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The Star Inn in Alfriston - restaurant review

PUBLISHED: 11:16 24 May 2016 | UPDATED: 16:08 06 November 2017

Chicken and ham hock pie with new potatoes, fine beans and savoy cabbage (Photo by Graham Franks)

Chicken and ham hock pie with new potatoes, fine beans and savoy cabbage (Photo by Graham Franks)

Archant

Duncan Hall visits the recently revamped 13th century pilgrim hostelry The Star Inn for a light lunch

The Star Inn is still a place of pilgrimage for anyone exploring the beautiful countryside around Alfriston and the Bloomsbury Group’s rural bolt-holes.

Since an extensive three-month refit at the beginning of 2015 The Star has become the place for locals to go.“The place was gutted,” says Nicky Osborne, The Star’s advertising and PR manager, adding that all the inn’s 37 bedrooms were refurbished.

On a quiet spring lunchtime there is a fire blazing in the grate by the bar, but at the same time the windows are letting in streams of sunlight to illuminate the stone and wooden floors and whitewashed walls augmented by black Tudor beams.

The tables and chairs are all reclaimed wood, with the old chapel seats reflecting the pub’s history as a stopping point on the road to Chichester’s Shrine of St Richard.

The revamped menu is simple but high quality, drawing on locally sourced produce. The toughest part is picking what to have.

The crispy pig cheeks with cider vinegar, pickled cabbage, capers and parsley (£5.95) is a perfect starter – crispy and salty without being too filling. Other temptations include smoked mackerel and tarragon pate (£6.50) and the mouth-watering Sussex figs stuffed with Colton Basset stilton with parma ham, walnuts and rosehip syrup (£6.50).

For mains I am caught between trying the pan-fried Montague Farm organic lamb’s liver (£11.50), or the tiger prawn and chorizo spaghetti (£16.95). On the attentive server’s advice I take the latter for a light lunch. The white wine and tarragon sauce beautifully coats the close-cut spaghetti and there’s a lovely chilli tang. This dish has been recently added to the ever-changing menu.

“We took our chicken pie off the menu and there were howls of protest,” says Nicky, adding there are certain favourites which have a permanent place on the menu.

The sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream (£5.95) arrives like a raft floating on a sea of sweet sauce. The sponge is light while the ice cream is festooned with vanilla pods.

Behind the bar are local breweries Saxon, Harveys, Long Man and Merrydown cider.

The Star Inn also provides Sunday lunches – at £11.95/£5.95 children – and function rooms for business meetings, weddings and parties.

No wonder the pilgrim’s favourite is back on the tourist map.

The Star Inn, Alfriston, 01323 870495; www.thestaralfriston.co.uk

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