Restaurant review: Christmas dinner at Toby Carvery, South Croydon

By - Monday 22nd December, 2014

A great pudding rescues a middling roast for Anne Giles

415 Brighton Road, South Croydon CR2 6EJ
Time from East Croydon  15 minutes by 466 or 312

Photo author’s own.

My husband Steve and I decided that, as we would not be having turkey this Christmas, it might be nice to try a carvery and Toby’s was doing a Christmas special three course meal for £13.49, which I thought was very reasonable. We were told that we would have to book for the special carvery, but when I rang they were taking no more bookings and we would have to wait in the bar until a table became free. I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, when we were given a table straight away.

We brought an Argentinian friend with us, who was celebrating her birthday and who loves English food. I did inform the staff that I would be writing a review and taking photographs, but was told that no photography was allowed unless one contacted their head office first and filled in a form requesting permission. We did take some photographs of our food though and, after sending an email to the head office a couple of days later, I was given permission to insert the photographs into my review.

The restaurant was quite full and the friendly waitress appeared to be rushed off her feet. However, we did not wait too long for her to bring the menus and take our order for starters. The three of us ordered the honey roast parsnip soup, which was delicious but only lukewarm. I think it had been poured into the soup bowls and then left until the busy waitress had time to bring them to our table. She never cleared them away, though, and we ended up putting them on a ledge next to our table. They were still there when we left the restaurant.

Terry’s Chocolate Orange sundae.
Photo author’s own.

At no point were we told where the actual carvery area was, but we did find it and I was quite amazed at the wonderful spread. Turkey, gammon, beef, pork and loads of different vegetables, which were all good, although the parsnips were almost burned to a frazzle. They gave everyone a huge but not very crisp Yorkshire pudding, whether they had beef or not. I saw no sign of any gravy, though, which seemed rather unusual for a carvery. The menu, however, states that one helps oneself to gravy. We washed all this down with a very nice glass of Chilean merlot.

The desserts were very good. Our friend chose the Toby’s festive crumble, Steve had the classic Christmas pudding and, instead of the traditional rich brandy sauce, decided to have it with custard. I had the Terry’s Chocolate Orange sundae and I must say it was absolutely wonderful!

At the end of the meal we asked for espressos but were told that their machine was out of order, so we had to do without.

I don’t know if we would go back.

Anne Giles

Anne Giles

I grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the daughter of an Anglo-Argentine mother and English father. I went to an English school and worked for a British company out there before coming to live in the U.K. I spent many years teaching Spanish in adult education in various centres in Croydon Borough and have got to know so many different areas – North and South. We have been living in Selsdon since 1989 and I love it. I feel passionately about Croydon and have spent many years writing blogs – firstly for the Croydon Advertiser, then the Croydon Guardian, and eventually my own blog entitled “The Good Life in Croydon”. I am very much involved in the community, attending regular meetings with the Croydon Community Police Consultative Group and am also a member of the British Transport Police PACT (Police & Community Together) Team.

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  • Anne Giles

    I had referred to my friend as Argentine, because that is the correct definition, as the word “Argentinian” was invented by the English during the Falklands invasion. My original title was, of course, “Christmas Luncheon at the Toby Carvery” because it was a lunch, not a dinner. We had it at lunchtime. Having worked in banqueting in the hotel business for five years, my employers would never have allowed me to call a three course luncheon “dinner”, as that is an evening meal. I appreciate that there are many who use that word to describe a main meal though.