Going out for breakfast or brunch isn’t something Mr M and I do all that often. Yes, we go away a fair bit, but breakfast in a campervan is often a bacon sarnie or a bowl of cereal. And while I get to enjoy some nice breakfasts when I’m away with work, it’s rare that the two of us (three including the dog) toddle off somewhere to munch our way through a Sunday morning with nowhere to be, no work to do, and a whole load of food we know we probably shouldn’t be eating.
We’ve been to the Star & Garter in Leamington before but only in the evening. It’s a lovely building slightly out of the main town centre and we were overjoyed to find it’s another place that we could take the dog. It was quiet on the Sunday morning we visited but that can be handy when you have a clumsy pooch in tow.
The Star & Garter is part of the Peach group, who I’ve been a fan of for quite some time. They have pubs across Warwickshire and Birmingham, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire and seem to constantly be growing. Despite their large numbers, they refuse to be described as a chain and instead call themselves “a group of like-minded enthusiasts”.
Yes, it sounds like marketing speak but I’m inclined to agree with the sentiment it represents. Each one feels like a pub in its own right with its own look and character, yet each one offers decent food, reasonably priced and really good service too. We’ve not been let down yet and this occasion was no different. The welcome was warm and relaxed, notwithstanding the excitable Rottweiler we had in tow, and very soon we were nestled in a corner eyeing up the brunch menu.
It’s a simple but tempting menu and makes a big thing of the provenance of its food – free-range bacon and sausages from Jimmy Butler as well as local free-range eggs and sourdough from the Brown Sugar Bakery in Henley-on-Thames.
There are the indulgent options like American pancakes and Eggs Royale, traditional options like a sausage sarnie or full English, and the healthier choices of coconut milk porridge and smashed avocado and scrambled egg. There are also some different-sounding dishes of a pulled bacon, egg & tomato chutney bloomer roll and a pulled bacon & cheddar potato cake with a poached egg.
As tempting as they were, I have a weakness for smashed avocado and liked the fact it comes with spring onion and chilli. It looked a picture and it was nice to see the eggs were soft and yielding rather than many of the rubbery messes I’ve had recently in other places. The dish had the gentle kick I had hoped for from the onion and chilli, though I’d have been just as contented without the greenery garnish on top – something I’m never quite convinced by. It came on toasted sourdough and there was a generous helping of avocado.
Mr M opted for a Full English – his go-to choice whenever we eat breakfast out (probably because we don’t have it at home). It was a clean-looking dish that looked hearty without being greasy or stodgy. Perfectly-executed poached eggs, large field mushrooms arranged nicely on as good an example of black pudding I’ve had recently, decent meat products and beans kept separately which I know pleases the breakfast aficionados amongst us.
According to Mr M it was tasty, substantial enough to be filling without leaving him belly busted and full of guilt. Nothing to complain about there either.
We washed it all down with copious amounts of tea and coffee. As tempted as I was to try one of the Star & Garter’s ‘Eye-Openers’ – Bloody Mary, Bucks Fizz or a Pink Grapefruit Breakfast G&T – we decided to opt for a dog walk in the sunshine instead, but it’s an option I’m keen on exploring very soon with a stack full of newspapers and several hours.
Yet again, the Star & Garter didn’t disappoint. Okay, so brunch or breakfast isn’t a fancy schmancy dinner or tasting menu, but when you don’t do something that often – even if it’s brunch – you want it to taste good, be in nice surroundings, and come with decent service. And that’s exactly what we go!
Our brunch was complimentary for the purposes of this blog. I wasn’t asked to write a positive review. Peach are just good at what they do.