What we saw at Toby Carvery when we went for a Sunday roast in Brockworth after those post-lockdown changes

When Toby Carvery explained how it was going to reopen as lockdown measures were eased, not everyone was happy. Changes to the way food was served – the chef putting the veg on your plate at the serving deck rather than you helping yourself – seemed to ruin the appetite of some people. For the Toby Carvery restaurants in Brockworth and Over, customers were keen to return to the Home of the Roast as there was a scramble to make reservations last week.

And I was part of that rush, eager to secure a slot before they all vanished. As someone who deploys a visit to the Brockworth carvery for family visits and a roast potato fix, this was the ideal time to load the wife and children into the car and head down the A46. I even went on an early morning run and skipped breakfast in preparation for this family outing.

We had booked at noon and this was obviously the first slot of the day as the doors were locked when we arrived at about 11.55am. The car park was not packed at all, as it usually is, and we even wondered if I had mixed up the booking. But other customers started to turn up and the doors opened a few minutes after noon.

After forming a small, and socially distant, queue we used the hand sanitiser at the door and were warmly greeted and shown to our table.

Lots of space

The restaurant looked a lot more spacious than normal as it was clear some tables had been removed with lots of space around. We were escorted through the restaurant to our table and saw that some of the tables had signs on them saying they were not available. The polite staff explained there was a one-way system in place – you leave through the ‘back door’ – and said the food would be put on to our plate at the serving deck.

The restaurant was not that busy and there wasn’t really a queue for the carvery – a big change. There was one family in front being served and we were politely asked to step back at one point as we inched forward to see what was on offer.

Zoe waiting to be served

We ordered two child carverys (?4.99 each), a meat carvery for me (?10.79) and a vegetarian option for my wife (?9.04). There were two servers at the deck, one carved the meat and the other served the vegetables.

It obviously made the process slower, but then there was no queue, and you didn’t have the pressure of someone to your right eager to load their plate up. As someone who is partial to vast quantities of roast potatoes, I was initially disappointed in my allocation – but I asked for more and they were piled on. My wife and I then pointed out what our children wanted and we watched their plates be piled high, before the mountains of veg were loaded on to our plates.

Now, this is the one big difference.

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When you help yourself using those big, black hot spoons, you know exactly how much you would like of different veg to provide the perfect balance on your plate – maybe just a smattering of carrots, a delicate portion of peas, a mountain of red cabbage. You don’t want to be too prescriptive to the busy staff by saying you want this amount of carrots, that amount of spinach, just the odd floret of cauliflower, but a truck load of roast potatoes.

The carvery at Toby Carvery

So, the vegetable balance may have been at bit off to my taste (too much spinach), but that’s not a complaint (basically, vegetables take up space which could be occupied by a roast potato). Our four-year-old daughter Zoe just wanted macaroni cheese so she was delighted with that, although we made her have some cauliflower cheese and mashed potato.

When asked for her review, she said: “Good. I liked the macaroni.” Our six-year-old Mia had gammon, mashed potato, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, peas and cauliflower cheese.

Zoe and Mia about to tuck in

When asked for her review, she said: “Good, I want to go again.

I liked the Yorkshire pudding. The mashed potato was a bit watery.” I had the full roast, with turkey and gammon, and industrial amounts of vegetables.

I never go king size, and this is why – I was stuffed. My wife had the vegetarian ‘carvery’, which is of course no meat and just the veg. She said: “It’s a great place to go with children because everyone can find something they like.

“The changes make it much better as it’s a bit more ‘civilised’.

Toby Carvery in Shurdington Road, Brockworth

Drinks were served to our table, as they always used to be, but if you opt for the refill Pepsi that will be brought to you. Staff were smiley, polite, and friendly to our children (and us). As we left, we all agreed it was an easy, relaxed experience that was less hectic than it used to be.

And all for ?37.81, including two Pepsi Max drinks (?3.05 each) and a Fruit Shoot (?1.90).

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People were spread out throughout the restaurant and customers and staff appeared well aware of the need to keep distance. Lots of sanitiser was around, lots of room, lots of food, and lots to sleep off on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

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Have you been out for your first post-lockdown meal?

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