The Star in Witley is exactly as you’d hope a country pub would look. A welcoming lantern hangs over the porch, inviting you inside, and the staff instantly make you feel like you’re walking into an old friend’s house for dinner. 

We were seen to a table with a snug area for our dog, who was met with a fresh bowl of water and a plate of dog treats. Everyone from the diners to the dogs are taken care of at The Star. With steak tartare and oysters on the menu to start, these little ingredients set the scene for the elevated dishes to come. 





The Hampshire asparagus with poached hen’s egg can be enjoyed hot or cold (I opted for warm at the team’s suggestion) and it was deliciously runny with just the amount of al dente crunch from the asparagus spears. If gnocchi is on the menu, it’s usually too hard for me to resist, and at The Star, this was a delicate dish of gnocchi parcels with earthy artichoke and a hazelnut pesto. As with all gnocchi dishes, I could have had more on the plate, but it was expertly portioned. A marmite hollandaise with my dining partner’s flat iron steak was something of a revelation and the beef was cooked to absolute perfection.

Not forgetting the vegetarians and vegans amongst us, the team at The Star has a special dessert in the coconut and lemon panna cotta. It retained all of the lovely texture of this pudding, served with slightly soft shortbread. The dark chocolate fondant tart with salted caramel ice cream was infallible. The pasty had a crisp crunch, the fondant was gooey and the cold of the ice cream with the warmth of the tart was everything I hoped it would be.

A note on the wine list; this was a confident assembly of interesting and premium wines. No sifting through 50 pages to find a reasonable bottle, but two well thought out pages, with plenty to please the aspiring sommelier, but not too much to overload the rest of us.

For those in walking distance, this is a real treat for the Witley locals, but it’s easy to see why diners will soon be flocking from near and far to this spot. I’ve never seen my dog so relaxed in a pub, and after a special and relaxing dining experience, we were too.

Lucie Rhoades