Starlings isn’t just for breakfast but hosts a number of intriguing events: “singles mingling drinks evening” (sadly we didn’t meet any of the criteria, not single and way out of the age range of 22-32 years old), “Greenhouse Plant-based kitchen supper” and “Rino Di Donato Italian/Japanese Fusion Supper Club” – who knew such a thing existed? This would have to be for another time as today we were only here for a leisurely weekend breakfast. The same thought had probably occurred to everybody else as it was a sunny morning, and their charming outside terrace was already full. The interior though is just as pleasant, light and airy with wooden shelves lined with bottles and jars and on one side a large mirror with a flock of starlings encircling it.
At weekends the brunch menu thoughtfully runs until 4.00 pm for late risers with diverse and appealing choices ranging from truffled eggs, black truffle roasted shallots and mascarpone fondue on poached eggs with Parmesan served on sourdough, muffins with brown butter hollandaise and two poached eggs served three ways, benedict, royale or Florentine, along with the more humble and traditional bacon roll or sausage bap.
Cornish coffee was guesting but we took the Clifton variety, plus a peppermint tea and freshly squeezed orange juice before making the important decision of what to eat. I ordered The Mediterranean, Serrano ham with slow roasted San Marzano tomato, ricotta, pickled shallots and rocked served on grilled sourdough, and was upsold a poached egg with it. Never one to miss a sausage opportunity my breakfast companion ordered Starlings Muffin Sando – crispy smoked streaky bacon, handmade pork sausage, fried egg, rocket and sriracha hollandaise.
The orange juice was lovely and a really good way to start the day, chilled and fresh with quite a zing to it. Our breakfasts arrived looking terrific : the Mediterranean a forest of rocket and pickled shallots topped with the large roasted tomato and finished with absolutely lashings of Serrano ham with the poached egg nestling in the centre. I enjoyed it right to the last crumb and was very glad that I’d been offered the egg as that rather made the dish. The Muffin Sando was excellent too, the homemade pork sausage being voted a sausage amongst sausages and the sriracha hollandaise a good spicy accompaniment.
Service was happy, friendly and efficient and the café has a bright and pacey atmosphere, full of people enjoying themselves. We loved it – I noticed that they do a bottomless brunch including unlimited prosecco, bucks fizz, bloody Mary or Aperol spritz and I shall do them the favour of not recommending it to my friend Sue who’s capacity for prosecco would undoubtedly blow their budget of £35 per person!