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Always tricky, the question of where to take Les Parents on their bi-annual trip west of the M25…. but last night we struck gold with a surprisingly affordable and darn tasty couple o’ courses at the newly reopened Star and Dove in Totterdown.

Recently taken over by three merry chefs (sounds like a Christmas carol), the pub’s currently being refurbished in time for its big opening this month. But the unfinished interior is lending rather a rustic air to this bigger-than-it-looks venue which is going to pack quite a punch with those who like their distressed wooden tables and open fires.

The house wine is good, if a little on the pricey side, but we bypassed appetisers on the way into the lamb platter (£10 each, for The Parents) and the cider mushrooms – one of two vegetarian choices (£7, for Me). The Parents polished off their lamb chops, black pudding, egg and lamb bacon and professed it as well cooked as it was presented. Think Masterchef before the final round when it all gets a bit pretentious.

The mushrooms were as meaty as any steak I’ve tasted, served in a well seasoned broth suitably manned up with some baby baked potatoes and wild asparagus with a great bite.

But it was the desserts that really marked the pub out from your average – a not-too-sweet double chocolate and marzipan tart (for Me) and the enigmatically titled Blackberry: curd & cream, vanilla butter and warm pikelets (for The Parents) – the latter served on a slate in deconstructed post-modernist fashion, enough to puzzle old school Parent A so much that he picked up the cone of mousse with his bare hand.  Oops!

The puddings will no doubt take some refining but at £3.95 a pop it’s worth the experiment.

By the time we left the Star and Dove was packed to its primer-laden walls and rightly so.  Spotting one of my favourite Bristol comics, the eminently likeable John Robins, as we left was an unecessary endorsement.

I’ll be back!

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