I’VE never been a big fan of the Sunday carvery.

While the potential to load up a plate with more food than anyone could feasibly eat might seem superficially attractive, there’s no getting away from the fact that said food tends to have been sitting around for a bit.

In my book, what makes the simple Sunday best the best is its freshness. There’s nothing more execrable than vegetables, particular anything green, and roast potatoes that have been getting gradually scorched from above by those infernal heat lamps and made to sweat from below by steam warmers.

Spring greens or cabbage, if left long enough, get a bit crusty on top and roasties just go flabby. Cauliflower and broccoli turn limp and watery. In the worst examples where there aren’t many diners and throughput is low the gravy can develop a skin almost like custard.

And if there are customers there’s the issue of queuing for your grub which reminds one of the school canteen. That’s not my idea of a pleasurable eating out experience.

So it was initially disappointing to discover that the Sunday lunch offering at the Jet Miners at Great Broughton was a carvery.

But that initial disappointment quickly turned to something else. The Jet Miners’ carvery is the smoothest and slickest of operations producing a Sunday lunch up to par with a full service offering.

Firstly, it helps enormously that it is clearly popular with plenty of diners to guarantee that there isn’t a lot of food sitting for long periods waiting to be eaten. Secondly, more than adequate staffing (an area where carveries typically try to cut costs) means that diners are cleverly marshalled to ensure a smooth flow to the servery and queues don’t build up.

Lastly, the man behind the servery didn’t allow anything to hang around. We saw half-full serving dishes of Yorkshire puddings and vegetables whisked away and replaced with fresh repeatedly during the time we were there. There was no chance anyone could come across anything past its best.

We had opted for the two-course lunch option (£15.95) – a starter and the main course but it could have been the main and a dessert.

Sylvia’s leek and potato soup, served with a lot of bread and butter, was very hot, very thick, very flavoursome and very filling. Very good was the verdict.

My mussels were fat healthy specimens indeed, cooked in a spicy, tomato and chorizo sauce. Again there was plenty of bread, handy to soak up all the sauce which I definitely wasn’t going to leave.

We took our time before heading for the carvery. We could see three hefty joints – beef, pork and turkey – being expertly and swiftly carved. I noted some folk were being served pink-ish beef and some well done. Again, that’s not the sort of choice when generally enjoys in a standard carvery.

You can also mix and match, Sylvia had some well done beef and turkey, I had some pink beef and pork with decent crackling and all of it was good quality and well cooked.

The array of vegetables kept up the standard. There was smooth, buttery lump-free mashed potato, roast potatoes which were almost as crisp as any that come straight from the onion. There was a very good broccoli and cauliflower cheese, carrots, swede, spring cabbage, two types of skin-free gravy and a full range of condiments. The Yorkshire puddings were light and fluffy. It was an excellent spread and hard to find fault.

We were sitting in a light-filled structure to the side of the pub’s main bar and eating areas. The décor was a bit of a mish-mash and the chairs – those ubiquitous high-backed leather jobs were afflicted by a common failure – saggy squabs which made the table top just a bit too high.

It was also very warm. We were close to the serving area and starting to cook when our waitress volunteered to find a key for the window lock, open it and let some much-needed fresh air in.

The bar in what we presumed is the original part of the pub is very traditional with low, beamed ceilings. It made for two very different dining environments and on a return visit I think we would probably sit there. The chairs certainly looked a bit more supportive.

The staff were very efficient and well drilled. We got the impression this was an operation that runs like clockwork so there wasn’t much scope for pleasantries.

Our bill was £36.55. The modest drinks bill amounted to £1.55 for a diet Coke and £3.10 for a small glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

Good value for a Sunday carvery that’s best of breed.


The Jet Miners Inn, 61 High Street, Great Broughton, Stokesley, TS9 7EF

Tel: 01642 711377

Web: thejetminersinn.co.uk

Disabled access. Vegetarian options

Sunday lunch served: 11.30am-2.30pm

Ratings (out of ten): Food quality 8 Service 7 Surroundings 7 Value 9