Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Britannia Hotel Carvery, Portland St, Manchester

In 2006, I had a disastrous day- it was just before Christmas, I had arrived at Manchester airport and was waiting for my case loaded with pressies and new clothes. I waited at the carousel, and waited a bit more until half an hour later, I was stood there like a desperate and dateless slapper in a low budget nightclub. Yes, my case was in Stansted. Christmas was officially ruined. After traipsing round the Arndale Centre buying a new wardrobe, I was much in need of nourishment and my nose led me in the direction of the Britannia Hotel. I had previously been to the Britannia Adelphi in Liverpool, a complete rubbish tip sponsored by the DSS and was disappointed, but word of mouth convinced me this place was going to come up with the goods, food-wise. It was absolutely fabulous and that's why, 6 years later, I'm back to give this place a glowing review!

Jenny's Carvery is situated in the hotel's basement and is reminiscent of old school Berni Inns and those steakhouses that seem to have disappeared to pave the way for pretentious tapas bars. It offers spacious surroundings and hearty smells! The starter was a choice between melon and soup, I opted for the smooth leek and potato soup served with a crusty brown roll. Once that was digested, it was time for the main event.

The veggie option of the day was a spicy pasta bake, beautifully prepared without that heartburny bechamel sauce. To accompany, I helped myself to the array of treats on the all you can eat buffet- rosemary potatoes, carrots, swede and a random Yorkshire Pudding (which was homemade- no Aunt Bessie's evidence there!) In addition, there is an array of salads with feta, mozzarella and green salad. The quality of the food was excellent and all were served piping hot (bar the salads obviously) unlike some other buffets who shall remain nameless....

After this big feast, I was fit to burst but then the realisation hit me- it's a three course meal which means dessert! I dragged my bursting belly off the seat and advanced towards the cake display. There to greet me were strawberry gateau, black forest, fruit cocktail and a tangerine-flavoured cake. I settled for the decadent choc cake- scrumptious. Needless to say, this feast set me up for the day, letting me loose on the streets to offer free promotion for this wondrous carvery.

Jenny's Carvery ticked all the boxes- veggie friendly, cheery staff, value for money, the feeling of a proper meal afterwards and an allround great atmosphere. Such traditional places are scarce nowadays and it makes me yearn for the bygone era of a good old Berni Inn! See, veggies can do steakhouses too.


On a recent visit to the Carvery, I am sad to report that although the food is still great, there seems to be a new tip-hungry group of staff working there. They are a group of foreign girls who drop hints like 'It's the end of my shift now'. In addition, the wine has doubled in price and the air con seems to be switched off, despite the heat we've been experiencing lately. Get your act together, Britannia, and bring back the humble staff you once had.

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Hi Vindaloo Kings and Queens!