The Harbour Surf and Turf

27 Feb

Well it’s been a while (again!) so apologies for the lack of posts recently.  We’re still regularly updating the Facebook page so do give us a like over there for more frequent updates.  Recently I noticed that The Glassblowing House was no longer open, which was a bit of a sh15936394_1369479253085275_8369384388341975884_oame as they were pretty good for gluten free in there.  However my spirits were soon lifted as I noticed a sign on the door proclaiming the imminent arrival of The Harbour Surf and Turf restaurant, and the promise that everything could be prepared gluten free!

When I got home I had a search for their website, and was extremely impressed to find that there was a very prominent gluten free section and that they seemed very aware of cross contamination issues.  Below is a quote from the website:

Our whole menu is available not only for gluten allergies but also fully suitable for coeliacs. The newly refurbished kitchen alongside the procedures which we introduced allow absolutely no contamination to ensure your safety. Please notify your server that you would like your food being prepared in gluten free environment and we will do the rest for you!

16990655_10158262431715293_985870119_oI was due a catch up with Emma, so a trip to The Harbour seemed like the ideal place to go.  We booked in and headed there on a Saturday night, which was only their second day open.  I’d mentioned both Emma and I were coeliac when I booked online, and again mentioned this as we were seated.  Restaurant manager, Greg, immediately put us at ease by saying he remembered and pointed out that there was already gluten free vinegar on the table waiting for us.  This was only a small touch, but I am sure other coeliacs will appreciate how something like this can really give you reassurance and make you feel like you’re being looked after and taken seriously.

Essentially The Harbour is an upmarket chippy, which has clearly been taken to the next level.  Meals are available to eat in or takeaway, and I can definitely see me getting the reasonably priced takeaway options in the summer.  Emma and I are not really fish eaters, and after a couple of drinks we immediately drooled over a burger and the deal was sealed when Greg confirmed they had gluten free buns.  There are also a good range of steaks available.


Despite the restaurant being newly opened and busy, our burgers came out in good time and we were not disappointed!  The burger patty itself was quite thin, but Emma and I both loved them.  They had great flavour, were well garnished and the bun was decent too.  The chips were really nice and are also bottomless, not that either of us could have managed any more.  A definite thumbs up from both of us.

16990334_10158262432605293_1792175775_oDespite being full, we had to at least ask if there were any gluten free dessert options.  All in the name of research of course!  Being coeliac can make you a little sceptical, and a with a dessert menu containing two cakes, a cheesecake and a sorbet our bets were well and truly on sorbet being the only option.  However, much to our surprise and delight we were told that ALL of the desserts are gluten free because “that’s how we roll”.  Greg recommended the cheesecake and we weren’t about to say no!  Despite being stuffed we split a cheesecake.  The following is pretty much the conversation that followed:

Kev: “Oh my god! Mmmmmmmmm”

Emma: “Oh my god! Mmmmmmmm”

Kev: “Mmmmmmm”

Emma: “Mmmmmmm”

Kev: “Mmmmmm”

Emma: “Mmmmmmm”

Kev: ” I think the whole restaurant has just seen my sex face…”


It’s fair to say, the New York Cheesecake was absolutely fantastic!  So smooth and silky, I’d go back again just for some more of it no question at all.  Despite both being stuffed we absolutely demolished it in no time.  It really did send us home happy with big smiles on our faces to have such a great end to the meal.  A great recommendation from Greg who told us his partner was gluten intolerant when we chatted to him.

We stayed for a final glass of wine before heading on our way and drinking way too much of just about anything for the remainder of the evening.  I’m pleased to report no ill effects, well at least from the food!  Excellent food, great service, reasonable prices and we were made to feel extremely welcome.  We are both definitely looking forward to going back again.




Greg, Emma and Kev

Kevin, Gluten Free by the Sea


A New Start for Me – with Gluten Free by the Sea

28 Sep

Hello everyone! Firstly, I would like to thank Kevin for inviting me to join him at Gluten Free by the Sea. It is an amazing opportunity for me to work alongside someone with such a great following, and who is also a great inspiration for many Coeliacs, particularly in the South West.

Here in the South West, you must forgive me for my bluntness, but – we are rather slow at catching on to many things. However, I feel that the seriousness of Coeliac Disease has been one thing that not only the South West lack knowledge about, but it is in fact a National issue that is now gradually being brought into the Lime Light. (Finally!)

Kevin and I are aiming to collaborate our passions about helping others, and also a big one for the both of us – food! We will aim to update you on a regular basis about anything that we feel will be beneficial to you as a Coeliac, and also encourage you to reach a positive understanding of the Disease itself.

But before I go any further, and bore you with the importance of education around Coeliac Disease and any other dietary needs – please let me introduce myself.

My name is Emma Oxland, I am 28 years of age. I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease 8 years ago whilst studying for my degree at University.

I have been part of the Coeliac community in Plymouth for a couple of years now, and I was very fortunate to be introduced to Kevin, along with many other fellow Coeliacs, when I opened The Galley Gluten Free Restaurant back in October 2014. I will be forever grateful for meeting so many supportive, lovely and inspiring people.

Exciting first day at The Galley

Exciting first day at The Galley

I must admit, before opening The Galley, I had no idea of the amount of local people, let alone any other visitors, that were following a Gluten Free diet. (In fact, I didn’t know any one apart from me!) Many of which had been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease. However, I was also surprised to meet a great number of customers who had actually self diagnosed themselves.

On the one hand, this made me very angry and upset, that because of the lack of knowledge about this Disease, these poor people had to work everything out by themselves. There was clearly a lack of support from our NHS, and a huge lack of empathy shown towards them by any doctors; they knew they were suffering, but no one officially acknowledged this.

On the other hand, I was relieved and grateful that these people now had somewhere to go out and enjoy food and a chat about their struggles, without being patronised or scrutinised about their need for a particular dietary requirement.

The Galley's Famous gluten free Profiterole

The Galley’s Famous gluten free Profiterole

It was of great satisfaction to me to be able to provide our customers with freshly cooked, gluten free food that could be enjoyed by anyone. The main thing for me was that families and friends could go out for a meal and not worry that they would be contaminated or be ill. I am very passionate about EVERYONE being able to enjoy their dining out experience, and feel comfortable with the service, and most of all the food. I will always be so proud of what The Galley achieved, and how it genuinely helped so many people!

Unfortunately, due to health reasons, which I will explain at a later date, I had to leave The Galley in January this year. After my departure The Galley struggled and eventually had to close a few months ago. I am sad to say this has happened, but also have faith that it will happen again, and also with the support of the Coeliac community, will be a great success!

Right, so there you have it – that is how I came to be so passionate about making a difference, because I realised it was possible.

This is why I am so grateful to Kevin; as I am sure that through my general waffling on, and Kevin’s friendly, educational writing, that some people may be inspired by our passion to help others.

I know we are both also hoping that you will find some consolation in the knowledge that we are all in a very similar situation – you are not alone – and we are here to encourage and support you in your situation, and hopefully make eating out, and understanding your condition a lot easier.

Kevin and I celebrating our collaboration

Kevin and I celebrating our collaboration

Both myself and Kevin (as you know) are very friendly, approachable people. So if any of you have any questions or would like to get in touch, please feel free to contact us and we will be more than happy to help.

Emma, Gluten Free by the Sea

Well hello again my friends!

27 Sep

It’s been a while hasn’t it?!  I’m a little ashamed to say it’s been a year since my last blog post.  After such a big life change with the redundancy from my previous job, and settling into my “new” job, I must admit my focus has been elsewhere this past year.  I’ve tried to keep posting on Facebook and Twitter with snippets as I get them, but it’s been far too long since I’ve sat down to write a proper blog post.

I must admit I’ve been feeling a little bit guilty about that, going quiet at the same time the Coeliac UK Plymouth Group was forced to close down has not sat too easily with me.  However, the job has settled down now and I’ve been thinking it’s time to get my act together.  I have been pondering for some time about maybe asking for some help with the site.  The blog has a good following on social media, which still makes me both proud and surprised, and I feel I’ve been wasting that as there really isn’t much information around for Plymouth.

I’m delighted to announce that after recent negotiations over a massive gluten free burger and some (yes possibly too many) drinks that the lovely Emma Oxland has agreed to come on board and help me with Gluten Free by the Sea.  I’m really excited by this, and I hope between the two of us we can come up with plenty of content to get the site flourishing again.  Many of you will know Emma from her time running The Galley, which very sadly is no longer with us.  I’m hopeful we’ll encourage and inspire each other to write, so thanks in advance Emma and here’s to an exciting future for Gluten Free by the Sea.

Emma and a giant burger at old favourite JDs Grill

Emma and a giant burger at old favourite JDs Grill

Things have changed a lot since I last posted.  As previously mentioned, The Coeliac UK Plymouth Group was forced to close due to lack of volunteers on the committee.  It was personally very sad to see this close when I’d been so closely involved for the last few years, but I think sadly it was inevitable.  I made some great friends along the way am left with many fond memories.  We then lost The Galley and also another restaurant serving gluten free in Holland’s Diner.

Emma and I celebrate catching up and her joining the Gluten Free by the Sea team. We may have enjoyed a drink or 10 by this point. Drink responsibly and all that hey!

Emma and I celebrate catching up and her joining the Gluten Free by the Sea team. We may have enjoyed a drink or 10 by this point. Drink responsibly and all that hey!

On a more positive note, I’ve enjoyed some great gluten free meals out in the past year.  New venues to me have included Quay 33, Barbican Kitchen, The Greedy Goose, Chloe’s, The Dock and Rocksalt Cafe.  I am sure I’ll be reviewing some of these fully in due course, but it’s safe to say I’ve enjoyed some excellent food at all of these venues.  I think eating out is certainly getting easier, and I find most of the local independent restaurants who cook everything fresh are generally very accommodating.  The Ladybird Bakery have also opened a gluten free cafe in Frankfurt Gate, so do stop by and pay them a visit of you haven’t already.

Kevin, Gluten Free by the Sea

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