What a carve up, or a farewell to Arms

The Farmers Arms at Whitestake
The Farmers Arms at Whitestake
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Not my first visit to a carvery pub, but it’ll be a cold day in Hell before the next

In something of a departure for this slot, attention will today – through necessity rather than design, it must be confessed – be paid less to ale than to food.

That phenomena we call ‘the carvery pub’, to be precise.

Busy as our proverbial stripy pollen gatherer across various fronts this past week, just the one opportunity to cross a public house threshold came my way, Sunday just gone, around noon.

Naturally, it being the hottest day of the year thus far, my mind turned to brown gravy at roughly the same time as the body which supports it came within sniffing distance of The Farmers Arms at Whitestake and the rest, as they say, is history.

Or at least, it became history something like six hours later, when I finally managed to digest the desiccated beast offered up by way of ‘roast’ in said premises.

For the princely sum of £7.29 I had been handed three slices of meat, two turkey, one beef –the latter thin enough to roll a fag in, the former dry enough to strike a match on – and an individual Yorkshire pud some three or less inches in diameter.

To my left a hitherto unknown eighth circle of hell – throwing off sufficient heat that my contact lenses curled up and twanged from my eyes – contained various tatties and vegetables, along with something labelled stuffing that I suspect was actually a rare kind of sage-scented volcanic gravel.

Quick summary – roast spuds were greasy, the leeks were slimy, the cauliflower cheese was raw and watery and the mash lumpy.

Seven out of ten for the peas and carrots. Six for the green beans. Lovely gravy.

My dining partner got the half-chicken which was, in reluctant fairness, okay. But £7.29? £7.29!?

A sum I rue spending today, will rue spending tomorrow and so on, and so forth, it is supected, until doomsday.

Only myself to blame. First carvery visit in a decade or more and, viewed as a timely reminder of exactly why that is, this terrible meal was one to treasure.

By the way, plan at the outset had, of course, been to run tongue over the cask ales. Sadly, of three pumps two were Wainwrights – a brew readers of this column will know has been written about, at length, on far more occasions than its middling status merits – and a bog-standard bitter which put me into a deep sleep even as I was reading the pumphead.

So got a Guinness. Pulled in haste, needed a topper, young bar staff looked at me like I was on the rob upon asking for one.

Needless to say, it was so good I just had the one and left a bit of it.

Proud of your local? Tell us why we should all beat a path to its bar. Email barry.freeman@lep.co.uk