I was recently contacted by social media consultancy firm OneFifty who asked me if I would like to try a new menu option which has been introduced to Toby Carvery. How could anyone refuse that offer!?
I love roast dinners. I’d probably say that they are my favourite meals when cooked well. Everyone knows Toby Carvery is the Home of the Roast. It even says it above their door. With this in mind, I was very excited to try their new Family Platter option. The Family Platter is currently only available in 3 Toby Carvery restaurants… Festival Park in Stoke-on-Trent, East Hunsbury in Northampton, and Quinton in Birmingham. As I live in Birmingham, I agreed to try it at the Quinton restaurant. I went there yesterday with my partner Del and son Luke.
All I knew before we went was that we would be trying the Family Platter. I had no idea what that entailed, but guessed by the name that it would be a sharing platter of some sort. We all decided to not have lunch so that we would be hungry for our meal at Toby Carvery. By the time we got there I was ravenous!
After a brief chat with the manager Hannah on our arrival, we were shown to our table. A lovely helpful member of staff (waitress/waiter/server/whatever the politically correct term is – I don’t want to offend anyone) whose name I sadly didn’t get came and explained how the platter works. In a nutshell, all the food for your family gets served on one gigantic (and I mean gigantic!) platter, which you then take back to your table. Each family member has a plate and serving utensils, and you help yourselves to whatever you want to eat while sitting at your table. Each member also has their own cup of gravy, and you can ask for more if you need extra. You pay the same price for the platter as you would pay for each of your carveries if you had them individually. Our platter would consist of 2 adult carveries (£6.99 each) and one child’s (£4.59), so £18.57 altogether.
Only one family member needs to go up to the carvery serving counter, or you can all go if you want to see what you fancy. You tell the server how many adults and children there are at your table and then choose the meats you all want. We chose to try the beef, turkey, and gammon, but we could have had pork, pork belly, and half a roast chicken as well. Luke also asked for a couple of sausages after he spotted a tray of them among the meats. One of my favourite parts of a roast dinner is the good old Yorkshire pudding. Well, Toby Carvery ones are huge!
The server gave us all one of those too, and then handed us our platter to help ourselves to as much of the vegetables as we wanted. We had a bit of everything… roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, peas, green beans, carrots, cauliflower cheese, spinach, and leeks. By now our platter was piled high so we went back to our table, where we helped ourselves to the things we wanted to eat.
This is the thing I most love about the platter option. I have to admit to having a bit of an issue with self-service meals in restaurants, and so as much as I love carveries, we rarely have them due to this silly issue I have. I’m told I’m not alone with this though. I think it stems from my childhood where at a family meal I was called greedy, but whatever started it, I feel extremely self-conscious putting food on my plate. I feel that people will think I’m greedy if I have x amount of this and x amount of that. At home I eat normal sized meals. In restaurants where your meal is brought to your table, I’ll eat everything on my plate. But at self-service restaurants, the amount I feel comfortable putting on my plate wouldn’t even be enough for a toddler. This platter option changes everything. I didn’t put any food on the platter, the meat carver and Del did all that. At the comfort and privacy of our table, I felt happy putting as much food as I wanted on my plate, and I made the most of that!!! In fact I ate too much. Oh well 😉
The other thing that is good about the platter option is you can all eat together at the same time. Usually with a carvery, someone stays behind at the table keeping their eye on everyone’s belongings and drinks while they are getting their food. The person who waited goes up when the first other person gets back to the table. At this point there might be a queue and so they end up waiting for a while to get their meal. By the time they get back to the table, the ones who were served first will have almost finished their meals. This platter eliminates all that. Only one person needs to go up to get the food and then everyone gets to eat together. Much more sociable! It also means the queues won’t be as long. One person standing in line for a family is much better than 5 people all waiting to be served individually. I really do think it is a brilliant idea!
The food was delicious. Fluffy Yorkshire puddings, crispy golden roast potatoes, and vegetables that were cooked until al dente, just as they should be. The gammon and turkey were beautiful. They just melted in your mouth. The gravy was perfectly meaty. We only had two small criticisms. The beef had a lot of chewy sinew so we ended up leaving the majority of that, which was a shame, but luckily we had plenty of the other meats. And we wished there had been some roast parsnips. We love those on roast dinners! But these 2 minor things didn’t spoil our enjoyment of the meal.
Another member of staff, Jodie, came and cleared our plates and brought us the dessert menus. She was a credit to the restaurant. Very friendly and helpful, and knowledgeable about the menus. As wonderful as all the desserts looked and sounded, we were all too full to eat one. Luckily they have a new Cakeaway Service. You can take away slices of their giant cakes to eat at home. These all looked amazing so we decided to try those. We used the Cakeaway service and ordered a slice of Giant Cherry Bakewell cake, Giant Junk Yard cake (which was the most scrumptious chocolate cake ever), and Giant Unicorn cake. There’s just one word for these cakes…. heavenly!
We still have some in the fridge as the slices really are giant! Jodie brought the cakes to us in individual boxes, and she even gave us a box which had whipped cream inside, which was a lovely touch.
All in all, it was a wonderful meal, and Hannah and her team were perfect hosts. I hope they see this so I can say a big thank you to them for making us feel so welcome.
I’m hoping that Toby Carvery introduce the family platter to all of their restaurants in the near future. It works so well and makes the whole experience more enjoyable and sociable. Huge thumbs up from us!
DISCLAIMER: We received vouchers to cover the cost of our meals in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinions. I believe in total honesty in all my posts.