I love stumbling over an absolute gem… somewhere slightly off the beaten track with a welcoming feel and incredible grub. I recently visited Star at Lidgate and was so pleased to find that it was much more than “just” a village pub. I’ve heard many a murmur about Star at Lidgate and so have been keen to review the place for a while. My best friend (and vegetarian) Lucinda and I headed over for a mid-week treat! I know many of you spotted the comedian at the weekend but we found out that after visiting the lovely ladies at Bren Pauls, Jack Whitehall and Radio 1 pal, Greg James took the mere 6 mile journey from Newmarket high street to eat at the Star before their guest appearance at Deniro’s! If you are a “larger group” heading to Star at Lidgate then you can enjoy a FREE TAXI there and back! The warmth in temperature from the gorgeous, open, stacked fire is matched by the welcome you receive from Steve Cook. His attentive and friendly nature is consistent throughout your entire dining experience. With a “veggie” in tow, we started with olives, bread and a spanish omelette. The bread, clearly made on the day, was light and incredibly flavoursome! The vegetarian dish, which consisted of mushrooms and chestnuts, was a bourguignon that complimented its own flavours so well Lucinda confidently stated that it was “the best vegetarian meal” she had eaten in the area! Not only were the flavours of my chorizo and sun-dried tomato chicken dish wonderful the textures were unbelievable too! The chicken breast itself was far from dry and mixed really well with the juices and oil from the rich chorizo! The fine layer of skin on the breast was perfectly crispy and a really tasty combination with the rest of the softer meats. (I speak from experience when I recommend their famous paella dish too!) Feeling satisfied and full we opted for a desert to share and were so pleased we did when the huge, homemade toffee pudding arrived on our table with two spoons and a generous “dollop” of vanilla ice cream. This melt-in-your-mouth treat was the perfect end to the perfect evening. Main courses are priced between £12 and £17 with tapas options costing approx £4.75-£4.85 each. Considering that our visit was early on a Wednesday evening, I expected the ambience to be verging on uncomfortably quiet. We were wrong! The atmosphere was great! Now, and on reflection, it does not surprise me that a handful of locals sat at the bar and that we were 1 of 4 lively tables dining that evening. Check out the “What’s on Guide” for events taking place at Star at Lidgate this month. Will we see you at the live music session this Sunday? In the heart of an area with so many pleasant dining options, Star at Lidgate beautifully positions itself as an inviting and indulgent village pub that you will want to return to again and again. http://www.lidgatestar.co.uk 01638 500275
Using vouchers in restaurants and pubs can be an embarrassing experience. An ideal venue will subtly acknowledge your voucher, take it to the till and return quietly with any queries.
If you turn up to a chain restaurant without an available discount code then “more fool you!” Why pay more than the table next to you for exactly the same meal and service. This is similar to Groupon vouchers, if other diners are in the same restaurant, enjoying the same menu but paying less then you should be embarrassed for not being “money-smart” not for holding an A4 voucher.
Recently, we dined at the Three Blackbirds, Woodditton. With it being the “eve” of my birthday and having tweeted the pub about my trip on numerous occasions I was really quite excited!
I want to bypass the meal to tell you about the voucher code horror but credit where it’s due, the food was tasty.
My paté starter was huge and had a gorgeous texture and flavour. I then had the fish and chips. Big portions and tasty but it wasn’t exceptionally better than dishes at other pubs in the area. I do wonder if pubs should reduce prices during the week as you are certainly not paying for the buzzing atmosphere. The fish and chips were a very reasonable price, costing under £11.00. Excluding vegetarian dishes (and the steak options) the average main course works out at £15.03. A price that I think is suitable for a Friday – Sunday meal and evenings entertainment.
Despite purchasing the three course Groupon voucher we were too full to opt for a dessert so simply had one of their rich and delicious coffee’s instead.
Time for the bill…
It turns out that when on the Groupon mobile app you have to scroll to the very bottom of the page, past the fine print and even under the map (!) to see that it says the voucher will only be valid if you mention it when booking.
There were just three tables occupied on the Tuesday evening that we visited. “Emailer” and I presume bar manager, Joe told us that this was the protocol due to availability on the night. The cynic in me can’t help but wonder if that means you are given a separate menu or smaller portions… but I am sure that’s not the case.
Rather than honouring the voucher as the iPhone app did not make the clause clear AND it was my Birthday (!) Joe continued the rather humiliating charade by going upstairs for 5 minutes to print out the web version which did clearly state this comment! Thankfully the pub was now empty so this was all only witnessed by my partner. Poor Gareth never has been “one” for voucher codes so was practically under the table whilst thrusting his credit card in the air just wanting to pay and leave!
I feel it is unfair to somewhat negatively review a venue without contacting the team after the event. Joe has since said that he will contact Groupon to make sure the mobile app version is clearer and that I can have a glass of “bubbly” on my return. I appreciate that this was partly my fault due to my misreading of the bizarre mobile app layout but I really think that on this occasion, any complaints from the pub could have been directed to Groupon rather than affecting us.
Where does this leave me? Well I do still have a valid Groupon voucher, the food is tasty and the 17th century pub itself is gorgeous. With this in mind, when I have stopped blushing I will return as I would quite like to try more options on the menu.
Don’t worry though, I will remember to tell them about my Groupon voucher before hand!