A couple of Sunday’s ago, whilst out enjoying our weekly ritual of Sunday Roast, we found ourselves in conversation with other guests sitting close to us about delicious Sunday lunches and the best establishments to enjoy a Sunday Roast in Dorset. They highly recommended The George Inn in Christchurch, so this past weekend we ventured out to enjoy the beauty of the Priory and castle ruins of age-old town.
Having skipped breakfast we were ravenous and arrived shortly after 12noon to an almost empty restaurant. The Carvery was adorned with delicious looking joints of Roast Beef, Pork and Turkey, and a selection of steaming vegetables sat waiting to be devoured! It all looked very pleasing and thus we made our way straight to the counter to begin our lunchtime indulgence!
I requested all three meats and stared in astonishment as I watched the thinnest, wafer thin slice of beef, turkey and pork carved from each joint. That’s it 1, 2, 3 and you’re done. I could already see that the pork was dry, and totally lacking any juiciness, the beef however looked beautifully cooked, and little bloody, just as I like it. One Yorkshire pudding was plumped onto my plate and then I made my way along the Carvery helping myself to leeks with a mustard sauce, cabbage with walnuts, fresh baby carrots, roast potatoes and thick dark gravy.
Not a real carvery
Returning to my table I realised I’d forgotten the important accompaniments of horseradish, cranberry sauce and apple sauce, so headed back to complete the package! My partner was right behind me in the line and obviously as a man has a larger appetite than myself, so asked for a little extra meat… it was clear from the Carver’s response that this was not ‘the done thing’, though another wafer thin sliced was placed on the plate. When we enquired how the ‘Carvery’ system worked at the George we were advised that one could return for more vegetables but not more meat unless they requested it.
However, lids were firmly secured on vegetables, many of which did not have a proper handle, thus making it difficult, and bringing attention that if one in fact should not have the audacity to return for a second helping, and staff even made comments when we did return for additions! A poor young lad who returned to the counter for more meat was advised that ‘the vegetables are further down’ and yes, he was allowed to have a sausage, but no meat!
So, to the meal itself – though the beef looked delicious it was rather chewy, the pork as I already stated was dry and non-descript, the turkey was just white meat, no real flavour. Yorkshire puddings were actually OK, and roast potatoes, though soft on the outside were nice and fluffy and tasty on the inside. Though I understand the difficulties of keeping roast potatoes crisp after removing them from the oven, these clearly had been out for too long! The leeks and cabbage were tasty, still with a little texture (crunch) to them, carrots delicious, young, fresh and beautifully cooked – the best part of the meal in fact, and the thick rich onion gravy was tasty too.
I love my food and hate to leave anything but this meal was certainly not up to par and reluctantly, though I was not full, I did not finish the plate. In fact, as soon as we were done I wanted to leave the place. Though the George Inn staff were pleasant enough, and had probably been given orders by the boss on the appropriate amount of meat to serve, and how best to dissuade guests from returning for more, this is not a place I would recommend or ever visit again, not even for a drink.
Not one of our finest lunches, but good to know where not to go!