Breakfast at the Toby Carvery

As an aside from the more weightier matters I generally blog about, I thought I would strike a lighter note and talk about one of my obsessions and pleasures in life, which I do feel a touch guilty and sometimes secretive about – food! One of the few things I remembered from a speech by my Best Man at my wedding was his observation: “John likes his food, and lots of it”. I can’t disagree with that and I am sure that my being overweight is evidence of this.


I do from time to time eat out with family and friends etc and I rather fancy myself as a restaurant critic (and have blogged about some past experiences), except no-one as yet has taken me up on the offer that I will do the critique in exchange for the cost of the meal. My favourite food offering happens to be a traditional Full English Breakfast and ideally one with all the trimmings. I have exacting standards but am usually ok even if what is offered falls short. I admit I have sampled such in a number of establishments over the years and have compiled (at least in my mind) a comprehensive dossier. Sometimes I eat with friends, combining catching up, good conversation and a hearty breakfast and sometimes I visit after having worked out in the gym or a vigorous walk.

Today (don’t tell Mrs B) I visited the Toby Carvery along the Southend sea-front. I should add Toby also does dinners and lunches, which is where the “carvery” comes in, but to review that is for another time. Today it was about breakfast, following a more than normal vigorous work out at my local gym. Sadly, however, I suspect eating here would have negated any progress made in the weight loss department. The nice thing about visiting the Toby is the set up is uncomplicated and for £4.49 (it was £3.99 not long ago) you can have an “eat as much as you like” Full English Breakfast.

The only set back, if saving money is the aim, is that you have to pay another £2 for refillable coffee or tea (which unless I am doing a more leisurely stay, e.g. meeting with a friend, I skip). But the breakfast was good (it always is). One quirk I have yet to figure out is why Yorkshire pudding is on offer, but all the stuff one expects in a Full English, other than cereals and some of the sort stuff often associated with the full works, was there (and for me, this and toast and marmalade suffices). There are minor gripes e.g. the lack of mustard and the set up is such that there is little by way of service, but then there is not much need – you fill your plate with what you want from the items on offer, eat your meal (returning for more if you want), find a table, eat and leave. The other is a lack of atmosphere and a chance for human interaction, such as I might find at two local cafés (Cluny café and Deb’s diner) I occasionally visit where often you can swap news and pleasantries with folk there. But for a good value breakfast, Toby cannot be beaten.


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