the starr, great dunmow

The Starr, Great Dunmow

I’ve been so busy recently that I’ve got rather behind with a load of posts that I wanted to make.  I’m on call this weekend, so I’ve got a chance to catch up with some!

A couple of weeks ago, me and The Man managed to make it to the quite frankly rather startling mileston of seven whole years together!  Having been so poor for so long, we’ve never really been able to mark these occasions properly, so I made the decision to book us somewhere nice to eat, and after a lot of ‘research’, I decided on The Starr Restaurant With Rooms in Great Dunmow, as the reviews of the food were fantastic, and the idea of not having to go very far to get back ‘home’ was very appealing.

So I booked their most expensive room – on the basis that there was a free-standing bath IN the bedroom, which felt rather decadent!


Doctor's Pond, just at the back of The Starr

I’m an Essex Girl, and have often got upset that people don’t realise what gorgeous little villages there are in my home county, and Great Dunmow is a lovely example.  The Starr itself is a gorgeous 15th Century buildin, with the rooms just across the courtyard at the back, in what looks to be converted stables.

Our room was lovely – really spacious, all dark oak furniture, a four-poster bed, and that bath.

The Man has a go in the bath

There was a gorgeous HUGE separate bathroom with a massive shower, and we found a perfect use for the bidet.

Some lovely 'Naked Wines'

I felt extremely happy, relaxed and decadent sipping wine whilst relaxing in a deep bubble-bath, watching the TV whilst chatting to The Man as he lounged across our four-poster bed.  It was the perfect pre-dinner setting!

So, then we made our way to the restaurant, which took us at least 2 minutes!  We were seated in the tiny little bar area, which was bustling as the restaurant was (unsurprisingly) fully-booked.  We had our drinks order taken, and were given some rather scrummy little ‘amuse bouche’, while we perused the menu before being taken to our table, which was in their lovely conservatory area.  One was chicken liver pate on little brioche toasts and the other a deep fried crispy potato and cheese concoction.  Sound simple but gave us high hopes for what was to come.

Chicken and cep ravioli on wilted spinach with a chicken and celeriac veloute

This was my starter choice, and was absolutely lovely, the ravioli filling meaty and earthy and the sauce flavoursome but light and velvety – the only very minor criticism I could have had was that the pasta could have done with being oh so very slightly thinner!

Monkfish, cod and prawn in a fish soup

The Man was extremely happy with his starter – I’m sure it had a more descriptive name, but it was on the specials board and I can’t remember exactly what it was – it was 2 weeks ago!!  but apparently it was totally delish.

Braised Ox-Cheeks "bourguignon" topped with foie gras

The Man’s choice of main (yes Linda, more ‘face’!) – look at the amount of foie gras on there!! The cheeks were fall-apart tender, the foie-gras rich and the sauce unctious.  We ordered a side of triple-cooked chips as a side, mainly to go with this (and the staff said this was a favourite combination for the boys) – oh my GOD, if you ever go to The Starr, you HAVE to have the chips, they were wonderful!

Prior's Hall Farm Poached & Roasted Pork Fillet, apple puree, fidget pie

How pretty is that?  The pork was moist and tender, and very ‘piggy’, the cabbage with smoked bacon was just SLIGHTLY salty, but worked well when eaten with all the other elements.  The fidget pie pastry was light, almost melting into nothingness – filled with a lovely porky-appley stew.

Chocolate Brownie toasted marshmallow parfait

The Man went for the cheese board with some smelly cheeses, celery, quince chutney and biscuits and I opted for the chocolate offering.  I’m not altogether what was in the little shot glass, it tasted rather like a ‘condensed milk foam’ topped with chocolate.  The brownies were happily nutless and the marshmallow coated in a knd of biscuity crumb.

However, by this stage I was starting to feel rather full, and was unable to finish it much to my shame.

Coffee and petit fours

I did manage to help The Man with some of the petit-fours though.  I had one of the little sponges (the smaller one) and half a chocolate swirly thing, which were just perfect.

And then we went back to our room, finished our wine and had one of the best night’s sleep I have EVER had on the most comfortable bed EVER.

The Starr is lovely, high quality but comfortable with polite but friendly staff – they obviously take a lot of pride in what they do – I highly recommend it.

It was the perfect anniversary 🙂


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