Why a proper hearty roast is not just for Christmas (and Sundays) - it’s a way of life at this place

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Toby Carvery’s midweek offering get the once over by editor Liam Kennedy - and he was pleasantly surprised by what was served up.

When it comes to food, I’m generally easily pleased. While I can do the flashy, fine-dining experience with the best of them, nowt really beats a good roast.

You have to go a long way to better what I conjure on a Sunday - my goose fat roasties and labour-of-love gravy are up there with the best in the North East - aye, I do see myself as a bit of a Backworth Blumenthal. However, I’m not perfect. It does take me all day, stress levels and blood pressure are only cooled by some Peroni-inspired lubricant (sometimes maybe the Aldi copycat version), and the dish mountain that comes as an unwelcome but unavoidable side order is a bloody nightmare.

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So, with that in mind, sometimes it’s best to hit the road - and when it comes to offerings, Newcastle and North Tyneside is flooded with culinary class. Booking something, particularly at late notice, can prove a challenge in itself, though, so while it may not appeal to some, the fast food feast option can be the lesser of all evils.

For some time now, Toby Carvery, have been providing that for people up and down the land. Quite often its fare gets a bad rep, but I’d urge anyone who loves lashing of gravy and cauliflower cheese for days to give it a whirl. And not just on Sundays, the chain is offering its usual weekend plates with added midweek value. A roast is for life, not just for Christmas.

Pile it high in midweek, as well as on Sundays, at Toby Carvery.Pile it high in midweek, as well as on Sundays, at Toby Carvery.
Pile it high in midweek, as well as on Sundays, at Toby Carvery. | National World

Toby offered NewcastleWorld the chance to try out their special midweek deal. Two courses, £9.99. What’s not to like?

Loaded with two young members of the Kennedy clan, who would quite happily eat roast dinners as their primary source of nourishment for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we headed to our local ‘Toby’, the one at Northumberland Park, or Shiremoor in old money.

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Toby Carvery at Northumberland Park.Toby Carvery at Northumberland Park.
Toby Carvery at Northumberland Park. | -

The place was PACKED. A surprise, given it’s a touch out the way, and 5pm on a Wednesday afternoon. The venue was clean, service slick and welcoming and the food definitely struck a cord with my two little ‘uns.

Flanked by witches’ cauldron-like vessels of bubbling brown meat juices and seemingly endless vegetable accompaniments of all shapes, sizes and hues, the queue edged towards the main event - the meat!

Sides, sides and more sides. Almost as good as the main event.Sides, sides and more sides. Almost as good as the main event.
Sides, sides and more sides. Almost as good as the main event. | -

Indecisive? No problem. My two were and they got to choose a coupling of turkey, gammon and beef. My adult-sized plate, I refrained from the XL, was loaded with the latter pair. All you can eat on the veggies and drinks means literally no one is leaving this place still hungry. Just how I like it.

Choices aplenty, even for the indecisive - we went for two each!Choices aplenty, even for the indecisive - we went for two each!
Choices aplenty, even for the indecisive - we went for two each! | -

When it comes to hot plate servings, the biggest fear is tired, dry sides and chewy meat, but this was anything but. The meats, all freshly carved in front of your eyes, were succulent and garnished with everyone’s favourite Sunday flourish, a massive yorkie pud.

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The sides were everything I could have asked for, including some randonly sweet and savoury stewed leeks and crisp roasties, but I would argue they were slightly lacking when it came to childish offerings. Although, the equally as random mac ‘n’ cheese got loaded on both younger plates with aplomb.

Serving yourself with gravy allows you to say ‘when’. And I’ll be honest, ‘when’ takes a long time to come when I’m serving myself. My carrots could really have done with some little floaty armbands, my Yorkshire acting like a bucket ready for the veggies’ second dousing.

Three hits. Clean plates and full tums. Now for the second course. I must clarify here, if you get the chance to do two courses, you’re weird if it’s a starter you opt for.

And here’s another one of my takes - fruit isn’t a pudding. It spoils the very notion of what it means to finish with a sweet. Choccy all the way. Two hot fudge cakes and a warm brownie with soft whip ice cream helped act as a layer of filler for the meagre gaps left in our midriff. Three more hits - and all for less than £40.

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And if you thought the mains were good - just check out the puds!And if you thought the mains were good - just check out the puds!
And if you thought the mains were good - just check out the puds! | -

Let’s be honest, this was no Michelin star affair, but if you rock up at a carvery, you’re not in that mindset anyway. However, with mouths to feed, time tight and convenience still a necessity, very few spots tick the boxes that a Toby does. And you can have a drink if you want. I was playing the role of ‘responsible parent’ this eve, although I can’t make any promises for the future.

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