WHEN you’re required to book in advance at a venue which offers a Sunday carvery, it tells you something about its success. There wasn’t a spare table on our visit to The Windmill Tavern, Salwick.
Couples, families with babies, toddlers, grandparents, all age groups, clearly were happy to be there, tucking in to good, value for money fare.
The restaurant is warm and welcoming with traditional features such as stone-flagged flooring, wooden beams and swirly plaster walls.
Like the sail-less 18th century windmill itself, it’s a bit weathered and in need of a lick of paint here and there, but this doesn’t detract from its charm and character.
Staff were friendly and attentive and service was good.
The three-course carvery special was a very reasonable £12.95 to include starter and dessert.
Across the table the chorizo and cod fishcakes heralded our starters, served with a side salad and lightly fried in a breadcrumb coating.
The soft potato and fish filling was given a welcome kick from the spicy chorizo. I chose the prawn and crab medley, again accompanied by an appealing little salad of peppers, cucumber, carrot and lettuce.
The small prawns and tasty crab combined to offer a pleasant appetiser.
The well-lit carvery counter highlighted magnificent glistening joints of beef, gammon, turkey, lamb and pork.
Smiling staff slice a piece of one or all of them, and serve you with a giant Yorkshire pudding. Mint, apple and cranberry sauce, plus sausages, stuffing and gravy were there for the taking.
Choices made, we helped ourselves from the selection of mashed potato, roast potatoes, diced swede, baton carrots, green beans, broccoli and cabbage. Disappointingly the broccoli and cabbage each were turning brown at the edges, a sign of being on the hot plate too long.
The beef was flavoursome, the turkey tender and the pork with crackling, tasty, complemented with rich, brown gravy.
The mashed potato was as it should be, roast potatoes golden and crispy and our chosen vegetables were cooked perfectly.
Our giant, delicious, fluffy Yorkshire puddings got the better of us, but only because of the size of them.
And, of course, we had to make sure we had room for the next course!
My partner chose home-made bread and butter pudding, which, on the plate looked like a TV Masterchef entry.
The triangular slice with a crunchy topping was packed with plump sultanas, rested in a yummy toffee sauce.
But the piece de resistance was the scoop of liquorice ice cream, a first for us (yes I tasted it, too) and a heavenly treat.
My individual home-made apple crumble came in a little earthenware dish, served, as requested with a separate jug of pouring cream. The crumble was, well crumbly, with oozings of hot juice escaping through the top and a chunky apple filling.
After a lunch like this, we waddled to the car. Goodness knows how the pile it high club members managed!
The bill came to £31 and that included a white wine spritzer and a half of lager.
Name: Windmill Tavern
Address: Salwick, Clifton
Phone: (01772) 687203
Opening times: Food served Tuesday–Friday 12–2.30pm; 5pm–9pm; Saturday 12–9.30pm; Sunday 12–8pm; Bank Holidays 12-8pm
Parking: Private car park
Disabled access: Yes
Worth a visit for: The carvery
One thing I’d change: The vegetables, more often