Eats: Henry the VIII’s Carvery

Sometimes it’s the quirky, little things that draw your attention and
make you walk through the door of a restaurant.

An unusually large menu in the front window of Henry the VIII’s Carvery at 15 Monument Square, Portland, beckons passers-by, and a suit of armor welcomes all who walk through the door. That’s quirky enough for me.

Three boys, elated that school is out for the summer, and I looked over the menu, and three of us ultimately decided on the special of the day, the Roastburger — recently renamed the Michael Jackson ($7.95; roast beef, cheddar cheese, bacon, pickles, ketchup and mustard); the other chose the Falconer ($6.75; turkey, lettuce and tomato with mayonnaise). It was a nice day, so we opted to eat outdoors at one of the pub-style tables. 

The theme is slow-roasted, hand-carved meat and poultry — not pressed and processed deli slices — making the items on the menu look even more appetizing. The names alone suggest greatness; take the Dragonslayer (chilled roast beef with lots of horseradish), Tower of London (roast beef, loaded with coleslaw and Russian dressing) and the Jane Seymour (smoked ham with Boursin cheese, tomato, cheddar cheese and cucumbers) — though I haven’t figured out how Jane Seymour has anything to do with the rest, other than maybe the fact that she’s English.

Shaded by trees, we sat watching the activity of the Farmer’s Market and people walking by. Our sandwiches were brought out to us by a fun and personable guy, who sported multiple tattoos and was wearing entertaining shoes. The boys, oblivious to his expressive style, thanked him and promptly unwrapped their sandwiches to dig in.

I wasn’t sure how I’d like pickles on a roast beef sandwich, especially since it was toasted, but it was quite a delicious combination. All of the sandwiches are served on an herbed-buttered baguette, though there are wrap and salad options as well. My youngest son enjoyed his Falconer, and the other two boys were thrilled there was bacon on their Roastburgers.

The experience was a pleasant one worth repeating, though I will say that if you are not familiar with Portland, it can be tricky to find Monument Square. If you’re heading up Congress Street from Franklin Arterial, you take the left immediately following One City Center (opposite the library) and Henry the VIII’s is in the building behind the statue in the square.  There is a parking garage just beyond the building; rates are $1.25 an hour.

When: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 11
a.m. to 3 p.m.
Why: Quick, great-tasting hot and cold sandwiches and
Atmosphere: Sandwich shop with the option of
seasonal outdoor seating.
Prices: Middle of the road for a sandwich
shop, but given the turkey, roast beef and ham are not processed lunch meat
slices, it’s worth a dollar or two more.

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