I have previously written about national chain Toby Carvery, probably the last place you’d expect a vegan to venture into. During my last visit I was a meat eater and had taken along a vegan to see what was on offer. I was surprised to see meat-free dishes were readily available and clearly marked on their menu. While it may not be the greatest place to eat, there’s no disputing its value for money. With three main course vegan dishes on offer, it is also leading the pack when it comes to other high street chains for choice too. You can read about our previous experience here.
I’m not a big believer in quantity over quality and would much prefer a smaller plate of food if it means a higher standard of fare. That said, £6.99 for a main course and help-yourself vegetables is perfect for a Sunday afternoon when you want a roast dinner but can’t find anywhere locally that will offer more than a risotto.
I fancied trying out the Portobello Mushroom Tart, while my friend opted for the Pepper & Pomegranate version. We hadn’t realised the Allotment Pie was still available until after we’d placed our order and both said it sounded like an intriguing combination. Maybe next time..
One of the frustrations many vegans voice is the fact you have to ask for steamed veggies rather than hitting the carvery selection. This is because many have been cooked in butter, had milk added to them, etc. Before I was vegan I used to lace my mash with cream, so I completely understand why restaurants do this. Switching to non-dairy versions would be more inclusive, however, and mean that there’s no need to prepare separate portions for those with allergies and intolerance. To be fair, with the standard of those on the market now I doubt non-vegans would notice the difference even.
We had to wait 15 minutes for a food to arrive, which is where a vegan carvery experience differs from a standard one. The plates came already piled with vegetables. It would have been nice to choose which ones were served, much like we would have done if we’d been able to go up to the counter, but hey ho. Out of the two tarts I think my Mushroom was the more impressive of the two. The pastry on both was crumbly and made it difficult to remove from the dish it had been cooked it. I personally prefer to have my food all on one plate and my tart fell to pieces as I did this, hence no photo afterwards. We could help ourselves to the vegetarian gravy on the carvery, and the roast potatoes were cooked in vegetable as opposed to animal fats so were a-ok.
We didn’t bother with dessert as the Rice Pudding option seems to be popular at many chain restaurants at the moment (see our review here of Harvester’s version for further proof). It hardly screams ‘Summer’ either, but we were full anyway. The total bill was just shy of £20 including drinks, which I don’t think anyone can dispute is cracking value for money.
Some vegetarians and vegans may not like the idea of having to view lumps of meat while dining, so it’s worth trying to seat away from the carvery area if this will offend you. It may not be to everyone’s taste eating somewhere like Toby, but if you have meat-chomping relatives you may not be given a choice. To see chains like this offer a decent selection of vegan dishes is great and we hope the ‘trend’ continues.
Thanks for reading,