Food review: The Seven Stars, Brocton, Stafford
Gorgeous grub along with a sprinkling of glitz and glamour down your local? Lisa Harrison has found a place that’s shooting for the stars. . .
It was like stepping through the pages of a glossy interior design magazine and just for a second we felt we were living a celebrity life.
The Seven Stars has undergone something of a makeover earlier this year and wow, what a transformation.
It looks elegant, sophisticated, and opulent, so much so I’m not even sure you could describe it as a pub anymore.
There’s lots of velvet and metal mixed in with wood and plants making it look like a rather classy joint.
It appears to be an intimate dining space with different areas inside offering a more private dining experience.
We were four friends eating out for a birthday so it was a special night of celebrating with special people.
Considering it was midweek and early on, it seemed rather busy. Perhaps the warm summer evening had enticed people out.
Luckily we had booked ahead and were ushered into a cosy booth, just the four of us.
We were proffered menus which we gladly took and also had a look at the wine list, yes, even on a school night.
After digesting what the menu had to offer I really wanted to try a bit of everything but unfortunately decisions had to be made but I convinced Husband to share a couple of starters. Our good friends were also all about the sharing and went for a sharing platter.
Before we put in our food choices the drinks order was taken and as they were enjoying a night off without children and we were enjoying just being out, wine and beer was a top priority.
The mains were a more tricky decision. Lots of things sounded enticing such as the haddock fillet, sizzling vegetable fajitas with sour cream, salsa, grated cheese and flour tortillas along with the chicken, ham and leek pie.
But an old favourite won myself and the Husband over so that was a done deal: Thai red curry.
Once we were all ready we ordered and continued our non-stop chatter and gazing admiringly around the pub.
It really is truly gorgeous. In the booth where we sat there was a wall of logs making it feel earthy despite its modern styling.
Quirky pictures adorn some of the walls and the seats, blue, orange and yellow add a rainbow bright splash of colour to the neutral brick, beams and wood decor.
Our drinks had arrived so we were feeling pretty relaxed by the time the starters were set before us.
Our friends had gone for the artisan cheese sharer, you would think this would be something for the end of the meal, not at the start but it actually looked – and was, so we were told, delicious. At £14.95, it sounds a lot but there were loads of different cheeses on it, including spiced brie in spring roll parcels with mango chutney, deep fried halloumi, buffalo mozzarella salad with coriander salsa, smoked cheese dip with garlic bread and homemade pastry straws. And it looked amazing, beautifully presented and enough to feed more than two.
On reflection, myself and the Husband had ordered as creatures of habit going for the chilli crumbed chicken strips with lime and ginger mayonnaise and the rustic breads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
But, boy was it a good choice. The chicken was tender and the chilli crumb had a gentle fiery kick offset by the tangy lime and ginger mayo. It was so moorish we couldn’t get enough.
The breads were crisp and fluffy with good quality, light olive oil and a sweetly acidic vinegar.
On the other side of the table the cheeses were a big hit. The chutney was sweet with chunky bits of mango, the salsa peppery with bite and the cheese dip salty and tangy.
We barely spoke as we gobbled our superb starters and there was nothing left by the time the waitress came to clear the table.
Our meals arrived at just the right moment giving enough time for the starters to settle in preparation for the main event. Great minds and all that and having the same food tastes meant that the Husband and I had both gone for the red Thai curry. It didn’t arrive looking as we expected. The sauce and rice was in a bowl and the chicken and vegetables were on a skewer on the side along with half a chargrilled lime.
The basmati rice was beautiful, cooked with a bit of bite and no signs of it being gloopy and sticking together. The sauce had a rich coconut flavour and, although it was a little too salty for my taste buds, it was delicious nonetheless. The chargrilled chicken breast came in decent sized chunks, easy to dip in the sauce and was tender and moist. The stir fried vegetables included crunchy red and green peppers, sweet pieces of onion and tender and tasty leaves of pak choi. It was a decent sized portion and I struggled to finish mine.
Opposite there was duck in a cherry and port sauce with sweet potato rosti, butternut squash purée and braised pak choi. It was beautiful. The melt-in-the-mouth duck was tender and chunky and the sauce rich and sweet. The accompanying vegetables were earthy and luscious.
The pan roasted chicken supreme was topped with creamed spinach and Cambozola cheese with dauphinoise potatoes, roasted shallots, carrot purée and red wine and balsamic sauce. And again this too was mouth-wateringly lovely.
We somehow managed to find room for dessert which was amazing, an absolute treat to tantilise the taste buds.
I could just about manage to share a sticky toffee pudding, but the friends were going all out with the sweet sharer. Little did we realise that it could’ve easily fed all of us. There was a white chocolate and passion fruit cheesecake, macaroons with cream, sorbet, chocolate dipped banana skewers with a Chantilly cream and toffee shot, lemon meringue pie, sticky toffee pudding and chocolate brownie. All of them were lovely. The lemon meringue was my favourite (obviously I had to help them out). The macaroons were delightfully crisp with a springy inside!
The sticky toffee pud was a healthy portion and light, moist, sweet and gooey.
Job done, we paid the bill. It was £167 but with a couple of bottles of wine, beers and three courses each it was well worth it for the quality and quantity of food.
Stars are certainly shining on this place.