And finally, I get to review a roast dinner in my favourite country, España. The Carvery in Torremolinos.
Oooh a carvery. Maybe it will be as good as a Toby Carvery. I should probably put some emphasis there. As “good” as a Toby Carvery. Phew, my pretentiousness comes out better with punctuation.
Yes, Lord Gravy is a pretentious prick, yet has come to the Costa Del Sol for a couple of weeks because he has nowhere in London to live. And, yes, unpretentious people don’t even know how to talk in the third person. Darling.
Well, it says it on the sign on the road. I’m actually staying in Benalmádena, which was already massively triggering my remoanerness, all those Irish bars with hilariously inventive names such as Scruffy Murphy’s, Paddywack’s, Micko’s Or The Mad Ass bar, replete with people shouting outside at 1am.
And then there’s the English bars, the rows of fish and chip shops or the bar that calls itself Wetherspains – like that’s going to attract me.
Ketchup Restaurant, though, that’s happening. And I’m going to order the thing that most doesn’t need ketchup, like a salad, and ask them for ketchup. Or hell…ask for mayonnaise.
Yet Torremolinos is on another sphere to Benalmádena – the former is busier, and so, so, so British. Irish bars everywhere, chiringuito bars all along the beach, Dave from Barnsley drinking €2.00 pints – ok only one of those is British, at least since 1919, but you get my drift.
I did my research. Google Maps, TripAdvisor, walking around – everything looked like this:
I even asked on Reddit – someone called me a loser. Can you believe it?
But others recommended The Carvery, which was the only place I’d found that might be acceptable, written with a grimacing face right now.
So I neither know what to make of ratings on Google, or recommendations, but from the dubious data I have, The Carvery seemed like the wiser option. Well, going into Malaga for some tapas would have been wisest, but that ain’t my mission on Earth.
I’d love to give you some recommendations on where to eat in Torremolinos, but this was the first time I stepped over the line from Benalmádena so I cannot help you. And given that I’ll still be here next Sunday, I’m assuming that I’ll be having a roast dinner in Benalmádena so I can talk up this town more then. Maybe.
That said, The Carvery seem to advertise being in Montemar instead, much in the same way that I’ve been telling people I’m on holiday in Malaga.
Sign said different though.
After a long walk in the late-autumn warm sunshine, I was delighted to be shown to a hot and stuffy room – the first time I’ve felt hot since Ryanair crammed us into a pen in Luton airport. I should probably put emphasis on the delighted.
Apart from the anomalous warmth, The Carvery was a pleasant enough place, modern though not especially stylish – sufficiently pleasant so that your auntie might think it posh.
One assumes it was so warm as to make their Spanish clientele feel at home. Lol. Spanish clientele, I’m so fucking funny. Or so I thought, until the waiting staff started singing Cumpleaños Feliz to a table. Maybe there are actually Spanish people here? They then had to sing it in English. Happy birthday, Adrian.
At which point two older, fatter Liverpudlians sat next to me (I’m hardly youthful or thin before you have a pop), the fellow exclaiming, “ahh that’s more like it”, as if he’s finally happy to be in a British restaurant. Hmmm. The place was almost fully booked too, when I booked a table in the morning.
Options on the menu for those wanting roast dinners (hence the name of the blog) were pretty much carvery or carvery, but think of all the different combinations you could have? They did also cater for vegans with a nut roast, or a meat-free carvery (would you like potatoes with your nothing?) – plus there were other traditional Spanish options on the menu such as battered sausages or breaded scampi.
They called me over for my turn, pretty much as soon as I’d had a sip of my wine. €6.40 for a large glass – fuck you London. Though the beer choice here was basic – what even is Victoria beer?
Beef, pork, turkey, ham or lamb were the options presented to me – I went for pork and ham, before realising I’d just chosen two different methods of cooking the same meat, and corrected it to pork and turkey. I could have had all 5 should I have wished.
Vegetable options were so uninspiring that I ended up going for Mediterranean vegetables, just to upset the Twitter, or what’s left of it in this strange Musk-sphere where I now get adverts stating that bananas are bad for your health (and also why you should buy their health supplement). Then again, I’m here in the Costa Del Sol, and this is pretty much the first meal where I’ve been offered vegetables.
My Twitter adverts are slightly less irrelevant over here in Spain, an advert for a lawnmower whilst I’m staying in an Airbnb apartment with fake grass on the balcony, and some other adverts entirely in Spanish with no other visual clues as to what they are for – and my Spanish is not yet sufficiente bueño to get me into the local’s room of restaurants in Malaga.
Anyway, from memory, apart from the Mediterranean vegetables, there was broccoli, carrots, some kind of carrot mash, maybe cauliflower – nothing that looked like it had seen an oven or any seasoning.
We’ll start with the broccoli, which was on the crunchy side, but also tasted rather watery, having been sat in a tub of water waiting for me. Water and gravy do not mix, so this is never ideal. Assumed boiled or steamed, as most of the vegetables appeared to have been.
Then the Mediterranean vegetables – the courgette was crunchy and bland, the red pepper soft though again not really tasting of much. The red onion was also crunchy but added something in terms of flavour, and did help pep up missing flavour elsewhere. Pooh-pooh my choice if you wish, but there was thinking behind it.
3 roast potatoes were supplied, though I’m sure I could have had extra. They didn’t seem like the best potatoes, maybe just ordinary white potatoes – I’d be shocked if they were King Edwards or anything more luminary. One actually was quite a decent roast potato, the other two had evidence of crisp on the outside, but weren’t that soft inside – certainly a far way from fluffy, though I’m assuming more due to the average quality of potato.
The cauliflower cheese wasn’t bad – it wasn’t taking my top off and running around shouting “oggy oggy oggy” level good, but there was some appeal here. Soft cauliflower, a very creamy sauce, though the cheese came through – if perhaps too sweet for a savoury plate, but it was decent enough.
I actually liked the Yorkshire pudding. Yep, snobbio remoaner prick here is being complimentary. Just about.
What they had done, is cook large yorkies, then slice them – which I quite admire, and maybe the many pubs in London that struggle not to burn yorkies could try this. Then again, it won’t look as good on the ‘grim. Generally it was pretty fluffy and soft, it complimented the meal, if perhaps it was a little too crispy on the base – like quite solid level of crispy. Then again, there was pretty much infinite gravy, as you may have noticed from my photographs.
So the pork was respectable – I wasn’t entirely sure what cut it was though I’m guessing loin, it had a little bit of structural firmness to it.
The turkey, again was respectable. A few slices of the turkey crown, not dry though not especially moist – it was just respectably decent.
My favourite item on the plate was the half-sausage, which looked like a typical British butcher’s sausage but had a bit of European kind of paprika sweetness to it, and was a tad on the pink side.
Again, the stuffing had a surprising lack of flavour – when even the SAGE and onion stuffing doesn’t seem to have any herbs or seasoning, you know there is an issue. Texture-wise it was fine, and there was onion.
Finally, yes, that is a correct amount of gravy. And I went back for more. A shame it was the blandest thing on the plate – it just absolutely tasted of nothing, maybe bar strains of cornflower. It was thick, it was plentiful, but totally devoid of flavour.
They did ask me if I wanted to go back for seconds, including meat. Are you listening, Toby?
I managed not to answer “absolutely hell no”, with a polite “oh I know when I’m finished, thanks”. It was sufficient food. There wasn’t sufficient seasoning. There wasn’t any seasoning. Or herbs. I guess this is why someone called me a “loser” on Reddit.
Nothing at The Carvery was especially bad though – nothing burnt, nothing tasted disgusting, nothing was cooked the night before, nothing deep fried directly from Joan from Wigan’s freezer in the basement. It was just bland. And given that it seems to be very successful, and there was just one timeslot during the day with a table available, I guess The Carvery is providing exactly what its customers want.
It just happens that this reviewer likes flavour in their food. Some people genuinely prefer a lot of food, to food that tastes of something. Who am I to judge? I will judge, because I’m a pretentious nobhead, but am I right or wrong in desiring some seasoning, some herbs, some flavour? You decide.
And I did like the sausage and the yorkie – even the roast potatoes were respectable – I’ve had far worse roasties in London. Often.
A score of 6.40 out of 10 feels reasonable to me. And it quite possibly is the best roast dinner on the Costa Del Sol. I have nothing to compare it to, other than some pretty appalling-looking photos elsewhere on Google.
Back to tapas for 6 days, but I’ve found an Irish bar in Benalmádena which looks like it might do crispy roast potatoes for next Sunday. Worth a crack, right?