Toby Carvery, the most unlikely place to cater for Vegans has offered a Vegan menu for some time now. For Veganuary this year it got a little revamp and more options were added to suit demand. Having never been before, trying the Toby Carvery Vegan menu was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. I ventured to the Toby Carvery in Chelmsford Essex and share my thoughts with you here.
As a carvery is not a place I would choose to set foot in, I know for many vegans it is a struggle to find options when out with family. To keep the peace and take part in said family traditions, chains like Toby Carvery who offer a vegan menu can make lives a little easier. Thankfully for us too, we do not have to queue up and pass the 4 types of meat carcasses on display to get to our veg – it is brought out separately with your main. This was a real pleasant surprise, and one I hope they continue to do for the future.
Toby Carvery Vegan Menu: Grilled Aubergine Stack
The vegan menu offered three choices, a Grilled Aubergine Stack, Portobello Mushroom Bullseye Tart as well as a Root Vegetable Roast. The labels are clearly labelled with a (Ve) and stated ‘*Vegan? Please ask for freshly steamed vegetables without glaze’. Having read a few reviews before hand about the no mention of butter glaze on vegetables, I was happy to see it was clearly mentioned on the menu. The wonderful waitress also pointed this out and double checked consistently throughout the meal. I ordered the Grilled Aubergine Stack which was made up of aubergine and Mediterranean vegetables in a herby tomato & vegan white sauce and topped with breadcrumbs. It was bursting with warm Italian flavours, piping hot and the crispy breadcrumbs gave it the dish a crunchy texture. It was a filling addition to the steamed vegetables that came alongside.
Toby Carvery Vegan Menu: Portobello Mushroom Tart
As I wanted to try both, Chris happily ordered the Portobello Mushroom Bullseye Tart which I sampled half of. As I am usually not a huge fan of pastry, I was pleasantly surprised at the warm and buttery flavour it possessed. The mushrooms had a delicious bite, not soggy but rather meaty with a hint of garlic. The pastry base was herby too and almost sweet from the buttery texture – very moorish. Chris, not being vegan, had this alongside the regular trimmings of roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and cauliflower cheese. I was envious of the roast potatoes and was unsure as to why these were not offered to be cooked separately in oil and offered as a vegan side too. Nonetheless, the vegan mains and heaps of steamed vegetables did keep me feeling full.
Toby Carvery Vegan Menu: Chocolate & Cherry Torte
As soon as I think I have no room for dessert, I always find a way to make some. Seeing the vegan option of a Chocolate & Cherry Torte, I couldn’t resist trying. Although Vegan, be sure to specify no ice cream or whipped cream as neither are vegan friendly. The rich chocolate sauce gives the torte the moisture it needs and fills the vegan ice cream void I had once imagine. The torte itself was scrumptious – rich, indulgent and light contrasting with the tartness of the cherry pieces and Bramley apples. A piping hot dessert was the perfect end to a great meal and one I would recommend others, vegan or not, to try.
Toby Carvery Vegan Menu: Final Thoughts
The Toby Carvery vegan menu was such a pleasant surprise and one I am glad I got to try. The vegan mains were packed full of flavour, the dessert was delicious and all reasonably priced. I was thankful that my main was brought out separately along with the vegetables steamed too to avoid any cross contamination from the carvery counter. The next step would be to offer vegan friendly roast potatoes as an addition for the steamed vegetables along with a dairy-free ice cream to accompany the dessert. As most vegans may not choose to visit a carvery for ethical reasons, ones I wholeheartedly agree with and accept, it is great to know that a family friendly chain caters to all diets and can keep the peace at those awkward family meals! As veganism becomes more accepted, it is fundamental that big chains get on board and support our lifestyle choices.
Have you tried the Vegan options at Toby Carvery yet?