“ Wyevale Garden Centre, 342 London Road Stanway, Colchester. CO3 8LT. 01206 213411 „
10 of us went to The white Hart copford Toby on Friday 12th November. We can never fault the food. The yorkshire puddings are the largest I have ever scene. The let down is the bar staff and waiiting staff. Our waitress was more interested in standing chatting at the bar she didnt know much about the menu or the drinks list. My 23 year old grandson was refused alchohol as he didnt have any I D with him. Although His brother/uncle/mother and grandmother all stated he was 23 years old and I can assure you he looks it.
Most of us had the carvery but a couple of people had bagettes which took at least 45 minutes to be ready which meant we were all sitting there because we all wanted to eat together. I could understand this if it was peak time but this was 8.30 pm and the restaurant was almost empty.
When I rang to book the table I was dialing from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm before someone answered the phone. I feel the manager needs to have a good shake up and this would be then an excellent venue.
We walked in to the Toby carvery last year looking for a roast but quickly walked back out as the wait was a very long 50mins. While flicking through a tv mag yesterday i saw a voucher to have a meal and a sundae for £5. I though you cant go wrong for £5 can you??? So we made our way over. We arrived at 17:50 today and were told 15mins waiting and they took our name and told us to get a drink at the bar and we would be called when a table was ready. As we were standing near the toilet i thought i would nip in before dinner, unfortunately while i was gone a waitress came to show us to our table, my partner told her where i had gone so she said she would come back and in the mean time she showed someone else to our table (bearing in mind the 15 mins had been about 5 which normally would be good a good thing!) we were then left for what seemed like for ever while other people where shown to tables. Then later she came back and said she had forgotten us! We were sat on a very small table which practically touched the table next door. When we went to get our carvery the meat on offer looked lovely but the vegetables (peas, carrots,cabbage onion and roast and boiled potatoes) looked very dry and over done, and tasted it too! The meat was really nice though so there was some consolation. To be honest like they say you get what you pay for. It was certainly an experience...........one which we will certainly not be repeating or recommending!!
Upon discovering that my partner's work were planning a meal out at the above mentioned carvery I decided I couldn't wait and felt we needed to sample the delights in advance to know what to expect....(any excuse!!). So off we popped last night to sample to offerings the carvery has to give...
Although this is in Stanway technically speaking it is in Copford, next to the garden centre. It has it's own parking which is free of charge.
The carvery felt very similar to a Brewers Fair/Beefeater style. Family friendly, busy, old beams, pub atmosphere.
Although it is a chain it has it's own name 'White Hart' which gives it an individual feel which is quite nice. It is bustly and quite homely. The staff are very pleasant and friendly depsite being run off their feet.
It was clean and no dirty plates etc were left lying around.
~~Address~~(works on sat nav)
Entry at Wyevale Garden Centre
342 London Road
Telephone - 01206 213411
12pm -10pm Monday to Saturday
11am -10pm Sunday
We went on a Tuesday night not expecting it to be busy - boy were we wrong. The place was heaving. We had to wait 30mins for a table for 2 so I would advise larger parties to book in advance!
We were shown to our seat and advised to help ourselves at the Carvery when we wanted to.
You form a queue - almost like a school dinner queue - but it's not that long. The meat is carved as youwaitby your friendly chef.
We had the choice of: Beef, turkey or gammon. Every night they have a different 'speciality' or theme. On Tuesdays it is winter warmers so we could also have Toad in the hole and/or Beef hotpot. You can choose one or have a little of each. Of course in the spirit of sampling the delights for dooyoo tried a little of everything.
The beef was perfectly cooked - slightly pink in the middle. The joint was fairly fatty but I liked this.
The gammon - unsmoked - very moist and tasty
Turkey - again moist and flavoursome.
Hot pot - chunks of moist beef in a thick rich sauce. Served with dumplings which were stodgy and of perfect consistency.
Toad in the hole - batter was quite soft, sausages brown and crispy on top, a little soggy underneath.
You can then help yourselves to yorkshire puddings - I had two to taste and compare consistency of the product offered :) they were large, light, airy and crunchy. When drenched in gravy they were like heaven!!!!!!
Then help yourself to a variety of vegetables including but not limited to: carrots, brocolli, peas, cauliflower and parsnips. The usuals you would expect. They did not have butter added (which in my opinion is a good thing) and were cooked to a good level - not overcooked and mushy but not too hard either.
Next comes potatoes - a choice of mashed and roast. The roasties were a nice brown colour but were not crispy. The mash was really thick and creamy.
Finally - stuffing - this was crispy on top but a little soggy at the bottom of the bowl - luckily as it is self service you can pick and choose what you want.
You then move away from the hot counter to a side table laden with a variety of gravy and sauces. There were a few gravy choices: beef gravy, vegetarian and another (I cannot remember then name). Also there was horseradish, cranbery sauce etc. You can help yourself to a liberal serving of gravy!!!!!!!! I only had the beef gravy but t was thick, hot and in plentiful amounts, not too salty either. Excellent!!!!!
I'm salivating just writing this.......So you take your food piled sky high back to your table and dig in!!!
The only this is that the food isn't piping hot - but I guess you couldn't expect that when it is sitting on a hot plate style fandango. However he food is regulrly replenished - in the time we were in the queue two batches of yorkshires were brought out and the chef said they get through at least 10 turkeys a day!
~~What's this about speciality days?~~
As mentioned every day has a particular speciality where they serve extra dishes on top of your regular carvery options (remember this is in addition not instead of!!)
These are for the evening carverys:
Monday BBQ Chicken Night - BBQ Chicken and Barbeque meatballs with Mexican rice and baby baked potatoes.
Tuesday Winter Warmers Night - Beef Hotpot with Dumplings and Toad in the Hole with Baked Beans and Mashed Potatoes.
Wednesday & Thursday Curry Nights - chicken Makhani , Very hot Piri Piri Beef and Mushroom & Spinach Curry. With rice, mango chutney, yoghurt & mint dip, mini poppadoms and onion bhajis.
Friday Classic Beef Night - Roast Rib of Beef with a cracked black pepper and herb crust, steak and peppercorn sauce, tomatoes and mushrooms and Mushroom & Beef Stroganoff with rice as well.
Saturday Classic Lamb Night - Roast Leg of Lamb with rosemary and redcurrant sauce, Chicken & tarragon Cobbler minted baby potatoes and mustard mash.
Sunday carvery - includes roast pork with crackling
I haven't sampled all of these options but we went on a Tuesday and that was good and I have heard excellent things about the other nights.
~~What about our vegetarian companions?~~
You can choose two of the following options:
Mushroom and Spinach Lasagne
Brocolli and Brie Parcel
Spicy Vegetable Crumble.
You can then add potatoes and vegetables as above. There is vegetable gravy.
The bonus is although you have to specifically order the vegetarian meals they will let you know when they are ready and you collect them from the carvery so you can add your extras. This means everyone goes up to the carvery at the same time and you can all eat together - brilliant idea if you ask me!
~~How much can I eat?~~
You pile your plate as high as you can. You can go back for seconds but not for more meat apparently. We went back however and the chef obviously didn't remember us so we got seconds of meat too!
There are also non carvery options e.g. fish meal etc if carvery doesn't appeal to you...in a carvery....
With second helpings we sadly did not leave enough room for dessert but had we of there was plenty to choose from including: Treacle sponge, Sticky toffee pudding, Bramley apple crumble, Dairy icecream sundae, Belgian waffles, chocolate brownie icecream sensation, Baked vanilla cheesecake, chocolate fudgecake, honeycomb icecream and black forest sundae.
For those desserts with custard the do a bottomless custard jug so you can ask for more!
There are a range of starters which we didn't sample - we went straight to the carvery goodness. Options include garlic bread, tomato soup, garlic mushrooms and prawn cocktail.
There is a bar with your standard soft drinks and a variety of alcoholic options. The menu is good as on the common alcohol options it tells you how many units there are in a serving which is quite informative.
Daytime lunch carvery £5 - make it 2 courses for an extra £1 (seted by 6.30pm)
Evening carvery £7.50 & Vegetarian carvery £7 - form 7pm
Desserts vary from £2.50-£3.50
Sunday carvery £8.50
Children's carvery £4.20 (and a number of different options)
Drinks - well priced various options. pint of pepsi less than £2.
Maximum group size they can seat together is 12 people.
Male, female and disabled toilets. Well stocked with loo paper and clean.
This was a delcious meal, lots of options, tasty food, well prices, friendly staff, clean and tidy seating area, good priced drinks, lots of beverage options. All in all it is a great place to go and family friendly.
We have driven past this Carvery a few times in the past thinking it was just a garden centre. As you approach the large iron gates you drive into an entrance that has this Toby Carvery on your left then straight ahead there is
the Wyevale Garden Centre.The garden centre has within it a small bookshop called The Works.
When you go into the Toby Inn you will find that on your right is the pub which has recently been refurbished (16th March 2009) it has a country feel to it and holds about 30 people, there it a door which leads out to a smallish garden and patio area.
The restaurant has been refurbished as well and is very bright and cheerful,
They can sit a maximun of 12 on one table which is good , rather than having to push tables together, ( we have come here several times for that reason!).The restaurant can seat 146 people.
Again the carvery ( as in my other review) came top of the list with its delicous Meats and Vegetables. There was once a time when we did go and
they only had turkey on as they had no power all through the night,
but they did put on beef strogonoff and rice as well and the beef and gammon was back on the counter within 3 hours.
They are very generous with the meats and you can have whatever ones you want,( I usually have the beef and turkey!)which can cover alot of your
plate, the yorkshire pudding comes in handy though, as you can use it to hold some of your veggies!
They also have Special Evening Carvery nights which consist of ;
MONDAY BBQ Chicken Night
TUESDAY Oriental Night
WEDNESDAY Curry Night
THURSDAY Curry Night (again!)
FRIDAY Classic Beef, Mushroom and Beef Strogonoff
SATURDAY Classic Lamb,Morroccan Lamb
These are all £7.50
The normal carvery is as follows;
Mon-Sat 12pm-6pm £5.00
Mon-Sat 7pm-10pm £7.50
Sunday all day £8.50
The meats during Monday to Saturday are;
British and Irish Beef
Honey and Mustard Gammon
On a Sunday it is;
British and Irish Beef
Honey and Mustard Gammon
There are a large number of vegetables to choose from usually, at least nine
being, cauliflower cheese,carrots peas,courgettes,parsnips,lovely soft onions,a mixture of red peppers and tomatoes,baby new potato's plus their
lovely crispy roasts. You can help yourself to stuffing balls as well as getting
a large crispy yorkshire pud!
They do 2 nice vegetarian dishes which are;
Wild Mushroom and Spinach Lasagne
Smoked Bean Hash
If when you first sit at your table you put your order in for the veggie meal
they will come and tell you when it is ready, as it is put up with the carvery
ready for you to choose from the large selection of vegetables.( also you then all sit and eat together).
They serve Real Ales ;
Fullers London Pride
Greene King IPA
There is a large selection on desserts( if you can fit one in!) including
2 special puddings of the season.if you like your custard then this is the place for you as if you finish your jug, they will refill it for free! This is known
as the bottomless custard jug!
This Toby Inn is situated just outside of Colchester Town, just down the road is Colchester Zoo which I would highly recommend (read my review on it!),also Colchester has a lovely park which has boat lakes,beautiful flower beds, bandstand ( which on most sunday afternoons has some sort of music going on) and of course it has its own Castle which is a must for children!
Hopefully one day you will get the chance to explore Colchester and finish
with a wonderful lunch at the White Hart!
The White Hart, built in about 1998, is in Stanway, about three miles west of Colchester town centre on the B1408, (former A12), near the jctn of the A12 with the A1124 at Eight Ash Green. We are neighbours to the Wyevale garden centre and store, take the turning at the garden centre to find us.