I can envisage the snide Twitter comments about this post already. There are two things our visit to Toby Carvery at the MetroCentre proves; 1) I love Mr. Canny very much and I want to make sure he’s accommodated when we eat out, and 2) I’m no food snob. People can judge me all they like, but it says more about their own attitude to food and restaurants than it does about me and the quality of my blog.
So then, why did I decide to write a post about this establishment? With Mr. Canny’s recent change to veganism we have genuinely struggled to find a restaurant that had a menu to suit all of us. While I think it’s fantastic Newcastle has so many vegetarian and vegan eateries, I’ve felt it’s a shame that the choices for other diners who haven’t made that choice are limited. Jnr has been very vocal about feeling like he’s forced into vegetarianism because of where we’ve eaten of late, which is not what I want either. On the same day The Town Wall was recommended to me for a vegan Sunday lunch, someone mentioned Toby Carvery also has a good vegetarian and vegan menu. The last place you’d expect vegans to eat is a carvery, but I thought it was worth a try. I mean, how bad could it be?
The prices are reasonable, with the vegan options priced at £8.49 on a Sunday. They also have a ‘Meat-free Carvery’ option for £5.29 which is everything from the usual carvery options – without the meat. Jnr chose this as he tends to have a whinge about dry meat when we dine out for Sunday lunch. Mr. Canny wanted to try their Spiced Carrot & Chickpea Wellington, which is cooked and brought to the the table separately. It looked a little on the dry side, but the plate was pepped up once he added his veggies.
Mr. Canny did take umbrage at the fact he had to go up to the carvery deck to collect a plate for some of his ecoutrements, and I find it surprising that someone who used to hunt has become so squeamish in such a short space of time. This was short lived when he discovered he could help himself to many of the items available, including a delicious looking vegetable gravy. Other vegetables that were normally cooked with butter were brought to him after being prepared to order. When posting a photo of this food on Facebook, my own sister mistook it for the beef variety. I hope Toby decanted the right one!
I opted for their ‘famous’ Four Roast Carvery, and chose Pork and Beef. The Gammon and Turkey which were also on offer that day looked on the dry side, so I avoided. This is where I have to be completely honest and say it was a bit meh. The crackling was nice, but after a while the overwhelming taste for me was almost sulphuric. I love a good Sunday lunch too, and unfortunately I didn’t think Toby’s was up to much for the price. One could argue that a plate piled high with food for just under a tenner is great value, but I had a better meal at Rosa 12 recently for the same price and the standard was far superior. I’m definitely a quality over quantity girl!
Where Toby really excelled themselves for me was the delicious Treacle Sponge Pudding I had for dessert. It was just the right texture – not too heavy, with just enough delicious Golden Syrup to ensure every mouthful took me back to school dinner days. Jnr had a Banoffee Mess, which was served with a Stroopwafel, and gave it a thumbs up. Mr. Canny was impressed that some of the puds were also vegan (like a yum sounding Cherry & Chocolate Torte), but he had no space for a sweet after his mega plate of food. We both agreed it was heartening to see that a chain made such a concerted effort to provided many options for vegetarians and vegans on their menu.
For 3 main courses, two desserts and our assorted drinks (Mr. Canny had an ale with his food) the total was £39. With Toby dotted around the country it is handy to know we will always be able to find somewhere we can all eat, even if we’re not familiar with the area. It would be fantastic if other chains would also follow suit to accommodate this ethical dietary choice that many are now making. I’d still prefer The Feathers Inn, though 🙂
Thanks for reading,
Like reading Canny Food? Check out our Facebook page.