Monday, 19 January 2015

Two coeliacs and a lactose intolerant walk into ... Nandos

Avocado and sweet bean salad with chicken
Nandos is such a simple option when you are coeliac/gluten-intolerant.
I've been here many times and never had a problem being ill afterwards, which is great!

I was with two friends around Vauxhall recently, not known for the best place to cater for gluten-free eaters, and decided to pop into the new Nandos by the station.

The restaurant is very nice, it looks newly refurbished, and it's located just under the railway arches. They have kept the shape on the ceiling, which gives it a very spacious feel.

You always know what you get at Nandos, and although I forgot to take a picture of my chicken with chips and salad, I managed to get one from the avocado and green bean salad that one of my friends was having.
We just asked at the till to double check that our order was gluten-free and they mentioned it to the manager.

I've always had excellent service at Nandos, and it was the same on this occasion, very attentive staff and uncomplicated food. Not bad at all.

Various branches around London and the UK

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Busaba Eathai

Pad Thai
Busaba Eathai was one of my favourite restaurants before my gluten-free days, in particular the duck with tamarind sauce was a must-have on all my visits.
As there is no allergy information on their website, I've been avoiding it for a few years, but recently I called one of their restaurants and they reassured me they had gluten-free options.
So there I was on a quiet lunchtime at their restaurant on Kingston Riverside.

This location is lovely, as the windows from the restaurant open onto the river and the riverside walk, and you forget that you are in the middle of a busy shopping area.

The staff were very friendly and when I mentioned my gluten-free requirements, I got a quick run through the menu of what I could have.
Having forgotten half of it 5 minutes later, I asked again and another waiter came along with a folder containing their allergy information.

Chinese broccoli
I was happy to hear that their Pad Thai noodles were gluten-free and surprised but happy to hear that the spring rolls were too, which we planned to share as a starter. Unfortunately my excitement was short lived.

When our food came along and I asked again about it all being gluten-free, and was told the spring rolls were actually NOT gluten-free.

It was a bit of a disappointment, but they offered me another starter for free, and I got some Chinese broccoli.

I have to say the food was very very nice, and I'm likely to go again, as both dishes were fantastic.
It seems to me that the error was in the folder containing the allergy information, as our waiter checked it twice and was convinced it was gluten-free.

So a suggestion for Busaba Eathai would be to double check the information on their folders and to have it available online.
Many of us with food intolerances and allergies love to eat out, but also need to plan in advance where to go so that we can eat safely too.
Having allergy information available online would make our life so much easier, as we could clear out any concerns before we go to the restaurant and it would make the whole experience of eating out with family and friends a much happier one.

January offer: Busaba Eathai have launched a new app (you have to set up your card details), and you get 50% of your bill if you use it during January. The app gives you a 4 digit code that you give to your server and voila! you get 50% of your bill. It can be used as many times as you want.

Busaba Eathai
Address: 4 Riverside Walk, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1QN
Many other locations across London

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Olive garden - Italian restaurant in Southfields with many gluten free options

As a gluten-free food lover, I enjoy finding new places to try, specially if they are easy for me to get to, and I cannot remember how, but as I was doing some research on Google, I came across Olive Garden, an Italian restaurant in Southfields with plenty of gluten-free options and just a short walk from the station.

Well, I had to check their online menu, and I found out that very much all their pasta and pizza dishes can be ordered gluten-free.

I really wanted to try their pizzas, as the base looks quite thin, just how I like it, and the ingredients on their Caprino pizza were calling me (Mozzarella, spicy sausage, smoked chicken, goats cheese & sundried tomato).
I don't know why, but lately I am obsessed with Goats cheese, hopefully this phase will not last too long, as I'm trying to stay away from dairy too.

So I asked as many questions I could think of about how they prepare their pizzas, about any risk of cross contamination, and they happily explained it all to me.

It seems that they get the gluten-free pizza bases externally and they are cooked separately in the kitchen to avoid cross contamination.
I didn't feel unwell at all after eating here, so, one to come back to.

The restaurant was very welcoming, the staff friendly and attentive and the pizza was very nice too. I was happy with their understanding of gluten and cross contamination, and I'd be happy to recommend it.

Olive Garden
Tube: Southfields
Address: 42 Replingham Road, Southfields, London SW18 5LR
Tel: 020 8877 0411 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Château Dessert Chiswick

Happy New Year everyone!

It has been a while since my last post, as life sometimes gets in the way, but fear not, I've been out and about enjoying many gluten free meals, so it will all be revealed soon!

Bottom left: Choc and orange, top: mango, right fresh fruit tart
For my last gluten free outing of 2014, I visited Chateau Dessert in Chiswick.

I had been quietly stalking them on twitter for a while, looking at all those cake marvels and dreaming of starting at one end of the counter to finish at the other (all in the name of research of course!).

You will be glad to hear I managed to control myself and only ordered one cake, although my friends were kind enough to let me try theirs.

Chateau Desserts looks from the outside like an upmarket patisserie, with lots of gorgeous little morsels to tempt you, and when you go in, you discover two counters, one for all the gluten-free cakes, one for the others.

Within the gluten-free cakes, at least 3 were dairy free too when I visited, which is brilliant, as so many coeliacs also have trouble with dairy.
I have to say one of my companions was dairy-free but not gluten-free, so it might be an idea to have some cakes for others like her.

There are also some lunch options available, and for us gluten-free eaters you can have one of their savoury tarts. They are served with a side salad, and I loved my goats cheese and onion tart.

Once you have ordered, you can make your way to the upstairs room and they'll bring it to you (there is also a basement that I did not visit). We had some coffee and tea as well and it was a fantastic afternoon.

gluten-free goats cheese tart & salad
So, what did I ordered? As I've mentioned earlier, I had the goats cheese tart for lunch which was great and then the chocolate and orange cake, which I really loved.

The texture was quite creamy, very close to a mousse once you get through the chocolate coating.

I also tried the mango pudding and the tart with fresh fruit that my friends were having, and, although they were both nice, I would still stick with my first choice.

The price for the gluten-free cakes was £3.75 to take away or £4.75 to eat in.

Overall, I would be happy to recommend Chateau Dessert, there are plenty of delicious gluten-free choices and their seating area upstairs is very welcoming, airy and nicely decorated.

Chateau Dessert
Tube: Turnham Green
213 Chiswick High Road, London W4 2DW
Tel: 020 8742 2344