Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

Is this the best carvery in Bury St Edmunds?

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I love a good carvery.

The problem is, finding a good carvery can be a challenge.

I’d seen The Priory Hotel – a Best Western property in Bury St Edmunds – crop up in local Facebook groups as somewhere to try…now, a hotel wouldn’t normally be my first pick for a Sunday lunch booking (unless I was staying there) but the TripAdvisor and Google reviews looked pretty good.

I booked a table for the three of us for fairly early in the afternoon – which also meant there were plenty of free parking spaces when we arrived. Hidden behind an old priory wall, we’d never seen the building itself until now but it looked beautiful from the outside, and the reception area (while quiet and unstaffed) was gorgeous.



I’ve got to admit, it wasn’t massively clear where we needed to go…so we hung around for a bit until someone turned up and directed us through the lounge, down some steps and into the restaurant: an expansive room (which does look very hotel-like) with great views over the garden.



The carvery was all set up along the opposite side of the room and from what we could see there was plenty of variety. The menu on the day offered a choice of three different meats – beef, gammon and pork – with all the trimmings for £13.50, which seemed like good value. There was a fish and a vegetarian option available too, along with starters, desserts and a kids’ menu (including a smaller carvery for younger diners).



Of course, the child never does things the normal way. As soon as he spotted whitebait (£8) on the menu his mind was made up. The portion was certainly generous for a main for a five-year-old, the fish themselves lightly dusted in flour before frying rather than breaded, which he prefers.

Why? Because he gets to see the eyes that he’s eating. Told you he wasn’t normal…

The whitebait were delicious, though, and the lemon mayo they were served with was the perfect accompaniment.



We were invited to head up to get our adult carvery meals whenever we wanted, grabbing plates from the end of the service area and working our way along. First up, the meat, which all looked juicy and tender. It was a little disappointing to see the beef, pork and gammon all contained in the same tray, however – this could be a problem for diners with certain dietary requirements.



Next up, three huge trays of roasties, slightly unusual-looking stuffing slices and Yorkshire puddings. Beyond this, three further large metal trays, partitioned in the middle, offered six different vegetable choices before we moved along to the gravy and condiments.



Of course, I wanted to try a bit of everything (except the peas – I’m not that fussed about peas). My plate was fully loaded – although less so than some other diners – and I certainly didn’t need dinner that evening.

Quality-wise, we were pretty impressed. The pork was nice and tender and the potatoes crisp on the outside. The Yorkie was delicious and the veg were perfect, no soggy school dinner-style carvery veg here.

The gravy was thick and rich and I was pleased to see a large bowl of apple sauce for me to help myself to. The only real letdown was the stuffing: not only dry and stodgy, but also lacking any real flavour.



For the price we paid, we were really happy with our carvery at the Best Western Priory Hotel. What’s more, if you book for after 2.30pm you’ll also enjoy a free starter or dessert, making the value for money even better.

We still have a few more carveries to try in the area, but for the price, quality and variety, we’d definitely head back here again in the future.


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