Category Archives: restaurant

Toby Carvery – Boxing Day meal

Boxing day for us as a family was at Toby Carvery, we were given a menu in advance to choose and preorder our selections. I was really pleased to see some vegan options on the menu which makes things a lot easier for me, I chose the vegan soup of the day which was a little risky as I’m quite choosey when it comes to soup. I fancied the Carvery but did make a point of stating that I’d need the veg to be dairy free as having been here quite recently I was aware that they normally use butter to cook the veg in. I had to go for the only vegan dessert option which was Christmas pudding with custard, not a favourite of mine but at least there was something available and I thought I’d give it a try.

When we arrived we were shown to our table straight away and ordered drinks whilst waiting for the rest of the party to arrive. I was disappointed to be told one of the meals on the starters list was not available – although this didn’t effect me as it wasn’t what I had ordered I did expect them to have secured our choices. As it turns out, none of us had chosen that but our selected meals were not secured or saved even though we had pre ordered which I thought was strange. The vegan soup was butternut squash and although I wasn’t too sure I’d like it I have to admit it really was delicious and definitely something I would choose again!

I stuck to the carvery choice for my main meal and had a huge plate full of veg cooked for me without butter, I do not have any complaints here – there was a good selection and plenty of it. I would say the service let the meal down a little as it was slow and not even particularly busy at the time we were booked in. When it came to dessert, my choice of the vegan Christmas pudding with custard wasn’t available, but another vegan option was provided which was chocolatey and bloody lovely so no complaints from me although some may have been upset by missing out on the Christmas pudding.

On the whole I enjoyed the meal, just a few things let them down today which was the service both at the table and up at the carvery as I know some had to wait for some things to be re-filled. I believe if you are asked to pre order your meal the restaurant should ensure these are available for you (although i was happy with my alternative dessert, others may not have been). I was quite preoccupied by enjoying some family time and completely let the side down on the photo front, however the soup was a pleasant surprise so I am happy to be able to provide you with a photo of this.

It’s a 6.5/10




I did promise I would broaden my horizon’s on my next eat out so here we go!  Having not heard of this place before it was nice to go somewhere completely new.  As you can imagine, me being me, I checked out the website a few days before and although it is part of a hotel and not to be confused with Milsom’s La Talbooth, you are unable to book a table.  This was not a problem and even if there is a short wait to be seated there is a bar which is always a good start to any meal.

Being unsure of the menu and with my dietary issues I contacted the restaurant before my visit to find out what was dairy free.  Unfortunately there isn’t as great deal of choice for dairy free or vegan eaters although there is a nice range for any gluten free’s out there.  Luckily for me, the 1 starter and main meal that were dairy free are right up my street and absolutely hit the spot for me.

I dressed smart / casual but I have to say it is the kind of place you could really dress up for or similarly dress down for.  There were varied groups of people in there ranging from families with young children (why would you do it to yourself!) to older couples enjoying a lovely evening meal.

To start I opted for the Warm shredded duck tacos, hoi sin sauce & crispy vermicelli (do not ask me what this is as I have no idea!), it was delicious.  I really enjoyed it – great size, not too big but enough to leave me wanting more and with my next choice of the 9oz fillet steak which is served with skinny fries I was certainly in for a treat.  I would actually put this down as one of the nicest steaks I have had, it’s right up there with the best actually – cooked to medium and I always enjoy any type of fries!  Although I wasn’t full to the brim I was satisfied and this is a more comfortable way to travel home, the only dessert that was dairy free was the Coconut & lime aranchini with rum & chilli salsa and I didn’t particularly like the sound of this although not opposed to trying it in the future.

Unfortunately I have really let the team down here by not getting a photo, my only excuse is that I was hungry when I arrived and the food looked so good I couldn’t waste time taking pics before tucking in!! The only thing that I felt let this place down is it’s lack of choice for those with dairy allergies or intolerances and I do hope this is improved in the future, with a lot of restaurants now catering for vegans and other dietary requirements I hope it won’t be long before Milsom’s ups it’s game.  However, this is the only downside as the meal was lovely and therefore it comes in at a strong 9/10.


Perrywoods…. Again….This time for Breaky no. 3

I know, I should be getting a discount at this rate!  But, it’s a local place to eat with plenty of parking and has always been so enjoyable I can’t help but keep coming back.  Each visit has warranted it’s own blog but I do apologise if you are getting bored of hearing about it, I promise to broaden my horizons for the next eat outs.

So this time it was for breakfast, I arrived at 10am on a Sunday and had expected to see a huge queue and for it to be extremely busy but was pleasantly surprised to see that was not the case.  I had already decided I would be going for the dairy free poached eggs on toast having already viewed the online menu, I was also very tempted with the dairy free chocolate brownie which I spotted on my way to the table….

Ordering was simple and quick and with many seats available I chose to sit in the conservatory which is a nice spot to look out through the windows whilst enjoying breakfast.  It didn’t take long for the food to arrive at my table, the eggs were cooked perfectly and I was provided with dairy free spread.  As you can see from the picture I was eager to tuck in but did at the last minute remember to take a quick snap.

The menu was great, eggs cooked exactly how I like them and dairy free spread was provided – I am not sure what else could have been done to make this any better for blunch – especially with a lovely peruse round the shop to finish.  It’s going to have to be a 10/10 and a break from visiting this place from me, not only is it putting pressure on my bank balance but I think I need to try out some new places!!


Another visit to Perrywoods….

A decision to make, where to go for lunch… Those that know me have grown to love (tolerate) the need for me to look online and choose what I am going to eat before turning up anywhere to eat.  This has only got worse since becoming dairy free, in fact I would argue its more of a necessity so that I know there is something I like available for me.

So, I was looking at local websites and it here it was – Perrywoods with not only a vegan menu but a dairy free menu including dairy and gluten free options, this is great progress for those of us with dietary requirements and I would recommend taking a look at their website.  Decision made, this is where I would be going for lunch and I actually arrived with a couple of ideas in mind.  The queue was huge, yes it was half term but thankfully not too many children about and in fairness it was just after midday so a very popular time to be having lunch.  The system was organised, after queuing up to order food a table was found by one of the waitresses to enable us to get seated which I think is a great way of working a queue although inevitable there were still customers who felt the need to find a seat before ordering.

It is worth pointing out that on top of the great menus which can be found on the website, there are also specials which I believe change daily and can be found on the boards when you go into the restaurant.  I had chosen and although there was a few dishes which were tempting me to change my mind I stuck to my guns and had the sweet potato falafel salad with a sweet chilli drizzle.

Despite being extremely busy in there, with all the staff working their socks off it wasn’t a long wait for the food to arrive – and it looked delicious.  Lovely selection of salad and a generous portion of potato falafel rosti’s, as you can see from the pic it was more than sufficient for lunch (even for me).  Part of me was considering ordering  a dairy free scone, even if it was to take home for later purely because I have not found anywhere else in the area to provide this – but I was good and thought I would hold off for another visit.  Yep, I would definitely be returning.  This deserves a high mark of 9.5/10, great selection for those with dietary requirements with the ability to see what is available online and the efficiency of the staff at such a busy time was out of this world.  I am looking forward to returning very soon to try out more on the menu, that scone is still calling me that’s for sure!


On a side note, for anyone who loves Christmas (eugh the C word) the decorations are out and its well worth a visit here to take a look around – you will do well to leave without buying something so do be warned!


The website for Zizzi’s is amazing, you can filter by dietary requirement – I chose vegan and there is an extensive menu available, even more so had I just selected dairy free.  Once seated I was just handed the normal menu, me being me already knew what I wanted however I could have asked to see the Vegan menu had it been necessary.  The restaurant was set out nicely, the tables weren’t too close together and although when we arrived at just about 12pm it did get busy as lunch time hit and we did end up having to wait a while for our desserts once these had been ordered.

The menu had many options available for me, including a great selection of vegan pizza’s and pasta dishes such as lentil ragu which I was very tempted with.  Although I rarely have a starter I noted there was quite a few there that would have suited me nicely including spicy nuts and vegan garlic bread – maybe next time.  I was very excited to see a few dishes on the dessert side of things, something that a lot of places lack when it comes to dairy free.

Knowing what I wanted meant I could  ask for the vegan / non dairy spaghetti pomodoro dish without having to see the vegan menu, and I was able to swap my spaghetti for wholewheat pasta.  This is basically a pasta dish in a tomato based sauce which may come across as being quite plain and simple but I love pasta and I haven’t had it in a while and therefore I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Yes, it would have tasted nicer with mozzarella but I have to accept I can’t have this, it was also presented nicely.

When it came to dessert time I knew I was going to have to take a look at the Vegan menu and when I spotted both a vegan dessert calzone and the sticky chocolate & praline torte I was completely torn!  The vegan dessert calzone is described as ‘Warm sugared dough filled with banana, blueberries & strawberry & raspberry coulis.  Served with crushed honeycomb & coconut & chocolate ripple gelato’.  The sticky chocolate & praline torte is ‘A dairy-free chocolate torte with a date, hazelnut & walnut base.  Served with coconut and chocolate ripple gelato’ – now someone tell me how do I choose between these?!

Luckily enough for me, I didn’t have to because two of use ordered one each and we shared – this was the best solution for it and I was so pleased we did.  I went in for the dessert calzone first and it was very tasty, quite heavy but to be expected – the fruit was sweet and the gelato had a lovely texture and taste.  Half way in it was time to swap to the chocolate torte, O M G it was mouth watering!  Rich – yes, could I have eaten the whole thing – perhaps not, but delicious is the only word I can use to describe it.  Sharing half of each was a great move.

I am keen to come back here again at some point and try out some other options on the menu, for those of you who are not dairy free there is also lots available, from meat dishes, to pasta and pizza’s I think there is something to suit everyone.  It is also worth keeping an eye on vouchers for Zizzi’s as I am sure they offer discounts on midweek meals.

For the menu alone this place will score highly but the meals themselves are also worth a good mark, I thoroughly enjoyed my pasta with the desserts completing this meal off very, very nicely.  I am going to have to go in for a 9.5/10 -only losing half a point as I did start to wonder if they had forgotten about our desserts (not a good move!)


Bill’s Vegetarian Breakfast

My breakfast at Bill’s was very easy to choose in advance, their menu online is brilliant because you can select your dietary requirements and have all options filtered for your specific needs. This starts at vegetarian and vegan and even goes down to milk free which for me is amazing.  It gave me the chance to look through those meals just suitable for me and seeing as I was hungry I went for the Bill’s Vegetarian Breakfast, however there were a few things on there I would have been happy to try and I do plan on going back to try some others out.

The restaurant itself was quite different to where I have had breakfasts so far, I am not sure why this is other than it is not a tearoom and many of the other places have been. I am not saying it is a negative, the décor was nice and it was relatively busy which tells me it is a popular place.  I originally ordered an orange juice to have with my poached free-range eggs, roasted plum tomatoes, mushrooms, tomato hummus, smashed avocado, sweet chilli sauce, basil and toast – however, this was full of bits a too sharp for me.  I did then spot there was a fruit tea on the menu so I added this to my order.

I must admit this is one of my favourite breakfasts so far, knowing what was safe for me is always a brilliant start and it felt like I was having a proper cooked breakfast along with everyone else. No need to venture off the menu which I really liked and with a few breakfast options for me to choose from this was a great start.  The breakfast was a great size and I really enjoyed it and very different to the normal breaky I would have either at home or when eating out.  The only negative for me was the atmosphere and the restaurant layout itself which is just a personal preference down to enjoying the tearoom / café experience that bit more for a breakfast, although I think an evening or lunch time meal here would be great.

It has to be a 9/10.



Breaky no. 2 – The Oakhouse


Oakhouse was our next stop, I’d heard the breakfasts here were good and I had wanted to get on the website to take a look at the menu before arriving but unfortunately the breakfast menu isn’t on there. I haven’t eaten in here for such a long time but I was looking forward to testing out the breakfasts.  We didn’t book but when we arrived at 9:30 there was plenty of seats available so this wasn’t an issue, we got a nice spot in a booth although the seats are a little on the uncomfortable side.  Two of us got the chance to order our drinks and take a look at the menu before the others arrived and as soon as I had spotted poached eggs on the menu I knew this is what I would be asking for.

It was no hassle asking for poached egg on toast without the butter which wasn’t actually on the menu but I explained I was dairy free and there were no questions asked which is always good. Once again, I just had water, however there was a peppermint tea, normal tea and a milkshake also ordered and I think everyone seemed happy with these drinks.  My water however had a funny taste, it was almost like I could taste the red bull from a Jager bomb I imagine had been in there the previous evening – not great but I didn’t comment to the waitress so I guess it can’t have been that bad.  The others at my table had ordered the eggs royale and eggs benedict and although the service was quite slow this is probably because everything is cooked fresh which I wouldn’t complain about.  My food was nice, I love the way the poached eggs looked as they came out and it was all presented well.  My only criticism would have to be down to how the egg was cooked and I know this is all down to a personal preference.  I had hoped for some runny egg – there was no running yolk, now I know I am really quite picky when it comes to how my eggs are cooked as there is a fine line between getting the yolk runny and having slime on my egg.  However, I would have liked to have seen some runny yolk spread across my toast, as you can imagine without butter this actually makes it quite dry.  I am sorry but for me it would have to be a 6.5 / 10 due to the funny tasting water and the non-runny egg.