who keep Yorkshire at the top table without deserting their kitchens for reality shows. Names like Andrew Pern of the Star at Harome; James Mackenzie of the Pipe and Glass, Stephanie Moon of Rudding Park, Richard Allen of Harvey Nicks and plenty more.
There were food markets, of course, and expensive themed meals in York’s grandest chambers but also a heap of workshops and demos every day and lots of them for free. Slow Food Workshops and wine tasting every day. If you didn’t make it this year put the date in your diary for next year…16th-25th September 2011

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