We have started on a mission now. Finding the North East’s Best Sunday Lunch. Who would have thought there was so much variety in the same set up of ingredients. Meat, Vegetables, Yorkshire Pudding, and gravy.
Today we went back to a Carvery Lunch we used to go to a few years ago to see if it had changed. And it had!
Astley Arms, Seaton Sluice
Since our last visit, the pub has had a partial refurb and updated its Carvery offering with the addition of a Pizza Oven. Previously it was a crown Carvery, now it’s a Stonehouse – Pizza and Carvery. The beauty of the Crown Carvery was that it was literally pennies for its carvery. I recall the Sunday Lunch being £5.99.
Since the refurb, it looks like the menu has been updated to reflect the price of other carveries. Sunday Lunch is priced at £8.79 for the traditional three slices of meat and veg.
Fresh Pizza at the Astley Arms
Kids being kids, the traditional Carvery that they had been looking forward to through the car journey here, changed upon entry. From “Dad? Can I have beef?” to “Dad? I’ll have Margarita!” within seconds. At least they got to try out the new pizza oven.
All orders are placed at the bar, where you pay up front. The pizzas are cooked to order, which means that you are given a buzzer to collect them when they are freshly cooked. Kids Pizza’s are £4.49. In addition to the pizza, you can collect a side of chips and salad from the carvery station.
A slight discussion over who would hold the buzzer started. For the first 5 minutes, they both held an end! Really they are great together, but also so so predictable.
The Pizzas arrived. Imogen went for ham and pineapple, Abigail chose the Cheese and Tomato. True to the description they were fresh tasting. Nice crispy bases, with a slight elastic chew within the crust. For me, they were perfectly cooked, and I only got to test out the leftover crusts!
Catherine and I both chose the traditional Sunday Carvery. Again you pay at the bar and are given a ticket to hand in when you collect it yourself.
I can’t comment much on the presentation of the meal as I’m mainly to blame for my meal. I chose three slices of beef, one Yorkshire, and the veg. Starting with a small scoop of stuffing, carrots, peas, cauliflower with a light cheese sauce, onions in gravy and a few roast potatoes. Then I spotted the crackling. My dirty secret it I love crackling and pork scratchings! So I couldn’t resist.
The Next station was a cauldron of gravy, then the mystery sauces! 6 bowls of sauce, some of which were obvious, but two that looked similar. The one I wanted was Horseradish, but it looked similar to another that had green flecks in it. Could it be bread sauce? Which I don’t like! I added a small bit and hoped for the best!
Catherine chose Turkey and beef, with all the trimmings. Which was more trimmings than my choice. In addition to the gardens peas, she had mushy peas and french beans.
Sunday lunch here was better than our last time. The budget elements of what seemed like mixed frozen veg had gone and were replaced with fresh veg. I won’t say it is the best I’ve ever had, but it was a very good Sunday Carvery. The choice of meats we could have had also included roast pork and Gammon.
The only downside that I’ll say is that the tables were very close together. I would say there was about 8″ between us and our neighbours, who apologised every time they got up and visited the carvery or bar. The other side of the table was jammed up against a buggy. Again the parents apologised for squeezing through. We’ve been in the same situation before and fully understood their awkwardness. We’d overheard at the bar that the venue would usually serve 700 covers on a Sunday and it felt as though most of them were there at Lunch.
I know what to expect here and would probably come back again and again. They certainly seem to know what they are doing as their client base is homing in time and again.
For more info about The Astley Arms Stonehouse
visit: Astley Arms