De Rodes Arms is a national chain pub restaurant in Barlborough that makes no bones about its raison d’être.
It’s a destination for meat lovers, a Sunday roast and carvery specialist that caters primarily for big eaters.
As a meat lover, and someone who can from time to time put in an impressive performance at the dinner table, De Rodes Arms was a tempting proposition for me.
On arrival it’s clear there’s no standing on ceremony, no welcome at the front door or waiting to be seated, you just plonk yourself down wherever you want, then head to the bar to order.
The menu isn’t extensive, because the Crown Carveries venue offers a simple choice.
After a starter or snack, you can either select from one of five vegetarian options, or you can have a carvery.
As good as the meat free carvery (£3.69), four shire wedge (£4.99), quorn lasagne (£4.19), butternut squash (£5.99) and beetroot, aubergine and feta cheese cannelloni (£5.99) sound, it was always going to be a carvery for myself, my wife and my son.
But mercifully, De Rodes Arms does offer three options, based on how hungry – or greedy– you are.
The four-year-old was tasked with taking on a ‘small carvery’ priced at £3.69, with the added incentive of ‘bottomless ice cream’ to follow, for an extra £1.50.
Instead of a slice of one of the three meats on offer, he elected to have the sausages, with an array of accompanying vegetables, potatoes and a Yorkshire pudding.
My wife, knowing her limits, sensibly chose the standard ‘Crown Carvery’ at £4.19, and enjoyed two of the meats.
For me, the saying ‘your eyes are bigger than your belly’ rang true, as I chose the biggest meal on offer, entitled ‘The Works’ – priced at just £1.50 extra on top of a standard carvery.
For the extra cash, you get all three meats, a pork and herb sausage and a giant Yorkshire pudding.
As with most carveries, the customer is left to decide what, and how much, will adorn the plate alongside the roast meat.
On the Monday night we visited, there was turkey breast, glazed gammon and roast pork on display.
They all looked, and tasted good, and the slabs served up were generous in size, to say the least.
The best of the meats was the gammon, the one that left a little to be desired was the turkey – it was just a little dry.
The roast potatoes were fluffy inside, but I would have preferred them to be crispier on the outside.
There was a good choice of vegetables, although they were the most obvious sign of mass food production, fairly standard fare.
For dessert the youngster enjoyed a bowl of Cornish ice cream with chocolate and strawberry sauce.
My wife and I shared a’ chocolate fudge sensation’ at £4.69.
I have seen, and devoured, much bigger and more impressive looking shared desserts.
But you can’t beat the value at De Rodes Arms for the puddings, the pricing is more than reasonable for those with a sweet tooth.
Our dessert had a lot of cream, some chunks of chocolate brownie and a decent amount of ice cream.
The venue itself is clean, modern and spacious, and it’s clearly popular, as at tea time ona Monday it was bustling with customers.
Every member of staff we encountered was pleasant and helpful, answering the same questions they undoubtedly face a dozen times a day without a hint of frustration.
We all enjoyed the food, and the atmosphere and would recommend a visit – as long as you’re not expecting the earth.
It’s a carvery pub.
By Graham Smyth