In a nutshell
The Star and Garter is a historic maritime pub in the heart of Falmouth that has been given a new lease of life by aspiring owners Becca and Elliot Thompson and their passionate troop of chefs. Lesser-used cuts of meat, fresh local fish and smoking, curing and preserving make for a menu of bold flavours and satisfying dishes, to be enjoyed alongside a serious drinks offering.
Head chef Andi Richardson has gathered together several old colleagues from Fifteen Cornwall, where they were all part of the professional team supporting Jamie Oliver’s young apprentices.
The Italian influence and rustic style at The Star and Garter is a welcome nod to the former life of the kitchen team at Fifteen, but overall the menu is bolder and heartier, and perfectly suited to the pub setting.
The food philosophy is nose-to-tail, and the kitchen even includes a butchery room and a Big Green Egg (indoor barbecue). All cuts are exploited to their full potential thanks to a daily-changing menu, sharing platters (rump cap and pork collar for example), and a kitchen team who clearly love to practice the art of smoking and curing.
Fresh Cornish fish has its place on the menu, but the culture of preserving extends here, too: smoked eel and cured tuna both featured on the day of our visit. Accompaniments are hearty and seasonal; borlotti beans, horseradish, chestnuts, cavalo nero and braised celeriac set the tone for our winter visit.
What’s the room like/atmosphere
The space moves seamlessly from a bar area, with a carefully-curated back-bar (make your selection from the comfort of a leather armchair – the knowledgeable staff are happy to oblige) to a dining room with impressive views over Falmouth Harbour, one of the deepest natural ports in the world. It’s a fascinating scene by day and night, and best enjoyed from one of the comfy leather-upholstered booths which take pride of place.
The pub’s traditional wood paneling is a beautiful shade of marine blue, while brass light fittings add a lively sheen. The décor and atmosphere achieve the perfect balance of traditional maritime pub and modern restaurant, with added personality provided by Olive, the resident French Bulldog.
Menu must-orders and misfires
A starter of hand-rolled pasta with smoked eel, pancetta and borlotti beans was beautifully balanced, as was a main course of brill with rainbow chard and a refreshing lemon aioli to cut through a rich and flavoursome chickpea stew. The stand-out dish was a featherblade of beef; smoked then brined and finally roasted, the intense smoky flavor permeated the whole piece of beautifully tender meat – even the fat was remarkably delicious.
Puntarelle alla Romana, a simple dish of bitter shoots, which are a member of the chicory family, were served with lemon, anchovies, chilli and olive oil and seemed to define the food at The Star and Garter.
The wine list is concise, with by-the-glass options marrying well with the hearty and rich flavours of the menu. Daily recommendations (such as mulled cider and American craft beers) and wine matches (a Valpolicella Ripasso worked very well with the beef) are attentions to detail we could fully appreciate.
What else did you like/dislike?
The waiting and bar staff were very engaging, and added to the dining experience with their knowledge of the menu and cooking processes.
A talented, knowledgeable and experimental kitchen team makes The Star and Garter an exciting prospect in the booming Cornish food scene. Great food in an atmospheric setting.
52 High Street
Written by Lucy Studley, December 2016
Image credits: Patrick Downing and Kirsten Prisk