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For nearly 50 years both Toby Carvery and JD Wetherspoon have established themselves as quintessential providers of bargain pub grub.

From fish and chips to pie and mash and classic Sunday roasts, there is nowhere quite like these chains that sells classic British meals for a fraction of their usual price.

But perhaps the most treasured British staple that these dining giants provide has to be their full English fry-up.

With Toby Carvery pricing their signature breakfast at £6.49 compared to £4.99 at Wetherspoon, private chef Phillipa Davis has taken it upon herself to review both and crown a winner. 

The Great Taste Award judge, who has worked for a myriad of luxury clients, sampled the two attempts on Channel 5‘s programme Wetherspoons vs Toby Carvery and it appears she has a clear winner.

Battle of the breakfasts! How does JD Wetherspoon’s fry-up compare to Toby Carvery?

Battle of the breakfasts: A side-by-side comparison of JD Wetherspoon and Toby Carvery’s fry-ups

Here is a look at the £4.99 Wetherspoon full English fry-up that Phillipa Davis said had 'everything you would want' (stock image)

Here is a look at the £4.99 Wetherspoon full English fry-up that Phillipa Davis said had ‘everything you would want’ (stock image)

Toby Carvery's fry-up featured surprise elements such as gravy and Yorkshire puddings which the private chef enjoyed (stock image)

Toby Carvery’s fry-up featured surprise elements such as gravy and Yorkshire puddings which the private chef enjoyed (stock image)

JD Wetherspoon may well have made its name in Britain by selling cheap pints, but over the years it has provided a cheap meal option for its customers.

Reviewing their £4.99 breakfast, which is cooked from frozen, Ms Davis said it certainly looked the part but it also tasted lovely.

Poll

What is your favourite High Street fry-up?

  • Wetherspoon 0 votes
  • Toby Carvery 1 votes

‘It looks generous and like it would be everything you want from a classic breakfast,’ she explained. ‘The thing I’m most surprised and delighted with was the cooking of the sausage. 

‘It had a lovely golden outside, and the texture was nice and soft. Good amount of seasoning… It’s exactly what you want in the morning.

‘Bacon, again, a surprising amount of flavour. A little bit of fat in there which I love… cooked really well, so a great job on the bacon. Classic beans, they’re sweet and tangy. They’re exactly what you expect and want.

‘As a plate of food it’s what you hope for, they did a pretty good job. There are areas where I felt they could just raise the standard… but I’d be perfectly happy sitting down and eating the whole thing.’

Moving on to Toby Carvery, who are the masters of dishing out massive roasts, Ms Davis said: ‘It looks super generous, super impressed with the sausage inside, loved the herbs. Plenty of flavour. Eggs were cooked really well.

The Wetherspoon fry-up contains a fried egg, hash brown, bacon, sausage, baked beans and a slice of toast. It is also cooked from frozen (stock image)

The Wetherspoon fry-up contains a fried egg, hash brown, bacon, sausage, baked beans and a slice of toast. It is also cooked from frozen (stock image)

The Great Taste Award judge has worked for a myriad of luxury clients

The Great Taste Award judge has worked for a myriad of luxury clients

Ms Davis said she was pleasantly surprised by the well-cooked sausage by Wetherspoon

Ms Davis said she was pleasantly surprised by the well-cooked sausage by Wetherspoon

The food critic said there was an 'exciting' combination of flavour from the Toby Carvery breakfast

The food critic said there was an ‘exciting’ combination of flavour from the Toby Carvery breakfast

Here is a look at the two breakfasts side by side, with Toby Carvery on the left and Wetherspoon on the right

Here is a look at the two breakfasts side by side, with Toby Carvery on the left and Wetherspoon on the right

‘A little bit of gloopy gravy but with the Yorkshire pudding I think I might start putting Yorkshire puddings on my English breakfasts now, it’s such a fun idea.

‘For me, this was actually quite an exciting plate of food. It was something different. There was lots of variety going on in there, but it all works really well together.’

Deciding the winner, she added: ‘For the Wetherspoons I really liked the fact that it was traditional, classic, had everything I wanted. Great sausage on there but a bit of a shambe about the hash browns. A little bit bland.

‘Toby Carvery, what a huge plate. I love the fact the sausage had lots of flavour and of course that Yorkshire pudding. What a showstopper.

‘For me, my favourite breakfast had to be the Toby Carvery. Huge selection of food, worked really well together. Plus that extra element of surprise.’

With greasy spoon fans recently speaking up for the breakfast after claims that the fry-up could be dying out because of health concerns among young people – Toby Carvery could well now see a spike in customers.

Diners responded to poll of those aged between 18 to 34 which found one in ten never have a cooked breakfast and 14 per cent only eat one once or twice a year.

And a further 20 per cent only eat a full English – which traditionally includes bacon, egg, sausage, beans, tomatoes, mushroom and toast – every couple of months.

Toby Carvery and Wetherspoons are both British cuisine staples which provide diners with quintessential comfort pub meals (stock image)

Toby Carvery and Wetherspoons are both British cuisine staples which provide diners with quintessential comfort pub meals (stock image)

Wetherspoon recently recently announced that their profits soared by £36m with sales up 5.8% (stock image)

Wetherspoon recently recently announced that their profits soared by £36m with sales up 5.8% (stock image)

Toby Carvery is renown for serving enormous plates of roast dinners

Toby Carvery is renown for serving enormous plates of roast dinners 

Wetherspoon recently announced that their profits soared by £36m with sales up 5.8% as the chain bucked the industry trend.

With the average price of a pint in the UK having soared to £4.80, it’s thought cash-strapped Brits are now turning to Spoons for a cheaper night out, instead of their local pubs – with Wetherspoon looking to up its venues from 814 to 1,000.

Meanwhile, Toby Carvery’s parent company Mitchells & Butlers saw profits tumble by around a quarter last year on the back of significant inflationary pressures.

Mitchells & Butlers operating profits slumped by £26million to £98million in the 53 weeks ending September, as high energy and food costs and a drop in property portfolio valuations hammered its bottom line. 

This also comes after Wetherspoon recently warned customers that lime served in their drinks may not be vegan due to their wax coating.

It advised pub-goers to order their favourite tipple without ‘fruit garnish’ if they wish due to current supply issues with vegan limes.

The carvery 'deck', where guests are invited to choose three meats, as well as all the trimmings

The carvery ‘deck’, where guests are invited to choose three meats, as well as all the trimmings

Here is a look at the classic ultimate burger from Wetherspoon from their dinner menu

Here is a look at the classic ultimate burger from Wetherspoon from their dinner menu

A chicken tikka curry served with rice, naan bread and poppadoms by Wetherspoon

A chicken tikka curry served with rice, naan bread and poppadoms by Wetherspoon

JD Wetherspoon is renown in Britain for serving extremely cheap pints

JD Wetherspoon is renown in Britain for serving extremely cheap pints

It said that while its limes were normally suitable for vegans, it could not guarantee that the fruit coating would be not derived from animal products.

Citrus fruits are sometimes coated with beeswax, which is not considered vegan-friendly due to the impact of harvesting on hives.

A sign posted without context in one of the group’s bars read: ‘Due to a short-term supply issue, we cannot currently guarantee that the lime used in drinks is vegan.

‘Please ask for your drink without any fruit garnish, if you wish.’

It added that the chain expected a normal supply of vegan limes would be resumed as soon as possible.

Wetherspoons vs Toby Carvery: Which is Better? (Channel 5) aired last Friday at 7pm.



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