The Ramside Hotel, Carrville, Durham

Pemberton's Carvery at The Ramside Hotel - Carrville, Durham.

Pemberton's Carvery at The Ramside Hotel - Carrville, Durham.

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A Wheeler gathering was on the cards to celebrate the mothership’s birthday, but where could we go to satisfy all generations?

The birthday girl herself suggested the Ramside carvery as although the food is basic, there’s plenty of choice, and the setting makes it feel a little special.

I hadn’t realised that you didn’t have to be a guest at this four-star hotel to eat in its restaurants, which includes the carvery and a steakhouse and grill.

Though the setting is a cut above the usual carvery experience, with a grand piano among the room’s features, service is still friendly and informal and we plonked ourselves down without having to wait to be seated.

Open every day, it offers hot daily specials as well as cold meats and salads. You can also order cooked-to-order food such as steak, fish and a pizza selection.

The easiest option to go for, as I soon found out, is the carvery where swift service offers a range of meats such as turkey, beef pork and chicken.

A chef serves your cuts of meat before you help yourself to an extensive range of cooked vegetables. A full portion costs £9.50 with a half portion, which is ideal for kids, priced at £6.50.

I, however, had eyed up a tasty looking cheese and broccoli pasta dish which was on the adjacent serving station. I waited dutifully with my plate in hand as the serving man finished carving slices of meat for the rest of the family.

Once he’d done he headed back into the kitchen. I asked a passing waitress if I could serve myself, but she cheerily said no, that I had to wait for the server.

He did return, but ignored me, and continued to serve the lengthy queue which had formed at the carvery station. It was almost 20 minutes since I’d left my seat at this point, so I just served myself in the end.

Next stop was the salad bar and it was full of pastas, sauces and vegetables that put other carvery salad bars I’ve visited to shame.

My pasta was a tasty choice and was cooked in a cheese sauce which packed a punch in the flavour department, it’s just a shame I had to wait so long.

My brother was also told he had a 20-minute wait for his steak, but it was worth it.

For his £10.50, he was presented with a juicy rump steak which oozed flavour. It was accompanied by big fat chips and onion rings and more than satisfied his often insatiable appetite.

Mum too was impressed with her chicken carvery which she declared delicious. My niece Amy, meanwhile, ploughed her way through her beef dinner which came with big fluffy Yorkshire puddings – no imitation freezer Yorkies here.

There’s also a home-made patisserie section which looked laden with calorific treats though our generous portions meant we were too stuffed to tackle a dessert.

Katy Wheeler

Twitter: @sunechokaty