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Dec 17, 2009 11:44 PM

Carverys in London?

Its been a few years since I've visited London. I'm planning on going this January. The first time I went to London, about twenty years ago, there were numerous restaurants described as "carverys". These were often found in large hotels in busy areas. They were similar to buffets, but consisted of several roasts, always including beef, but also turkey, pork and usually a salmon dish as well. They came with all the accessories, including, but not limited to yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, veggies and an assortment of deserts. They were usually fairly priced with even more reasonable rates for off hours dining.
The last time I was in London about five years ago, they all seemed to have disappeared. Are there any remaining or have any others opened? They always seemed to be busy. I wonder what happened.

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  1. Carveries are one of my pet hates - can't bear them. It's true that they've largely disappeared in London, thank God. But in the pensioner belt of Manchester, where my FIL lives, you can still find them in some number. They tend to attract the elderly, for some reason.

    8 Replies
    1. re: greedygirl

      There's an OK one at the Crown and Greyhound in Dulwich Village on a Sunday lunchtime. Beef, pork, chicken and all the trimmings for £9.95. Large, historic pub with good wine list, real ale and some mighty fine ciders.

      1. re: greedygirl

        We stopped for a pub lunch near Hampton Court (we walk along the river there) a few weeks ago. The carvery table, as you say, was inundated with elderly. I think they (and I don't consider myself one just yet) find it a very good price for a large lunch, and maybe they have a very small dinner that day.

        1. re: greedygirl

          "They tend to attract the elderly, for some reason."

          'Tis is because we are just poor northerners, ma'am * , and can afford no better when we dine out. Just trying to eak out us pensions far enough to buy a black pudding to feed to t'whippets. And, of course, we weren't brung up to like all this foreign muck you get nowadays so we know where we are with roast dinner.

          Nationwide, Toby Carveries have a dismal offering in their down market pubs - similar to Harvesters (but not quite as vile.....obviously).

          I think greedygirl has previously told me where her FiL lives - in which case his local carvery is the same one I use. And one, I'm actually happy to give a plug - Hesketh Arms in Cheadle Hulme. Not a chain and doing a reasonable job of the carvery business. The usual fault is they put out vast trays of veggies which keep warmish under the servery lights. The Hesketh puts out smallish quantities at a time and replenishes.

          For us poverty-stricken old folk, a decent carvery offers a good plate of food for a fiver or thereabouts. Maybe even with leftovers for t'whippets.

          * imagine forelock being tugged

          1. re: Harters

            Lol. "We know where we are with roast dinner".

            I have been to the Hesketh Arms. It was OK. I think the aged FiL likes it, as much as he likes anywhere. Mr GG took him out to lunch somewhere the other day - the food was reasonable but "the heating wasn't turned up enough. We won't be going there again."

            1. re: greedygirl

              My aged FiL likes it there as well. It's one of the few safe bets we can take him.

              He toured the world as a regular soldier (Mrs H took her 11+ in Aden and her younger bro was born in Cyprus) - but his idea of a varied diet is occasionally to have a small lump of beef on the plate next to the usual large lump.

              1. re: Harters

                Aged FIL complained because the Xmas cake I made him last year (which was admittedly a last-minute one from Nigella, not a traditional one) was "too moist".

              2. re: greedygirl

                No that wasn't the Hesketh. It was the Bull and Last in Alderley Edge. Dad complained about the central heating and he had a point.
                The food was pretty good. I had fish and chips; sustainable line caught cod with a nice light batter. Chips done with care and mushy peas in a disappointingly small dish! I liked it, and will drag him back at some point soon, perhaps when it's warmer.

                1. re: MrGreedyGirl

                  Thought I knew the eating pubs in and around Alderley but I can't place the Bull. Can you point me towards it please?


          2. Carverys - evil, evil things. I was dragged to a Toby carvery a while back. I was stunned at the sheer awfulness of what people were eating. I ordered off-piste (as I don't eat meat) but I still was 'allowed' to partake of the vegetables in the carvery area. Bad bad bad doesn't come close. I demanded all the veggies be 'refreshed' before I'd take anything - and when I got to the table where my friends were eating I could see they were digging into mountains of dried-out peas and burnt cauliflower-cheese. They didn't care, it was a bargain, an 'all you can eat' bad-food-fest. Vile beyond belief.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Peg

              And another thing about the Bull and Last, apart from a cut above standard food, was that it had a good choice of real Ales on the bar. That's a blessing.

              1. re: MrGreedyGirl

                Actually I have to apologise here. The pub in Alderley Edge pub with decent food, nice beers and indifferent central heating is the Drum and Monkey.
                I was confusing it with the Bull and Last in Hampstead that also does excellent food and nice beers, and which Greedygirl herself is a massive fan of.
                Apologies once more.

                1. re: MrGreedyGirl

                  No worries. I know where you mean now - donkey's years since I was in there (when, I think, it had a different name). IIRC, a good place for a sunny afternnon as it has (or had) its own bowling green. Good to watch the codgers play (although I am now of codger age)

            2. A lot of carvery's I've been to have been disappointing, and there are very few in London these days. However my mum LOVES going to the Georgian at Harrods for lunch with her friend for a proper Ladies do lunch. If my memory serves me correctly it's £35 a head for a buffet and they do all the meats at the carvery. I think they might even have lobster tails lurking around, so you can really get good value if you're sneaky enough! I've never been, so don't blame me if it all goes pants up, but between my mum and other recommendations I've seen, that is THE place to go for a carvery in London.

              Personally I love cooking roasts at home, and I like to think I'm pretty bloody good at them, so I haven't eaten one out in possibly years. I might head to Harrods just to see how many lobster tails I could eat before getting chucked out nevertheless.