Small dishes are set to be a big favourite at The Seven Stars in Marsh Baldon, where a new tapas-style menu has just been unveiled.
The popular Oxfordshire country pub has added an exciting new offering to mealtimes in the form of a Main Menu featuring small plates designed to bring a tantalising selection of dishes to the table for sharing or indeed for keeping all to yourself.
It has all been created and painstakingly prepared under the expert eye of returning Head Chef Patrick Smith, who is keen to introduce diners to a wider range of dishes, ideal for sharing.
Patrick, who counts Gary Rhodes and Sat Bains among his inspirations, also drew much of his culinary influence from his recent travels around Europe.
“I returned full of inspiration and ready to pick up my knives again with the Seven Stars and now the new Freespirit Pubs company,” he said.
“The thing about being a chef is you never stop learning. You get to constantly evolve, be it with changing seasons or a new ingredient. I love the challenge of creating something new for our customers every year.
“This new menu offers an array of dishes with big bold flavours on small plates! If you’re anything like me and can’t quite decide what you want, then this menu gives you the option to try a selection of different dishes rather than settle for just one.”
Using locally sourced fresh seasonal ingredients, Patrick recommends two or three small plates per person from a menu that includes:
From The Land: Braised Pig Cheeks; Dry-Aged Sliced Sirloin; Baldon Fried Chicken; Shoulder of Lamb Shepherd’s Pie;
From The Sea: Cured Salmon Pastrami; Salt & Pepper Chiperones; Roasted Pollock Fillet; Garlic & Parsley King Prawns; and
From The Allotment: Cajun Sweetcorn Ribs; Caramelised Roscoff Onion, Cheddar & Mico Leaf Salad and Blackened Cauliflower.
There is also the usual Stars ‘Home Comforts’ and Sunday Lunch Menus plus a tasty selection of Sides and Nibbles for those looking for more of a lighter bite.
Patrick added: “My personal favourite dish is probably the Pig Cheeks with the Celeriac and Rhubarb Jam, just because it’s like a dish I was inspired to create many years ago. I love the sharpness of the rhubarb and the richness of the pigs’ cheeks with the micro fennel to give it that anise kick. Though I do love a good shepherd’s pie too!”
The pub also stocks a variety of local ales, draught beers and ciders alongside a wide selection of wines, spirits and cocktails.
The Seven Stars is one of five businesses that form The Free Spirit Pub portfolio under the ownership of Mark Higgs. The others are The Sun Inn, Hook Norton; The Red Lion at Hellidon; The Castle at Edgehill and the recently acquired Bell Inn in Ladbroke, near Southam.
Of the new menu, Mark said: “We wanted to bring something different to the area. There are lots of wonderful venues in and around Oxford and we believe with our very talented team, both front and back of house, we could showcase more dishes with bolder flavours that entice our guests to try something a little different.”
Dishes range in price from £5.00 to £12.00.