“ Address: Festival Park / Etruria / Stoke-on-Trent / Staffordshire „
I love being taken out for meals, whatever food it is it doesn't matter to me, however I can be very critical about what I eat. I can appreciate good food, and a lot of the time quite a few place's don't live up the standards that I would like. The China Garden is a pub / restaurant specialising in carvery alone. Situated on Festical Park, Stoke on Trent, during the Summer it is an ideal place to go for a drink if you want to sit outside as it is right beside the canal and is popular with people on boating holidays or barge's passing by, they normally moor up here and pop in for something to eat. Its also a sun trap so you are guaranteed to get caught by the sun if you are sat outside in the beer garden. The China Garden itself, is a Toby Carvery so if you are familiar with Toby Restaurant's when you enter you will notice that it follows the theme of all the rest of the Toby Chain, quite oldy worldy, with lots and lots of pictures on the walls, normally cartoon pictures as a rule. In this particular restaurant it is well spaced out, plenty of room for manoeuvre, you don't seem to feel closed in like with some restaurants, its very open plan which is nice. The pub area has a range of different seating from normal tables and chairs and then their is a small section which is a little more comfortable with leather sofa's if you are planning to lounge about for the day. The restaurant is completely seperate from the general public area however if there is no space in the restaurant or you prefer not to eat in there, they will serve you snacks throughout the pub itself. THe restaurant is quite spacious and relatively comfortable. It is waiteress service to a certain extent, a waiteress is allocated your table and they will serve you with starters and drinks, however the main course is a carvery and you can help yourself and go up as many times as you desire. In Toby style, the carvery consists of Gammon, Turkey and Beef and you have the option to choose a meat or two if you are greedy, this is carved in front of you so you know its fresh and they don't skinp with the amount of meat that they give you. The only other thing that the chef serves you with is Yorkshire pudding and stuffing balls if required and then its down to you to help yourself to the wide range of vegetables that are available including mashed potato, roast potato, carrots, peas, cauliflower cheese, cabbage plus many others that they change on a daily basis so that there is something different everytime you go. THe food itself is very nice, however this does depend on what time you go for lunch, if you go early when they have just opened you seem to get the better lot of food as it stands under ab hot plate and if they are not busy, I have never noticed that it actually gets changed frequently and starts to go a little dry and it not as appetising. Its very reasonably priced at the carvery and normally is priced around the region of £8.95 for a Sunday lucnh and they do special deals throughout the week if you are eating early in the day. The service is very good, however Toby staff go through quite intense training when they are recruited as they do have very high standards and like to make sure that staff are consistent across all the restaurants in the UK. Being as its a carvery though, they don't have to that much really, but it can get rather busy and staff are allocated around 8-10 tables which could get demanding is people are finishig food at the same time. IN general the China Garden is a really nice place to go if you are not too busy and you want a carvery that is really good value. Worth visiting even if you just have a drink by the canal.