‘I Love Tapas’ at The Star Inn

Throughout the week and at weekends, the menu at The Star Inn, Ingatestone, offers a sumptuous array of honest pub grub and stylish, contemporary specials. But on Friday nights, everything becomes distinctly Spanish, where the small plates come out and the atmosphere takes on a distinctly Iberian vibe. And if you love tapas, then this is the place to be.

For many gastropubs, a steady stream of custom can be carefully managed and attended to. But come the end of the week, there isn’t so much focus on quiet dining. Especially when you are situated in a village and with regulars to keep happy. The bar area can become swollen and overspill and why not? They are essentially pubs after all. So, owner, Liz Haines and Head Chef, Rachel Diwell, have put their heads together and come up with an additional tapas menu to keep the crowd happy; recreating the sort of buzz you might find in a bar in Madrid or Barcelona.

With over 20 plates to choose from, you can order familiar sounding dishes such as Patatas Bravas, crispy calamari and cheese croquettes. But there are also some more adventurous options that come in the shape of green lip mussels, with chorizo, garlic butter and a mixed herb crumb and salt batter white fish, with lip smacking aioli. Vegetarians are equally catered for too. According to Liz, their chickpea and Mediterranean vegetable stew flies out of the kitchen. And goes rather well with chilled manzanilla or fino sherry.

Adding further, Liz says ‘Obviously, one of the things we pride ourselves on is our approach to using local and good quality ingredients. And this continues on for the ‘I Love Tapas’ menu. But I must say, it is nice to have a change of scene and create some hustle and bustle. It amazes me actually; what Rachel and the kitchen can deliver when Fridays come around. Maybe we should go out to Spain and open a bar one day!’

Which is a great idea but Exquisite Concierge thinks that there may be an uproar about that. Head on down to The Star Inn this Friday, to find out what the noise is all about.

The Star Inn, 45 High Street, Ingatestone, Essex CM4 9DU, 01277 356441

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