Black Boy Hotel, Newtown

Reviewer’s rating *** Kirsty Marston drops in at a friendly town pub where the carvery serves up a generous treat.

The Black Boy Hotel, Newtown

On a journey between our home in Telford and an afternoon birthday party in Newtown we had planned to stop off somewhere for lunch, writes Kirsty Marston.

But we did the usual thing – didn't stop at the first place because our son had not long gone to sleep, the next place was too quiet and the next place too busy and it went on.

Then we found ourselves in Newtown with no idea where to eat. After driving around the town the carvery board outside the Black Boy enticed us in.

The only time I had been to the pub before was during a Saturday night out with my cousin and my memory of the place is vague. The bar area was busy with diners – including plenty of families. After asking at the bar if there was an available table we were told to help ourselves to any free table and then go to the carvery.

As the tables were full in the bar area we went through to the “carvery room” at the back of the pub. I felt like I was in a time warp and was back in the school canteen – a girl sitting at a till taking money, a woman in an apron clearing tables and paper table clothes.

But this is not a criticism because with the friendly and welcoming staff at the Black Boy and the great food – what they offer is perfect.

They do not pretend to offer five star fine dining but do offer fantastic home-cooked food at extremely reasonable prices.

We found a free table and as we were paying by card, my husband was directed to pay at the bar. The till is cash only. We didn’t see a menu but asked if they offered starters and were told they didn't usually but would if we wanted one – as we were pushed for time and knew we would be having a party buffet later we opted out.

As our young son needed feeding first, my husband went up for his carvery while I fed Eddie. John soon returned with a plate full – a huge selection of fresh vegetables and a huge portion of both turkey and beef.

As I was still dieting at this point, I was determined to be good! Well the thought was there. I would have usually had just turkey as a healthy option but the tender and juicy lamb joint was just too tempting so I had both. But I did resist the offer of a half roast chicken, beef and gammon.

But other customers could be seen with their plates piled high with a bit of everything. The offer of a crispy half roast chicken was a welcome change. The selection of vegetables was the largest I had seen on a carvery – including a selection of beans, root vegetables, crispy roast potatoes and parsnips.

The choice was impressive. Everything was obviously fresh and piping hot, with anything which was nearing the end being replenished regularly by the kitchen staff. The friendly chef was generous with her helping of meat and impressed me when she offered to cut off the fat around the edge of my meat. Small touches and offers can make a huge difference.

Inside The Black Boy Hotel, Newtown
Inside The Black Boy Hotel, Newtown

Despite my good intentions, I couldn't resist the crispy parsnips or the roast potatoes but made myself feel better by having plenty of vegetables to go with it! The huge portion of succulent turkey beat me but what I did manage was delicious. It really was cooked to perfection. While the one slice of lamb I asked for also got top marks.

I never order lamb at a carvery, or for a Sunday lunch while dining out, because it so often contains more fat than meat. But this was lovely with no fat visible.

With the huge Yorkshire puddings and topped with gravy, the carvery got top marks from both of us.

Time and stomach restraints meant we didn’t have desserts. But there were some on offer and, no, they are not home-made but are good quality sweets at just £3 and who can argue at that.

The Black Boy is a freehouse so is popular with real-ale drinkers, locals, hotel residents and judging by the queue, Sunday diners. It turns into a busy pub for drinkers in the evening as they do not serve food unless it is a pre-booked party of 20 or more.

Since our visit, and I must admit our surprise at how good the food and service was, we have since been told by people that customers are often seen queuing outside the pub from 11.30am as the carvery is so popular every day of the week.

As I have already explained, this is not a fine dining experience but “cheap and very cheerful” comes to mind. It is a traditional pub with traditional food with friendly local staff. The food is also locally sourced so local farmers are supported too.

ADDRESS

Black Boy Hotel, 31 Broad St, Newtown SY16 2BQ

Powys. Tel: 01686 626834.

MENU SAMPLE

STARTERS

Not on the menu but served on request.

MAIN COURSES Carvery Tuesday to Sunday, noon- 2pm (weekday £6.75 and Sunday £7.50); Selection of bar meals Mon-Sat noon-2pm including: Chicken tikka (£6); beef madras (£6); battered cod (£6.75); breaded plaice (£6.75)

DESSERTS Sticky toffee pudding (£3); bread and butter pudding (£3); lemon meringue pie (£3)

ATMOSPHERE Friendly, traditional pub.

SERVICE Excellent, efficient and friendly.

DISABLED FACILITIES

Both disabled access and toilets.

On a journey between our

home in Telford and an afternoon

birthday party in Newtown

we had planned to stop

off somewhere for lunch. But

we did the usual thing – didn't

stop at the first place because

our son had not long gone to

sleep, the next place was too

quiet and the next place too

busy and it went on.

Then we found ourselves in Newtown

with no idea where to eat. After driving

around the town the carvery board outside

the Black Boy enticed us in.

The only time I had been to the pub before

was during a Saturday night out with my

cousin and my memory of the place is vague.

The bar area was busy with diners –

including plenty of families. After asking at

the bar if there was an available table we

were told to help ourselves to any free table

and then go to the carvery.

As the tables were full in the bar area we

went through to the “carvery room” at the

back of the pub. I felt like I was in a time

warp and was back in the school canteen – a

girl sitting at a till taking money, a woman

in an apron clearing tables and paper table

clothes.

But this is not a criticism because with

the friendly and welcoming staff at the

Black Boy and the great food – what they

offer is perfect. They do not pretend to offer

five star fine dining but do offer fantastic

home-cooked food at extremely reasonable

prices.

We found a free table and as we were paying

by card, my husband was directed to pay

at the bar. The till is cash only.

We didn’t see a menu but asked if they

offered starters and were told they didn't

usually but would if we wanted one – as we

were pushed for time and knew we would be

having a party buffet later we opted out.

As our young son needed feeding first, my

husband went up for his carvery while I fed

Eddie. John soon returned with a plate full –

a huge selection of fresh vegetables and a

huge portion of both turkey and beef.

As I was still dieting at this point, I was

determined to be good! Well the thought was

there.

I would have usually had just turkey as a

healthy option but the tender and juicy lamb

joint was just too tempting so I had both.

But I did resist the offer of a half roast

chicken, beef and gammon. But other customers

could be seen with their plates piled

high with a bit of everything. The offer of a

crispy half roast chicken was a welcome

change.

The selection of vegetables was the

largest I had seen on a carvery – including a

selection of beans, root vegetables, crispy

roast potatoes and parsnips. The choice was

impressive.

Everything was obviously fresh and piping

hot, with anything which was nearing

the end being replenished regularly by the

kitchen staff.

The friendly chef was generous with her

helping of meat and impressed me when she

offered to cut off the fat around the edge of

my meat. Small touches and offers can make

a huge difference.

Succulent

Despite my good intentions, I couldn't

resist the crispy parsnips or the roast potatoes

but made myself feel better by having

plenty of vegetables to go with it!

The huge portion of succulent turkey beat

me but what I did manage was delicious. It

really was cooked to perfection. While the

one slice of lamb I asked for also got top

marks. I never order lamb at a carvery, or for

a Sunday lunch while dining out, because it

so often contains more fat than meat. But

this was lovely with no fat visible.

With the huge Yorkshire puddings and

topped with gravy, the carvery got top marks

from both of us.

Time and stomach restraints meant we

didn’t have desserts. But there were some

on offer and, no, they are not home-made

but are good quality sweets at just £3 and

who can argue at that.

The Black Boy is a freehouse so is popular

with real-ale drinkers, locals, hotel residents

and judging by the queue, Sunday diners.

It turns into a busy pub for drinkers in

the evening as they do not serve food unless

it is a pre-booked party of 20 or more.

Since our visit, and I must admit our surprise

at how good the food and service was,

we have since been told by people that customers

are often seen queuing outside the

pub from 11.30am as the carvery is so popular

every day of the week.

As I have already explained, this is not a

fine dining experience but “cheap and very

cheerful” comes to mind.

It is a traditional pub with traditional

food with friendly local staff. The food is also

locally sourced so local farmers are supported

too.

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