Toss the old '70s carcass aside for a sharp new-wave carvery
When the news broke that Posh Spice had taken her kids to a Toby Carvery for lunch, the nation gasped. Surely even La Beckham's blessing couldn't save these '70s throwbacks?
Well, apparently they were on the way back long before Posh; the new wave of carveries was begun in June last year, when GI Partners took on 290 Spirit pubs and set up Orchid Pubs Limited. Two Orchids are already open, with 10 more to come in 2007 and another 30 on the way.
Orchid's will be carveries with a difference. Cast aside all thought of yesterday's roast shrivelling under a heat-lamp. Taking its cue from upmarket design, the new-wave carveries, care of Harrison Design in Sutton Coldfield, have a wine wall stocked by Bibendum; they have Wi-Fi access, copper lighting, blackboards and ‘pods' to display the meat on butcher's blocks. Customers are greeted on arrival and get 100 per cent table service, avoiding the ‘queue issue' nicely. Even the food's had a makeover, with local meat, organic bread, and free-range eggs in the Yorkshire puds.
"Whatever your perception of carveries was before, you were probably right. They hadn't moved on in 20 years," says Sharon Hammond, Concept Development Manager at the Orchid Group. "We've changed the feel, moving away from a canteen-style service to food presented in a semi-circle. It's more like a stage for the chefs.
The actual food concept is quite en vogue these days. It's good that wholesome traditional food has never gone out of fashion; it's just that the restaurants themselves weren't in line with that."
The Olton Tavern, Lode Lane, Solihull, B92 8NU.
0121 742 0515 Tumbledown Farm, Four Crosses Lane, Hatherton, Cannock, WS11 1RU, 01543 500891