The Tonsley

tonsley-hotel-homepage.jpgToday on the Dining Diaries, wait staff will be turned into zombies,  diners will be squeezed around tables that barely have room for their mains let alone any sides and excitement will be kept to that absolute minimum.

There were four of us dining tonight. We had never been to The Tonsley but it’s local for all of us and we felt like a pub style meal so we decided to give it a go.

We walked into a large room with decent sized tables, but none of them were being used. I don’t think it was a function room as the main entrance was into that room and we had to go through it to get to the Bistro part.
The only reason this is significant is because I had made a booking for four, and when we were shown to our table I realised it was going to be a very cosy fit! I’m not sure why they wouldn’t have had us at a bigger table.
The Bistro did fill a little more while we were there but certainly not enough to have even moved a couple of tables together so that we could have dined in comfort. As it was, we didn’t order anything but one main each as there wouldn’t have been room on the table.

The atmosphere was nice enough with dim lighting and tables with people nearby. We were given some menus and chuffed along to our little table.
I had already looked at the menu online and was really excited to try the eggplant parmigiana.

Once we ordered,  bread was brought to our table by a waiter devoid of emotion.
Thankfully the butter was already at room temperature. Don’t you hate it when they bring you bread and butter and the butter is rock hard and not spreadable?

I watched other meals being brought out. They looked like regular pub fare and perhaps a little boring but they seemed to be large serves and that always makes me happy.
The wait staff looked disinterested as they brought the food out, with expressions that shouted “don’t engage me in conversation”
Having said that, there were lots of people in there eating so they must be doing something right.

Eggplant Parmigiana

When my Eggplant Parmigiana came out I was pretty excited! It looked delicious. When I saw those two mounds, I thought they were thinly sliced eggplant inside, and the crumbing was around that, however what I found was the inside was one huge chunk of eggplant.

Eggplant Parmigiana -inside

I didn’t mind because I love eggplant, but cutting it so thick like that means that it’s not well seasoned so that was really lacking for me.

It’s really such a shame as it could have been a delicious dish.

The Napolitana sauce and cheese on top was nice, but because there was such a huge amount of unseasoned eggplant underneath, it didn’t seem like there was enough. I could barely taste it unless I ate it on it’s own.

Twice Cooked Pork Belly



Two of us ordered the Twice Cooked Pork Belly. Oven roasted sticky pork belly fingers served on whipped sweet potato.

While they both enjoyed their meals, it seemed like they’d been served a fine dining meal in a pub.

A few bites and it was gone.

The pork however, was cooked well and they had no complaints about what they ate, it just wasn’t special.

Waygu Beef Burger




The last meal we ordered was the Waygu Beef Burger.

They make it well known that it was voted best burger at some point.

I was told the burger was ok but nothing special.
It certainly looked ok, but not having tasted it I can’t comment.

The fries were nice and crispy too. It was a satisfying meal but nothing you’d rush back for.




All in all, our experience was ok. I don’t think we’ll ever go to the Tonsley again however there wasn’t anything particularly wrong with out food. It seemed like everyone had taken a chill pill when we entered – staff and diners alike.

We ended up picking up some snacks on the way home and had some lively games of backgammon while chit chatting about nothing in particular. Now THAT was fun!


Have you been to the Tonsley? What was your experience like?

Let me know in the comments below…

Till next we chow…


3 thoughts on “The Tonsley

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