The Elm Tree: Carving a niche for fine dining

Despite being sneered at by food critics, a carvery is still the first choice of many looking for a hot lunch. But all carveries are not the same, with quality and the menus on offer varying hugely.

The Elm Tree: Carving a niche for fine dining

Some pubs and hotels dole out little more than dried up meat while others really try to take an inventive twist on home cooked favourites.

And so the Great Carvery of the Year 2014 is hoping to separate the wheat from the chaff with its annual awards programme, the shortlist of which has just been announced.

The finalists were selected by public vote, and also by mystery diners.

The Elm Tree in Glounthaune, Co Cork, is the only Cork pub on the Munster pub shortlist, while two Limerick bars, Bobby Byrne’s bar on O’Connell Avenue in the city, and Russell’s Bar in Dooradoyle, made the final cut.

Rathcoole’s An Poitín Stil is the only pub carvery making a mark in Dublin while Slevin’s pub in Dunboyne, Co Meath and Dinn Rí in Carlow town came up top elsewhere in Leinster. In the West, Mulroy’s Gastropub in Castlebar; the Merry Monk in Ballina, Co Mayo; and Henry’s Bar and Restaurant in Sligo, were voted the top three places for a pub lunch. In Ulster, there were just two finalists, Fiddlers in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan and Fox’s Bar, Bailieboro, Co Cavan.

In the Munster hotel category, the Castle Hotel, Macroom, the Granville Hotel in Waterford, and the Heights Hotel in Killarney, have made it to the shortlist, while in Leinster, the Hilton’s Double Tree, the Bracken Court Hotel in Balbriggan, and the Stillorgan Park Hotel have all come out on top.

The Galway Bay Hotel in Salthill; Flannery’s Hotel in Galway; and Dalton Hotel in Claremorris, were shortlisted in Connacht, while in Ulster, the Westenra Arms Hotel, Monaghan; the Silver Tassie Hotel, Letterkenny; and Bailie Hotel, Bailieboro, won the public and mystery dinner vote.

A new category was also introduced this year for bars or hotels which offer a carvery one day a week and the finalists there are: Harvey’s Point Hotel, Donegal; The Paddocks, Dublin 15; and Causeway Hotel, Antrim.

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