The great British roast dinner, something that all residents of this peculiar little island hold close to their hearts, and even the picky eaters among us are catered to with the wide variety of elements which compile this classics dish. It became apparent that this strange connection that the British have to the good old roast intensifies at university, and the home cooked roast dinner is glorified beyond belief. Bearing in mind that I had just finished a long term of procrastination chat (with a surprising amount being dedicated to roast dinner dreaming) and not enjoying a Sunday lunch since Christmas, when a friend suggested we meet up at Toby Carvery for dinner I couldn’t say no.
Situated just off Middlemoor roundabout, parallel to the dual carriage way, you definitely wouldn’t be visiting Toby Carvery for the location or the views. The pub, come hotel has a large car park and out door seating, although scenes of the rush hour traffic don’t make for a peaceful ambiance. Arriving at around 7 o’clock on a Tuesday evening we were not expecting the restaurant to be busy, however we were greeted by a long queue once through the doors. I wouldn’t of minded waiting if there was a server there to advise on how long the wait was going to be but the whole service was very unorganised. After a 10 minutes of waiting with no contact from the staff we were seated in a very poky corner of the very crowded pub, by a grumpy looking waitress who I don’t think even grumbled a word to us.
Luckily a polite waitress was assigned to our table and took our drinks order quite swiftly before advising us that we could collect our carvery when it suited us.
Although we planned to wait for our cokes before getting our food, we spotted a lul in the queue and decided to go for it whilst it was quiet (this was a good idea as a couple minutes later we had atleast 10 people waiting behind us.) At the carvery we were greeted by another rude member of staff, the chef who ignored us waiting there for atleast 5 minutes whilst he played around with the food aimlessly, without even acknowledging us. Eventually when he decided to serve us I chose the turkey from the selection of meats ( which also included gammon, pork and beef.) The remainder of the meal was self service and I was pleasantly surprised by the wide range of fresh (looking) vegetables and accompanying sauces and gravy. What’s more we were provided with very large plates, meaning you didn’t have to pile up your food to enjoy everything you fancied.
Arriving back at out table we were glad we didn’t wait for our drinks as 10 minutes on they still had not arrived, so we tucked into our rather large plates of food. In all the roast dinner was nice, and I use this painfully bland adjective as a metaphor. The turkey was extremely dry and was quite hard to chew without swamping it with gravy, luckily the cranberry sauce was really good, so smothering a bit of this on the meat was a solution. The cauliflower cheese was also very disappointing, with not even a hint of cheesey-ness, the bland white slop on my plate tasted as if the cauliflower had simply been boiled in milk. However the roast potatoes were really crisp and tasty, and the gravy was rich and meaty, which really saved the meal.
You can’t argue with the excellent value of Toby Carvery with a huge roast dinner costing only £5.99, although expect the basics, there are no thrills or luxuries here. If you want a simple roast dinner with all the trimmings this is a good pit stop for a quick meal, however if you’ve been dreaming of your perfect roast for a few weeks, Toby’s will leave you feeling disappointed.