AROUND 10 years ago a certain Editor gave me my break in journalism, and recently he invited myself and a retired Granthamian colleague of ours to lunch for a catch up.
The self-confessed Willie Thorne lookalike has the appetite of a famished elephant on an ordinary day, but owing to his romp down the A1, he was particularly hungry.
“Don’t go taking me to some paltry-portioned pretentious cordon bleu restaurant. I want to tuck the table cloth into my collar and ham-up my best Henry VIII impression,” he declared.
And so with that, the aforementioned former Journal print-room employee racked his brains, ruled out a couple of posh nosh places before pointing us in the direction of Muston.
“If you want to eat like a king, there’s a Crown Carvery place up t’road, and they know how to fill a...”
Yes, you guessed it...fill a ‘gap’, for at the Gap Inn nestled neatly on the A52 is quite possibly the reason the Lord gave us animals.
As we nosed our way into the car park on a Friday afternoon, it became immediately apparent that this place is no secret. It was chocka.
Whilst top-heavy with canny pensioners looking to bag a gastro-bargain - you can have three meats and as much veg as you can stomach for just £3.69 – I have to say there were a fair few families dotted around the sprawling pub.
Despite the headline price being about what you’d pay for a basic burger and chips at the likes of McDonalds – my former boss got sucked in by the offer of a ‘Kingsize’ boost to our carve-ups, and duly shelled out an extra £1.50 apiece to ensure there would be no sign of any ‘gaps’ in our guts when we eventually waddled out of the place.
Somewhat taken aback by the presentation of a trio of Kingsize requests, the chef on duty had to scurry off to find the requisite sized oval plates to spread out our individual banquets.
He kicked off our smorgasbord of gluttony with a Yorkshire Pudding which I suspect was bigger than Ronnie Corbett’s hot-tub, but before we were even asked what meats we’d like, he threw in a couple of herby sausages, and a ball of stuffing for good measure.
We were then offered a choice of gammon, beef or turkey and because we all chose differently it was interesting to see how it panned out. One went for just beef and duly received what looked like a herd of heifers on his plate. One of us went for two meats and the other all three, and as you might expect, you’re dished up a little less of each if you’re going the whole hog, so to speak.
We then filled up on peas, carrots, boiled spuds, roast spuds and cauliflower cheese, and I for one had a large scoop of onion gravy – before skulking ashamedly back to our table past a line of tutting OAPs who probably remember a time when the amount of food we carried back to our table could feed Bottesford for a month.
Now don’t get me wrong, the food wasn’t Michelin standard by any stretch of the imagination. Nor was it anything like what my old mum can rustle up on a Sunday, but for less than I paid for a pint of Guinness in my home town, you can get three meats and half a dozen veg (unless you’re like my ex-boss and can’t resist paying the extra £1.50).
I half expected rubbery beef, soggy gammon and dry turkey – but my fears were miles wide of the mark, as all the meats were all tender, juicy and tasty.
So much so that I devoured them all and had no room for Ronnie Corbett’s hot-tub, or half the veg which in actual fact was pretty well cooked and tasty to boot. The roasties were excellent, too.
The Gap Inn offers good food at an affordable price. If you know of a place that does just as good a carvery – let us know!
by James Mitchinson
Star rating HHH