With winter just around the corner, and with our bodies burning more energy to keep us warm, now is the perfect time to start your hibernation with the ultimate family winter warmer – a carvery! We’ve picked just a few of our favourites from around the county to kickstart your cravings…
The Bowd Inn
Sidmouth, EX10 0ND
Your experience starts from the moment you turn into the car park and admire the thatched roof and quintessential country pub styling, perfected by a landscaped beer garden and play area for the little ones to one side. Inside, a quirky dining layout means that each time you return the ambience will be a little different, offering more period artefacts and pieces to examine while you sit.
One of the best draws of a carvery at The Bowd Inn is that they serve the rarer option of lamb as one of their meat choices – all of which are tender, good quality cuts ready to be carved straight onto your plate. Their nut roast is also moist and full of flavour – something that can often be a bit hit and miss as they often vary wildly in definition from place to place. Along with the addition of lamb to the line-up comes a few more unexpected surprises, including crisp yet fluffy potato croquettes, juicy red cabbage and their moreish roast parsnips. All of this in addition to their roast potatoes, veg selection and the bonus stuffing balls and mini sausages. The entire experience is made even better thanks to attentive staff who check on you throughout your meal and are only too friendly to welcome you in. What’s more, this excellent carvery selection is served every single day!
The Hare and Hounds, Sidmouth
Putts Corner, A375, Sidbury, EX10 0QQ
Probably one of the most well-known spots for a consistently strong carvery offering is this traditional pub conveniently placed (and almost equally spaced) between Honiton, Sidmouth and Ottery St. Mary. A popular haunt for smugglers back in the 17th century, and with an intriguing past that extends much further back still, its traditional beams and log fires serve as a reminder of times gone by, creating a warm, cosy ambience in which to eat such a traditional meal. Four locally supplied cuts of meats head the line-up of crispy stuffing balls, indulgent cauliflower cheese and the usual selection of vegetables and roast potatoes served hot and cooked well. A nut roast or vegetable only option is available for non-meat eaters at a discounted rate. Booking ahead is almost always required which in itself is a testament to the quality of the food on offer.
Exmouth Road, Lympstone, EX8 5LS
Re-established in 2015 to retain the modern classic feel of this 15th century coaching inn, The Saddlers combines an informal atmosphere with quality food. While the food is great and the variety aplenty, the draw here though is what comes after. Now if you’re like me, there’s not often any need to eat anything else for the rest of the day after your carvery is over but there’s definitely a reason to save some space here and that’s the offer of a £1 dessert with every carvery – who could turn that down?
The Hickory Inn
93 High Street, Halberton, EX16 7AG
Unassuming from the outside, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was just a local watering hole. But enter inside and you’ll find something far more enticing. This one is a bit of a wildcard but for all the right reasons. If you’re looking for a twist on your usual carvery selection then try this home-smoked take on the British classic. Pile your plate high with tender pulled brisket, sticky honey BBQ wings and succulent Texas-style meatloaf alongside a whole range of seasonal vegetables that you’d probably not expect at your usual country carvery. You can even build your own burger, nachos or salad! There’s also the addition of some classic smokehouse sides to keep things interesting, including creamy wholegrain mustard mash, spiced vegetable jambalaya and their special bean brew of the day. The best bit? It’s all you can eat!
The Sunday banquet runs every Sunday from 12:30pm – 3pm. Adults: £14 and kids £7.50. Keep your eye on the changing seasonal menu on their website.
The Hare and Hounds, Kingskerswell
Torquay Road, Kingskerswell, Newton Abbot, TQ12 5HH
There seems to be something about quality carveries and The Hare and Hounds name. Our second Hare and Hounds pub boasts a rustic country kitchen meets traditional pub aesthetic, striking a wonderful balance between informal and relaxing yet high-end and elegant all at the same time. The carvery here is award-winning and, as its namesake is in East Devon, it’s famous across the bay and highly revered as one of the best in the area. Succulent hand-carved meat (sourced from West Country farms) is accompanied by an extensive choice of vegetables, sausages and of course Yorkshire puddings – the dessert trolley afterwards is naughtily tempting if you’re looking to fill that second pudding compartment too. There’s also a non-Sunday Over 60s deal for just £9.50!