Been to Village Inn at Little Melton, Norfolk as usual great carvery value for money. Very disappointed with decor its not been updated since the 1980''s different flowery carpets everywhere dirty wallpaper. I go there because we enjoy the food but would not bring guest as feel ashamed to take them there.
Found a hair in my dinner, got very minimal apology (felt like it was my fault even though the hair was a dffernt colour)
I went for dinner with my mum at The Hainton pub in Grimsby, which is one of the Crown Carveries. I had not been there for at least ten years if not longer, as I have only recently moved back to the town but I remember going there occasionally as a child and my mum told me you could get a really bargainous roast dinner from there. It was quite similar to how I remembered it from my childhood.
=== Location ===
This particular Crown Carveries is easily reachable for anyone driving from Grimsby or Cleethorpes. It is on Weelsby Road, just past the Peak's Park Way and there is a moderate sized car park in front of the pub. When I went this evening there were plenty of spaces available. I can imagine there might be more competition for spaces on a Sunday lunch time but generally the parking spaces should be sufficient. I walked there and as the area around there is mainly residential I would think a lot of the customers probably walk there.
=== Atmosphere and decor ===
The atmosphere is very typical old pub style, I would say it looks a bit dated but it is clean and quite welcoming. When you enter the bar is in a room on the left, and you see there is a cash machine there which charges for withdrawals. There are signs around the bar explaining the meal options and also a sign stating if they don't ask if you want a kingsized meal, you get your meal free. They are currently advertising a night with a physic from Yorkshire which is not really my cup of tea but you can see that there are things going on there. They also hold a weekly pub quiz on Thursdays.
When you go through to the main seating area there are plenty of tables, with some at the back being on a slightly raised level. The bar seemed a bit dark to me, but the main seating area is lighter as a door was open on the side to let in some fresh air and there are enough windows.
It has quite a family atmosphere as there were lots of families with babies and small children there on a Saturday evening.
The carvery area on the far side of the room is warm, really well stocked with loads of food and manned by friendly staff, so this gives a good atmosphere.
=== Service ===
You order your meal and drinks at the bar. We ordered a carvery meal and glass of red wine each and were served really quickly as it was quite quiet, with no queue. As we were being served a bigger group came to the bar, so it wasn't completely empty! The bar staff was friendly and polite. When you order a carvery meal you get a paper ticket which you hand in to the server at the carvery area when getting your food.
At the carvery area, the server I had came across as quite jolly. First they offer you a yorkshire pudding, which I took as they are one of the best parts of a roast dinner in my view. They then ask you what you want for your meat option. I had to ask him what the choices were because I hadn't been for so long as was not totally sure how it worked and he explained it to me in a friendly way with a good attitude and a smile. I didn't have to queue for the food at all when I went, at about 6:30 pm on a Saturday.
When we had finished eating someone came to clear our plates and also did this in a friendly and chatty way, making a bit of small talk.
=== Food and drink ===
You can get the carvery meal in regular size or king size. I took a normal size and I was not totally sure of the difference, which I assume is just a bigger plate and more meat slices given to you, but when I approached the carvery I saw the hugest yorkshire puddings I have ever clapped eyes on so I assume these are for the kingsize meals! Normal carveries get a fairly standard yorkshire pudding which was not stingy in size and tasted good. You then have a choice of gammon, turkey, beef, sausage or chicken pie. If you want, you can have a bit of all the different meats e.g. try a bit of pork, turkey and beef but you can't mix and match the sausage and pie with these. I was a bit undecided but I decided to get the chicken pie option and my mum had turkey. You can serve yourself the vegetables and sides, which include sweetcorn, swede, peas, carrots, green beans, cauliflower cheese, mashed potato and roast potato. Sometimes they have others such as red cabbage, normal cabbage, sprouts, but they did not have those ones on my visit. There is also gravy, cranberry sauce and some other sauces available.
I made the mistake, which I'm sure lots of people do, of putting too many of the first vegetables on my plate and not leaving room for everything. The plate is normal sized and not oversized, so you have to make sure you leave enough room on it. You can get a really massive portion here if that's what you want, as the veg and potatoes are not limited at all and you serve yourself. There is no risk of going hungry!
The food was all hot and is kept well heated while it is in the carvery area waiting for you to serve yourself.
The pie I had was really nice - basically like home comfort food that you would normally want to eat in winter, but since the weather is how it is, I quite fancied it now! It is made in a big tray and cut into slices, so it is not an individual pie fully enclosed in pastry but just has pastry on the top and bottom, with quite a thick crust at the back, and a filling of creamy chicken.
My mum was happy with her turkey and I also tried a bit of it. It tasted good and not too dry as is sometimes the risk with turkey.
The wine was also okay - nothing amazing but perfectly fine for a house red wine. I don't actually even know what type of wine it was as my mum just said red wine and they gave us some with no questions of which one!
=== Nutrion ===
The Crown Carveries website allows you to check the nutritional information, calories, fat content etc of your meal if you wish to do so. I have just seen that the piece of chicken pie I ate has an absolutely massive 639 calories in it, so I would say this is a place to avoid if you are on a diet and I don't think I would make a regular habit of eating at the carvery having seen that! Once you start adding the potatoes, yorkshire pud etc I am sure this meal would contain all the calories you need for the entire day. The turkey contains much fewer calories at 168 calories per 100g so that is definitely the healthy option. The gammon is not much worse at 193 calories per 100g and the beef is 246 calories per 100g. I'm not sure how meaningful those figues are though as I have no idea how many grams are served up onto the plate.
You can obviously make it healthier if you want as things like the yorkshire pudding are optional and you can control how much potato and veg you want.
I don't think it is too unhealthy if it is a meal I only have occasionally.
=== Cost and times ===
The carvery is open from 11:00 am to 9:30 pm.
These carvery dinners are a massive bargain at £3.99 each! It is £1.50 extra for the kingsize. In total my mum paid £12 something for the two dinners and two glasses of wine (nice of my mum to treat me!) so this is really good at about £6 per head! Even twice that would have seemed reasonable for a dinner and a glass of wine in my opinion.
If you want a desert you can get two courses for £5.49.
On a Sunday lunch time the carvery costs £7.49 or £3.99 for kids.
I have to say the prices here are really good value.
=== Over all ===
It was a nice roast dinner for a really cheap price and I would be happy to have it again. Normally when I go out to eat a carvery isn't the first type of food that would come to mind, as I would usually think of Indian, Thai, Italian or something else first, but as comfort food once in a while I do love a roast and I could see myself going to a Crown Carvery again, maybe a couple of times a year, and I would recommend it.
Nearly every time I go to a crown carvery there is no turkey. They always run out very early and don't have any more left. How many times have I had to queue and then go for a refund ( drinks included ).Waste of time.
... Got there a bit early, as the bar soon gets overloaded, as one bloke does the order AND serve the drinks ..... so can be a bit of a back up usually, no fun when you're hungry. They should have seperate counters, one for the food, and the other for drinks , or two barmen. I waited nicely whilst the barman finished with a couple of people, then he went up and down the bar, and finally wanted me to go down to where HE was at , I saw TWO tills , but he wanted me at a particular spot for some reason. Finally got the 'chits' for our meals , after some head scratching, as they were for Veterans 'freebies' meals offer ... a couple of pints ordered - and thence to the food counter , where I had the Ale Pie , etc , my brother just wanted something 'light' , so he picked the Haddock Fishcakes ... the chap behind the counter told me I'd come to the wrong place for THAT !? I told him it is ON the Menu, so he went into the kitchen and checked , and came back and said I was correct, and that they were 'on to it' I sat down with my plate , and told the nice waitress about the coming Fish cakes, and she kindly said she would BRING it over. After 5 minutes or more, she came over and said the barman had'nt ordered that particular dish ! ? , or that we should have told him we wanted that dish (?) I told her that the food counter man had the order already .... off she went , and came back with a bill for it !!! I explained that we were both veterans, and the meal was free that day .... back she goes again , and solves the 'big' mystery at last, finally got my brother's meal , a 'roast' lunch, which he did'nt really want .... but the waitress told us the Fish cakes were'nt in the 'offer' ... so my brother got a too big meal, half of which he could'nt eat, instead of a simple fish cake and salad ! Daft I call it :(
Our local crown carvery is the Moorlands in sheffield. It is a nice clean pub with good parking and an outside playarea and seating ( wooden picnic style benches). We have been several times with the family to meet up for a meal to celebrate birthdays. We have been twice in the past two weeks and the food has been lovely. For mon to saturday all day its 3.99 for adults 3.49 for kids. As with the usual carverys of this type you get your meat and yorkshire served and help yourself to as much veg, potatoes, stuffing, gravy and sauces as you want. If you dont want the normal roast they also do such things as pie and sausages which i believe are 2 meals for £7. They sell a good variety of drinks and service is always fast.
My husband and I are big eaters and go for the kingsize option for an extra £1.50. Personally i find its definitely worth the extra money. You get a giant yorkshire instead of a small one, extra meat and a sausage. Monday to saturday there is beef, turkey and gammon on offer, all offered with a yorkshire pudding, stuffing, mash potatoes, roast potatoes and a good choice of veg. Obviously this will vary from the different carveries but this one always seems to have carrots, cauliflower cheese, peas, sweetcorn, a green veg, the potatoes and possibly some others. The meat is moist especially the turkey. The veg is always piping hot and the servers and staff are friendly.
The desserts are reasonably priced and nice too. Hot and cold puddings served. There is also usually colouring pages and crayons for the kids too
Last night we went we took advantage of the 'kids eat free in half term' offer they seem to do most holidays. Worked out 14.88 i think it was for two kingsize carveries and two cokes.
Given the cost and effort you put into doing a roast at home i happily will go to crown carvery instead.
Good value for money, normally quite a pleasant evening out but . . . queue for our carvery was 20+ minutes (around 20 people waiting) due to diners at the servery having to wait for roast potatoes. Disappointment when we finally arrived at the counter for our meal . . . no turkey and only gammon and beef. Wife doesn't eat red meat, so one more chance there and if it's the same story it's byeeeee go somewhere else to minimise hanging around and disappointment.
Location and History
The jug & bottle is a family based restaurant which is apart of Crown Carveries. It is located on Louth road in Holton-le-clay, Grimsby. If you live in Grimsby and not a surrounding village like myself this isn't very acessable unless you can drive or have someone to drive you there as it is quite far out. This is located right next to the Holton-le-clay sign so you can't miss it. The area where this is, is quite historic because across the road there's what some people might call waste land but it still has part of the old run way from the world war 2 where Lancasters used to land and there are still hangers there too although I think they have been converted into something else but they still look the same from outside. There's only a small part of the run way left and no one has really preserved it because there's lots of grass and weeds growing up through it. Of course it used to be bigger but they've built all the buildings and the big main roads across where it was. It isn't really a site seeing area as it's basically a fenced off bit of road but it's stiill quite cool that it's still there.
Parking, Layout and Decor
Parking has never been a problem when going to the Jug and bottle because there are more than enough car parking spaces and this goes around 2 sides of the building because this isn't like a normal restaurant where you will sit and chat have drinks and eat, this you just eat your food then don't usually stick around so it means people are coming and going constantly so it's easy to get a spot. The layout inside is quite simple as, as soon as you walk through the 2 sets of doors there is a table with pots of crayons and a large pile of colouring sheets, this is a great idea because we all know how bored kids get when they go to restaurants there is also a teddy grabbing arcade machine. Straight ahead is the bar this isn't very long but it's big enough. To your left when you first walk in is a step up to lots of tables and further down on the left is a fire exit some bandit machines and then more tables. To the right when you walk in there is a large step up area full of tables, and then next to the bar is where they serve the food, a little bit further right is another seperate step up of tables and near to that is the sance and gravy table. On this side is another fire exit and the toilets which are both clearly signed. The design and layout of this is very simple and everything is easy to locate, this is a barn type buiding and has high celings with visable beams. The floor is carpeted but has wood flooring around the bar and food serving area. All around the building are pictures in frames of old planes and black and white pictures of people and people from the war and now I know why - because of the history surrounding the building.
Customer service, Purchasing and Queuing
I've only ever been here in the week days and I try to go in the elast obvious time when most people go such as breakfast lunch and dinner time and when I have been there isn't a lot of visable staff on however when I arrived there was 2 ladies on the bar in clean black uniforms with visable name tags they looked very clean and presentable, when approaching the bar I was greated with a "hello what can I get you" which is always nice. I never saw any staff clearing away plates or cleaning tables and replenishing them so I can only guess that the ladies behind the bar were doing that as well. There was only 1 other staff member that I saw and that was the man who was serving the food. Purchasing you carvery is quite easy you just go up to the bar wait to be seen and request your carvery and whatever beverage you please, they will then print out your recipt which you will give to the cook for your meal. Queing up is one of the only bad points I've found with the Jug and bottle because there isn't a clear space to que by the food so people kind of guess where to stand but a que starts to form across the front of the bar, this makes it difficult for people actually trying to get to the bar and there is no que there ether you just stand there and hope to be served soon.
The menu and Drinks
There isn't a real need to look at the menu so they have signs and posters around the buiding stating how much it is for children, normal and kingsized and 2 alternatives to the normal carvery. The only menu on the table is a dessert menu and a drinks menu. Alternativly instead of having a normal carvery you can have a steak and ale pie slice instead of the traditional meat or you can have 3 large sausages instead. They also sell a breakfast in the morning too. They sell big name largers and cask ale along with your spirits such as flavoured vodka, whisky, brandy also cider, bottled beer, a big selection of wine and soft drink and they sell fair trade tea and coffee.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.. even on a Sunday.
The jug and bottle offer a different Breakfast meal made up of bacon, sausage, beans, scrambbled egg, fried egg, harsh browns and tomatoes. However you don't have to have this you can order a bacon bun or porridge instead. You can given the sausage and bacon but you help yourself to how much of the other things you want and all this will cost you only £2.99 or £1.99 for a chids breakfast. This is served 9am - 11am. Unfortunately I havent tried this because I can never get up in time and I don't usually eat breakfast.
The carvery is a traditional Sunday roast, but available every day, this consists of a choice of meat either chicken (turkey as well at christmas) beef or gamon. You get 3 slices of which meat you choose or you can have a bit of each, you then will get a yorkshire pudding and then your handed the plate to pick the rest yourself, you then can pick anything from the carrots, peas, cauliflower cheese, stuffing, mash and roast potatoes, You can have as much of these things as you like and you can go back for more too. This is served 11am - 9.30pm and this will cost you just £3.89 or £3.49 for children, you can upgrade this to kingsize for an extra £1.50. However this will cost you £6.99 on a Sunday.
Every time I go here the food has always been different, because it's not all frozon they cook it all properly themselves sometimes things can be a bit crispy and sometimes over cooked. The meat is always a large meaty joint which all always look delicious and juicy, I always go for the glazed gammon because I have chicken and beef often at home. The meat is always cooked just right and it's very juicy, it's always easy to cut and it just tears apart and there's next to no fatty parts in any that I've had. I don't like vegetabes but I will always get a few carrots which are seasoned with some herbs, these are really flavourful and are much better than the average frozen carrots. The mash is really fluffy and creamy it tastes like it's made with a lot of butter or margarine and it's really nice, the roasters will always vary between really big ones or lots of little ones and sometimes they're brown and soemtimes they look like someones forgotten to take them out of the oven, I love the small crispy(burnt) ones so I always dig deep with the tweezer forks to get the good looking ones.
I don't like sauce but they offer a wide range including mint sauce and cranberry sauce. Their gravey is the best I have ever tasted it is very thick and beefy but sometimes you can get too little or too much, I always seem to get too much and my food is swimming in it and over flowing off my plate - how embarrassing. All the food incluing the gravy is in those black pots which are thick and keep the food warm, whenever I have gone the food has always been piping hot which is a little ucomfortable but I would complain if it was cold.
Cleanliness, Offers and People it attracts
The jug and bottle is really clean, the floor is always hoovered and moped, the bar never has any spills on it and the tables and cleaned up swiftly, the food area does get a little messy but it is cleaned up when it isn't busy or when they have to replenish the food. The sauce area gets really messy becaus eof course your bring over ladel of gravy and it drips everywhere, it's impossible not to spill any but this doesn't get cleaned up as quickly. I have to say I have neevr been to the toilets in the jug and bottle so I cannot comment on them. The jug and bottle attracts all kind of people from large families with small children to friends or couples and there are a lot of elderly people that come here. There are always offers on - currently in half term children eat for free, you can buy a two course meal consisting of your carvery and a dessert for just £5.49 and 2 breakfasts for £5.
There are lots of advantages of coming to the jug and bottle, the food is so cheap and easy to get that you may as well, I can never be bothered to cook so I'd rather just go out there for really cheap. You can have unlimited vegetables which is great because it means you can get enough to fill you up because if it was a set amount you might still be hungry.
The biggest disadvantage is it's location, if you live in Grimsby it is quite far to go just to get a cheap meal which will probably cost you more in petrol. Another is the the knives are clearly just butter knives so if you do have a tough bit of meat or a crispy roaster it's really hard to cut through them. The last disadvantage to coming here is they have bandit machines located between two seating ares, in my opinion I don't want to sit there eating a meal while someone is getting angry at a machine because it took his pound and he never won.
We have been to the following Crown Caveries Scarborough, Coventry and Birmingham and all three have not disappointed.
Crown offer a choice of three meats beef, turkey and gammon, served with yorkshire pudding and stuffing. Vegetables are a typical carvery help yourself, usually ranging from two different types of potato, carrots, peas, beans, cauliflower cheese, sweetcorn and although peas, beans and sweetcorn are obviously frozen are quite acceptable for what is a relatively cheap dining out experience. Gravy, mustard , mint sauce etc are also help yourself.
All the locations I have listed have all been clean and staff polite and friendly.
Only negative things are that drinks are expensive but don't forget ask for tap water and its free (staff do offer ice which is a pleasant change to some establishments) Desserts are also expensive and there are plenty of shiny menus on tables to encourage little ones to ask for pudding. This really bumps up the price.
All in all I think if you are looking for a reasonably priced meal and don't want a Macdonalds this chain is ideal. If you want to take granny and she can't juggle a plate you will either have to serve her yourself or it's not for you.
we went to cavery today and oh my gosh,the place is dirty and needs an overhaul. The cutlery was dirty in the pot on the table,dirty gravy marks on the pot, the food was good but why are the roast potatoes orange coated i ask? the tables majority are placed with beer mats under them to stop wobbling of the table. Lampshades filthy and crispy and burnt from the heat. Dirty blinds and skirting boards,and our table was wiped with a smeary dirty gravy cloth. I know it is cheap but i expect cleaniless, and the teapot has never seen a spout cleaner. The toilets were dirty tissue all over the floor and thats if you can manage to squeeze in there after all that roast dinner. Hope this is helpful next time take a good look round you might just see what i mean!!
As you will know from some of my other reviews my cooking skills are not the best in the world, but luckly I can get by and now have a a few tried and trusted meals and reciepes in my repertoire. So eating out is one of my favourite things but unfortunately money is very, very tight as I am still out of work after being made redundant, but fortunately for me, and my bank balance, we live 5 minutes walk away from a Crown Carvery.
This carvery is in Glossop and called Wrens Nest. It is situated at the far end of the town just off the main road, although it can't actually be seen, and a few minutes from Tesco. As with all Crown Carveries the cost for a carvery meal is just £3.69, yes £3.69.
The decor of the pub/restaurant is very warm and welcoming. It's well lit but cosy at the same time as lights are not the bright, stark overhead ones, but dimmed and also there are lights on the walls. When you walk in it does exude a feeling of warmth which I find very relaxing and the decor, although pub style, is a little bit more up market then normal and it gives it a nice cosy feel.
As this is the cheapest place to eat in Glossop it gets busy, busy, busy and if you go to late the choice of meat is limited and you often have to wait for much veg and potates to be put out. I find the best time to go is 5.30 to 6pm as the choice of food is still all available and you know it's not been sat around too long. Also at times you can have to wait for a table but for me this is not a problem as we just find somewhere to sit and wait and enjoy a drink.
The only thing I don't like about the layout is where the actual carvery is. You walk in the main doors and are greeted by the sight of the bar and then a few steps from the end of this is the carvery and the queuing area. The seats are behind the carvery and also towards the end, so this means that people are always walking through you whilst you are queuing, which at times gets annoying when it is a party of ten with screaming young child!
Now to the food. You are served by the carver a choice of mini Yorkshire Pudding, stuffing ball, gammon, turkey or beef. You can have a slice of each meat, two slices of one, so basically whatever takes your fancy. Also if you ask, you can have two mini Yorkshire puddings and two stuffing balls. Me being gready that's what I do. The veg and potatoes you help yourself to, so you can be as good or greedy as you like, and it is all you can eat with these so you can go back for seconds or more if you dare! The choice of veg and potatoes is carrots, peas, cauliflower cheese, boiled potatoes and roast potatoes. You then help yourself to gravy, and there is also mustard, cranberry and horseradish sauces.
Personally I find the choice of veg and potatoes a bit lacking as I would like to also have broccalli and mashed potatoes. I'm not a big eater of veg and my favourites are broccali and carrots with a Sunday roast, so when I'm here I only eat the carrots. Unfortunately, although the carrots are edible and many people like them, I find them a bit odd tasting. I can never quite put my finger on it but there a bit too soft and have a slight non-carrot taste to them.
Apart from the veg I enjoy eating here as it is such good value. The staff are attentive but leave you to relax whilst you eat at your own pace. Also they don't rush you from your table if you decide to enjoy another drink after your meal, somthing which I increasingly find many eating establishments are doing.
The other plus side for my boyfriend and I eating here is how close it is to our home. It means we can go out and enjoy a drink with a meal instead of having to drive home, or pay the extra cost of a taxi. Also this is the only place I can get Coors Light, so I always treat myself to a pint.
Today we visited a Crown carvery and enjoyed yet another decent lunch at a very affordable price. The Hole In the Wall near Underwood, Nottingham is a pub come restaurant that is always fairly busy. There is no need to book in advance, just turn up on spec. Usually you will manage to find a table free but should you have to wait then there is a comfortable bar in which you can sit and wait. The building itself is smart, clean and tidy. This Crown carvery has plenty of covers, it is well staffed and the staff are well dressed and courteous.
The Crown carvery offers one course for just £3.69p. That one course comprises of the meat, which can include beef, pork, turkey or gammon, roast potatoes, new minted potatoes, a host of assorted vegetables, a Yorkshire pudding and a stuffing ball. The area where the food is served is spotlessly clean and efficiently run. When you order and pay for your meals at the bar you are issued with a ticket that you hand over to the `carver` of the day. He then asks you which meat you would like and then you move swiftly on to help yourself to the good selection of vegetables. Today the selection of vegetables included cauliflower cheese, peas, diced swede, carrots and string beans. The roast potatoes were nicely browned and the new minted potatoes were glistening with butter.
When helping yourself to vegetables at the Crown carvery you are at the helm. If you feel that you can do justice to a large helping of all then feel free to do so. If you have a small appetite then you only take what you can eat. All of the vegetables were well cooked and well presented. After filling your plate you then move along slightly to where the gravy stands keeping hot and help yourself. All of the necessary sauces are available too. Once your plate is filled with the meat and vegetables the selection looks good, a colourful plateful of food always looks inviting.
The table at the Crown carvery is yours for as long as you wish. No member of staff hovers over you. You are left alone to enjoy your meal and conversation. The staff are always on the floor and can be hailed easily if needed. The tables are scrupulously clean and well presented. If I had one issue it would only be that the cutlery is housed in one large pot that sits in the centre of the table. I feel that is one area that could be bettered. On the other hand the cutlery is fresh and sparkling.
The food at the Crown carvery is very hot when it is served, the plates are warmed so the food stays as warm as it possibly can as you linger over your meal. The tables are well spaced so no diners are sitting on top of each other. If you require another drink whilst you are enjoying your meal then one of the waiting staff will get it for you. The drinks at the carvery are extremely well priced.
We took advantage of the Crown carvery Winter deal. This deal offers two courses for £4.99p. After enjoying our main course we then had to order our dessert. It appears that this meal deal comes with a choice of five desserts which include chocolate log. Lemon tart, treacle pudding, ice cream and one other that escapes me. I chose the lemon tart which was served with cream. In fairness the waiter told me that the cream was `squirty` but this delicious zesty lemon tart does merit a splash of real cream! My better half loves jam roly poly and custard, this was not included in the five desserts but after paying £1 extra he was able to enjoy his jammy pud. My friend chose the ice cream. The waiter brought along a sparkly sundae glass and a spoon and informed her that she had to help herself from the ice cream machine in the corner! How we laughed! She is nearly eighty and is not up to speed with modern technology. I went over to the ice cream machine, placed her sundae glass under the nozzle, pulled the lever and filled the glass with the rich soft Cornish ice cream. To top the lot the sweet ice cream was then covered in lots of strawberry sauce and she duly declared it was delightful.
Apparently Crown carvery mean you to enjoy this ice cream and you can go back for `seconds` if you wish. But one large glass dish was plenty. The meal was much appreciated and for what it cost it was exceptionally good value. With three drinks ( one cola, one soda water and one pint of Carling ) the bill came to just over £20.
It was especially good to see all that people from all age groups were enjoying their meal. Crown carvery have made a good effort to cater for everyone. There are high chairs and they looked very clean. In the warmer weather you could eat outside if you wished. The car park is large and it can get a little congested but they have done the best with the space they have. The toilets are clean and welcoming and they smell pleasant.
Crown carvery have a comprehensive website where you can find your nearest restaurant. The carvery menu is on the website as is the snack menu, The website also shows the children's menu and the complete drinks list. A visit to a Crown carvery cannot be described as fine dining but it does offer fantastic value. We thoroughly enjoyed what we ate and no doubt we will go back again soon.
We love a good roast dinner in our house and I usually cook two or three a week, as there is five of us it's quite expensive to go out for meals unfortunately! That was until my friend told me about Crown carvery and highly recommended it so one day we all decided to give it ago, it was a Wednesday afternoon and the day is important but more of that later on.
======= What Is Crown Carvery ======
Crown carveries are a group of pubs that are dotted all over the country and offer a carvery service 7 days a week. The premise of them is that the food is simple, no al a carte menus here, but freshly cooked and plenty of it.
The style of all the pubs is designed to be relaxing and comfortable and welcoming for adults and children alike. They do offer a snack menu as well as the carvery and some of the pubs have sky TV and offer entertainment like pub quiz
The cost of the carvery is £3.59 per person Monday through to Saturday and on Sundays it is £ 6.50. The carvery is open from 11am till 10.30pm
You can also get starters and desserts but these are an extra cost and not included in the price of the carvery. While there is no menu as such for vegetarians you can have all the veg and potatoes and Yorkshire pudding and they do have a separate vegetarian gravy
======== The Astley Arms ======
The pub that we went to was the Astley Arms in Seaton Sluice Northumberland, the pub here is situated beautifully as it' opposite the beach and next to my old school ( I know you don't want to that really!)
We walked in to be greeted by the longest queue I have ever seen in a local pub during the week and at midday, I couldn't understand how there was so many thirsty people?, only then did a lovely waitress let us know that we had to pay for the food at the bar and then queue for our meals.
My husband decided to wait in the queue while my daughters and I went to find a table, that in itself was quite a challenge as it was heaving and while I appreciate the price is very reasonable you would think that they were actually giving it away.
We ended up waiting about 10 minutes for a table which was not that bad really as there is five of us.
====== The Food ======
It took my hubby a good ten minutes to get served at the bar and at one point I was slightly concerned that he had run off with the barmaid!.
When he came back with our drinks he handed us all a receipt that we had to take to the carvey station and show the chef to make sure we had paid.
So off we went to queue with our receipts in hand, the queue was quite long, I think that there was about twelve people before us but the line went down really quite fast and I think that was down to the speed of the chef as she was lighting fast with the meat!.
You hand your receipt to the chef and she gave us a plate and asked what meat we wanted, there was three meat choices, Turkey, Beef and Gammon and you also got a Yorkshire pudding no matter what you chose, I should point out here that I am cheeky and I love my food so I asked if I could have a bit of all three and the chef gave me all three, I was pleased that she cut them off as and when people chose the meat and the slices were big and not tiny slivers of meat.
With the meat on the plate you are now on your own! We moved along passed the carvers and you are greeted with all the potatoes and vegetables.
All the food is set out in huge dishes each with a big ladle and you help yourself.
Vegetable And Potatoes choice ========
Broccoli - This was al dente and cooked just right for me
Cauliflower - I was a bit disappointed with this as it was covered in cheese sauce and neither myself or the children like this.
Carrots - The carrots were batons style and they were very sweet and cooked just the right side of soft.
Roast Potatoes - I did really enjoy these although I have to say that they were really well done and had quite a crunch to them.
New Potatoes - These were lovely, small potatoes with the skin and they were covered in butter.
After re creating the a pyramids on my plate we moved onto the side table where you can help yourself to the condiments such as Gravy, Mustard, horseradish sauce and thankfully tomato sauce as my middle daughter likes a bit of dinner with her tomato sauce!
======= How Did It Taste ======
We are cleared our plates and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the food, in fact we all did which is quite an achievement in our house, all the food was well cooked although for some the Veggies may be a little too hard.
The food was at just the right temperature which after visiting a few help yourself type establishments I know that this is not the case.
The meat was beautiful and I was cheeky and I tried all the meats and they were cooked to perfection for me and all the kids enjoyed them to.
======== Staff ======
The waiting staff were very helpful in the carver even though as it was so busy they were run off their feet and it was quite hard to catch their attention but they were very helpful and friendly.
The bar staff again were rushed off the feet but they were friendly and helpful.
======= Conclusion =======
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and have been many times since as it's fantastic value for a family of five, no if you are looking for a posh meal in posh surroundings you are going to be disappointed and it would not be my choice of a romantic meal for two.
If however you are looking for somewhere clean, friendly and with the plenty of food at a great price that it is a great place to visit. The only downside was that it was really busy and due to the price and location of this particular carvery that is not really a surprise.
It's a great way to treat all the family to a meal iomfortable surroundings and great for kids as mine really enjoyed helping themselves.
You can find other Crown Carveries at www.crowncarveries.co.uk
This review will also appear on Ciao under my alias abbs75.
CROWN CARVERIES - THE WILLOW TREE TORQUAY
I have just received an email to my inbox from my local Crown Carvery which reminded me that I should do a review on it, so here goes;
~~My local Crown Carvery~~
The Willow Tree at Torquay is the only Crown Carvery I have experience of. I have been there several times over the past three years but each time I wonder why I go back.
My partner took me there initially as he had taken his family there quite a lot.
The email I received today was from The Willow Tree (Crown Carveries) at Condor Way, Torquay, TQ2 7TG -Tel 01803 615245 (details in case anyone wants to go there after reading this review!) as well as it's name & details it's heading is 'The Warmest Welcome'
It is written as a letter & begins Dear..... (Christian name)
Great Value Carvery Still Only £3.59
Eating out costs less at Willow Tree (even with potentially harder times ahead) so when you go for a meal make it count - with a full carvery, Monday to Saturday, for just £3.59.
There is then a link banner which says Get All The Delicious Details -
The letter continues
There's no need to book either, so just pop in Monday to Saturday and feast on;
* A choice of three succulent roasts
* As many vegetables as you like
* Yorkshire puds and all the trimmings
* All for just £3.59 Monday to Saturday
More Summer Savings
If you prefer a lighter bite, enjoy a Sweet Chilli Turkey & Gammon Salad or traditional Ploughman's for just £4.99 (also Monday to Saturday) including a refreshing drink from;
* Pint of Stella 4 lager
* Pint of Strongbow cider
* 175ml glass of house wine
* Glass of draught fruit juice
Save as you savour this summer!
The Willow Tree
I saw on the bottom it said - Join us on Facebook. What for? I really can't see the point.
They say -
Crown Carveries is dedicated to bringing back a taste of tradition - both in the food and drinks on offer and the generous welcoming hospitality that's served with them.
Our every day great value price is just £3.59 all day Monday - Saturday and as we're committed to carving the cost of eating out this isn't a special offer but our all year round price.
We offer the ever popular carvery, with a choice of three roast meats and an unlimited choice of vegetables, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puds and all the traditional trimmings. You can then help yourself to as much as you like from the rest of the carving deck. You can even go back for more veg if you've room!
There's a tempting range of starters and puddings too - from traditional dishes like the prawn cocktail or hearty treacle sponge with custard, to more modern favourites like chicken tikka and chocolate fudge sensation.
There's a wide range of beers and lagers and plenty of wines to choose from - almost all of which are available by the glass as well as the bottle. Naturally, there's a good choice of soft drinks also, including refreshing fruit juices.
Relax a while as we're also serving up exotic and revitalizing long drinks for just £1.99 each;
* Tropical Taster - a delicious blend of Malibu coconut liqueur with apple and mango juice for a real taste of the tropics.
* Citrus Berry Twist - a mix of Smirnoff Lime vodka topped up with lemonade and a dash of pomegranate and raspberry cordial - refreshingly zingy.
* Peach Breeze - a combination of Archers Peach Schnapps, orange juice and cranberry juice drink for a light and fruity taste.
If you prefer alcohol free try a glass of our homemade Lemon or Lime Fizz for just £1 and made to our own secret recipe - or one of these flavoured cordials topped up with soda and served over ice for a long refreshing taste
* Pomegranate with Raspberry or
* Lemon & Ginger
Savour The Summer With Us
Most of our pubs have great beer gardens to eat alfresco in the good weather and the longer and warmer nights, but if you're not sure check with your local Crown Carvery in advance.
I say -
The Willow Tree @ Torquay does not seem to have a garden, just a large car park. There are a few benches outside but they just look over the car park which is not a particularly attractive outlook for relaxing with your meal & drink.
The price of £3.59 which attracts you on their board outside & in emails etc does not include dessert or drinks (a drink maybe if it is part of a different offer) & does not apply to Sundays, which you might only realise once you are parked & have your drink in your hand ready to pay for the carvery tickets etc. We did feel as if we had 'beaten' this however, when we arrived on a Bank Holiday Monday & it was the special Monday to Saturday price.
For the purpose of this review, I have just phoned The Willow Tree & asked a few questions. Apparently the Sunday carvery price is £6.50 each. Puddings/desserts start at £1.60 to £2.99 & are the same price every day regardless of different Sunday prices for carvery. There are also vegetarian options such as fish pie, spinach & mushroom lasagne & vegetarian moussaka. For these you pay from £4.99 at the bar depending on your choice. The food is brought to your table & you then go to the carvery bar to add vegetables as you wish. I'm not sure if you pay more for the vegetables.
My experience is only of The Willow Tree at Torquay, so called because it is located on the edge of the small out of town shopping complex called 'The Willows', which consists of large stores M&S (currently being extended upwards), Sainsbury's, Boots, Next, Carpet Right & Mothercare. The actual Crown carvery building is situated a few hundred yards away up a hill, near to a few little shops such as a gym/salon/hairdressers - nothing very exciting. There is a large housing estate around it. All of this was built around 1989.
So you drive in through the shops, houses etc into their own car park. The building looks quite pleasing from the outside, neither grand nor a shack. You climb the steps, passing the few benches for eating outside, & enter through double doors into a sort of waiting area, then through to the bar. Here you order your drink & ask for a ticket for the carvery & pay for both. You then take your drink to a vacant table of your choice & 'bagsy' it by leaving your drink & jumper or something not valuable on the table & chairs. Thus the people who have not had this forethought will not have anywhere to sit when they have their food & drink & are looking for a table before you have been served.
Then you find the queue & join on the end to get your carvery meal. On getting to the point in the queue where the plates & trays & food starts to be laid out in front of you, you are allowed to pick up a plate ( a smaller plate than you would consider a dinner plate) on production of your paid carvery ticket. You then move forward behind everyone else & start to choose which food you would like. The temptation here is always to pile it high - as my Mother would have said, your eyes are bigger than your belly! Depending on who you get to serve on the day, you are allowed roughly two pieces of meat either the same of different which is carved in front of you & put onto your plate. I note that the email & menu says a choice of three different meats, which presumably means you get two choices out of the three. I don't recall every being offered more than two here, perhaps they have changed the rules or perhaps the person carving has always been a meany on the days that I have been there. There is only ever one person doing the carving which makes for slow service & people having a little moan, so they are probably feeling well fed up. You can then proceed to pile on the veggies, yorkshires, stuffing, perhaps chipolata if you are lucky, sauces & gravy. The choice of vegetables is not awe inspiring. The usual roast potatoes, boiled potatoes, carrots, peas, cauliflower cheese. I don 't recall seeing any proper green leafed vegetables or things like roast parsnips. At Christmas you might get sprouts sometimes at the expense of something else..
So collect your cutlery & serviettes (sachets of things like HP & tomato sauce available if you want them) & armed with your over piled plate of food, toddle back to your saved table, where you will find the usual condiments, & of course, hopefully, the jumpers & drinks which you left behind.
As you take your seat you are fairly disgusted at the table which in my experience is usually not wiped or properly cleared away from the last occupants. At this point I have to go in search of an elusive member of staff to ask that the table be wiped & cleared. As you look around you once you are seated, you will observe the state of the windows, the carpet, the curtains & the dirty walls. On several occasions we have sat at the same table & I have seen the same food stained patch of wallpaper beside me. I don't mean the following week but a much longer time span. It's probably still the same!
If you need to use the loo beware! The door to the Ladies is dirty & the paintwork damaged. Inside it is no better. The cubicles are dirty, wet floor etc & they don't look as if anyone bothers to go in there to check. On my last visit I had to report to the barmaid that there was no toilet paper.
The general grubbiness & tattiness only seems to bother me, not my partner - perhaps it's a woman thing.
I dread to think what the kitchens are like however if this is their general standard of cleanliness!
Because of the advertised low cost, it is nearly always crowded & noisy & this doesn't make for a relaxed experience.
As you tuck into your meal, you gradually begin to realise that it is not up to much & did you really want all of those mediocre veggies? Of course you didn't & you are very unlikely to eat them all. The meat also leaves a lot to be desired. The gravy is greasy. My partner who has a voraciouis appetite & gets as much of everything as possible on his plate, never manages to finish it. More from grumbling about the poor quality than because of the amount.
You can go back for more vegetables if you like, but I have never seen anybody do this. Personally even if I wanted them, I would not like to have to put them on my used gravy & left bits plate. I'm afraid I always like a clean plate even at home.
We leave saying why did we come here again? It's still as grubby, the staff certainly didn't go to charm school, & the food was disappointing. I wouldn't choose to go there myself, but my partner has often suggested we call in there, more from old habit I think, of when he was providing for a growing family at a reasonable cost. He soon realises his mistake once he sits down with the food in front of him.
The advertised £3.59 price can be misleading.
By the time you have bought drinks & a dessert if you want them, the price will be creeping up to almost £10 each.
I certainly would not pay £6.50 on a Sunday for the same carvery meal.
I know it would be difficult to police, but if each person was allowed to take less, there wouldn't be such a terrible waste & the cost could be kept down.
The tatty, grubby premises leaves a lot to be desired.
The food also leaves a lot to be desired. As a basic meal I suppose it passes muster, but when you start comparing it with other better quality carveries, it just doesn't compare. I suppose you get what you pay for. But the better ones are not actually more than two or three pounds more expensive. If strapped for cash I would prefer to pay more & not have dessert & maybe have a glass of water instead of an expensive drink at a better place. As a comparison, we had a carvery at a country pub the other week, & the staff couldn't possibly have been more friendly & helpful & the food was superb. It was just as busy being a Sunday lunchtime, but the cost was reasonable & the owner who was evident & his staff couldn't have been more helpful, they went out of their way.
I would say the Willow Tree is OK for the local shop & office staff for lunch occasionally, although I would imagine they would get very bored with it after a while.
For a nice romantic meal out, it is a definite no-no. You fellas certainly would not impress the new lady by taking her there!
Beware holidaymakers to Torquay. This is not the impression we like to give - choose somewhere else, perhaps one of the very nice harbourside café/bars to eat & enjoy better service & food & a lovely location.
To be honest, just writing this review is making me feel queasy!
~~Last but not least~~
I was astounded to see on the email, mention of the following award! I can't imagine how they were awarded it!
They show the badge of honour which claims they are Winner at Great British Pub Foods 2010
"Crown Carvery lovers regularly vote with their feet, but now our pub food peers have voted us the best too - in the Great British Pub Food Awards for 2010!
Crown Carveries took the top prize for Best Food Concept, as voted by the judging panel, and - like you tell us - it was all about;
* Great value for money
* Consistently good quality food
* Fantastic standards & friendly service
Getting Bigger & Better
Since Crown Carveries began December 2008, it's gone from strength to strength and this year is projected to serve around 20 million meals to its highly valued and loyal customers.
Crown Carveries brand manager, Heather Colebrook says: "I'm delighted for all the outstanding people we have and this is deserved recognition for their hard work and commitment. Congratulations to the whole team as this is a fantastic achievement."
Crown Carveries - simply the best - but you knew that already of course!"
Pardon? We did? I think not!!!!
I can only conclude that some branches of Crown Carvery are better than others, in which case they all ought to be regularly inspected by their powers that be.
Update 18/3/2012 - recently paid another visit as received email from them offering two meals for £7 plus free ice cream. It was packed, obviously lots of emails went out. It did seem better than previously reported though. Not wonderful, but better service & good value with the email coupons. I am on a diet & was happy with just meat & veg but not potatoes although they did look nice! They also could privide gluten free gravy which I had & it was very good. Didn't use the loo & sat in a different area so can't comment if the lack of cleanliness previously reported is still the same.
My nearest Crown Carvery is The Mermaid in Marske by the sea Redcar, over the last couple of months we have eaten here a few times, i don't know if this pub represents Crown Carveries in general as this is the only one I have eaten in so here is my opinion of my local Crown Carvery.
Driving up the road towards the pub the large Crown Carvery sign stand out amongst several other wall signs informing you of the good value carvery available seven days a week, the large building is not a really old place but is traditional looking, it could do with a lick of paint, once inside the traditional look continues with the fixtures and fittings, there are 3 main open areas starting with the bar which has some tall tables and stools and around the wall seating, next is the main area which is set out for dining with various size tables to suite most parties, the carvery is also in this area, continue through toward the back of the building to the conservatory for the last seating area which is also set up for dining, there is a whippy ice-cream machine in the corner here.
Bev found a table towards the back of the pub so I made my way to the bar, I ordered 2 carveries and 2 pints of larger Shandy which came to £17 odd, the friendly barman informed me to hand the tickets in to the chef at the carvery.
I was greeted with a smile and offered a yorkshire pud and stuffing and asked what meat i wanted from the choice of Honey glazed ham, Turkey or Beef, my request for 2 yorkshire puds was granted without a problem and my 3 slices of roast beef was added to my plate, bev asked for turkey and beef and got loads more then me!
Then it was along to help yourself to the veg, including peas, carrots, cauliflower, sweat corn, green beans, new spuds and roast spuds, and on to the end table for gravy and a selection of sauce.
About 5 minuets after finishing our food the table was cleared and we were offered dessert, as the carvery price also includes a free ice-cream sundae or £1 off any other dessert on the menu, Bev got the sundae and I went for the toffee apple pie with ice-cream costing me 1 whole pound extra!
The good bits:
Carvery available 7 days a week till 9pm.
Reasonable price 2 course meal.
Clean and tidy.
Always plenty of room.
Not so good:
The building looks a bit drab and untidy from outside
The cutlery is very cheap and flimsy.
This is a nice big pub with plenty of seating, it's never too busy, I have tried all the meat over the last few month and it is always nice and you get a decent portion, the vegetables are also very nice and not over cooked, the roast spuds are perfect, The free dessert is ice-cream from one of them machines with sauce and a waffer, but the toffe apple pie is to die for at only £1 extra it's fantastic value.
Sometimes if you go at a quieter time the food has been stood for a while and taste a bit dried up , but this is the same as all carveries, if this happens then complain!
Tel: 01642 483163
Sunday 2 course carvery
Every other time:
Adult Carvery £3.50
Child Carvery £3.25