Saturday, 30 May 2015


Lately I am relaxing a bit about eating out, and I don't always do lots of research about restaurants in advance.

I guess there is a lot more awareness about Coeliacs out there, and also restaurants have to comply with the new EC regulation on disclosing allergens.

Personally I am more confident too about asking all sorts of questions, and specially in London, I know I'm always within reach of a tried and tested restaurant, and that has given me a lot of peace of mind.

It was on one of this 'whatever' days that I found myself eating at Barrafina.

This is a modern tapas bar, with two sites in London, one in Soho (with a Micheling star) and one in Covent Garden, which is the one I visited.
This is not a typical restaurant, and it's obvious since you go in that food is king here.

The layout of the restaurant is a long L-shaped bar with fixed stools on one side and the open kitchen and waiters area in the other.
It is great to see what is being cooked in front of you, and definitely gave me many ideas for what to order in future visits.

The staff were very knowledgeable about gluten. The menu is printed on individual paper place mats and as soon as we mentioned our gluten intolerance they clearly crossed off the dishes we could not eat and could not be adapted. That still left plenty of options for us to enjoy.

We settled for a collection of omelettes, as we could not decide which one was more appetizing, some rice, and pintxos morunos (marinated pork on a skewer). I was gazing longingly at the razor clams too, as they looked amazing, although I had just enough space for a pudding.
Clearly a second visit is needed.

To finish, I had the Flan (creme caramel) and my friends a mango sorbet and creme fraiche ice-cream. Although they were all good, the creme fraiche ice-cream was absolutely amazing.

It was a very interactive experience, I don't know if it was because of our food intolerances that we had to keep asking many questions, but the staff were very knowledgeable, checking that we were happy at all times, and it was fantastic to see all those lovely dishes being cooked in front of your eyes.

I guess this venue is better enjoyed in a small group, as the stools cannot be moved. They are also a bit high and I almost had to climb onto mine.

Overall I would be happy to recommend Barrafina as a gluten free dining destination.
I didn't feel unwell at all after eating here, the staff are very knowledgeable about their fantastic food and because it is cooked there and then in front of you there is a chance to change things a bit to suit your intolerances/tastes.

Covent Garden: 10 Adelaide Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 4HZ
Soho: 54 Frith Street, London, W1D 4SL

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Pastificio Mansi - Fresh gluten free pasta

I was approached recently by Emanuela from Pastificio Mansi to ask if I would be interested in trying her new gluten free fresh pasta.

She is an artisan pasta maker who currently trades at a few London markets and has been experimenting with gluten free pasta for a while.
I clearly couldn't say no to trying it, as I love Italian GF pasta, and fresh pasta even more!

I met the lovely Emanuela in central London and a parcel changed hands. She was telling me about the quality in-season ingredients she uses for the fillings, and I could see it is a labour of love, and that she wouldn't be happy with a product she wasn't proud of.

She gave me two samples, one with a filling of Kake (+ pine nuts, Ricotta and Parmesan), and another with sundried tomatoes (+ oregano, toasted almonds, Ricotta and Parmesan).

I loved both of them. It is clearly an artisan quality product, and I'm glad I was offered the chance to try it.
What did I like most about this pasta?
The filling in this pasta is very generous, and the combination of ingredients quite tasty, you can actually recognise the ingredients in it. This tells me Emanuela is serious about making great quality pasta, and she is not cutting corners in the filling.

The pasta doesn't crumble like other gluten free pastas, and it kept it's shape very well while cooking and eating it, even my gluten-eating sister loved it and couldn't taste the gluten free in it.
I didn't feel unwell at all after eating it, so definitely gluten free, fantastic!
The pasta is sold in 100gr portions at £2.5 for fresh tagliatelle and £3 for the filled fresh pasta

She is currently trading at:
Crystal Palace food market on Saturdays (10am to 3pm)
Fulham market every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month
Brook Green Market every 1st, 3rd, 5th Saturday of the month
Islington Farmers Market - Chapel Market in Angel every 1st, 3rd, 5th Sunday of the month
Check out other venues on twitter and facebook

Pastificio Mansi
Facebook: pastificiomansi
Twitter: @pasticiomansi