Tag Archives: eating out

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.

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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…”

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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.

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Greg, Emma and Kev

Kevin, Gluten Free by the Sea

A New Gluten Free Restaurant – The Galley

11 Nov

UPDATE: Sadly The Galley has ceased trading, a huge loss for all coeliacs and gluten free folk in Plymouth.  The Galley will be greatly missed.

galleyTo be honest I’m still desperately sad that Plymouth lost it’s only 100% gluten free eatery, Clare’s Gluten Free Cafe, a few months ago.  In fact it’s been a sad few months with a couple of other local free-from businesses, Traditional Puddings and Love Free From also ceasing to trade.  Plymouth of course still has some fantastic local businesses catering gluten free and I am often told how lucky we are from those reading my Facebook and blog posts from afar.  The great news though as that we’ve got even luckier!  Plymouth now has a brand new completely gluten free restaurant, The Galley.

emma_markThe Galley is run by Emma Oxland and her business partner Mark Palfrey.  Emma is coeliac herself and Mark is an experienced chef who has lived with Emma for a number of years and so has witnessed first hand the effects of cross contamination and how ill it can make a coeliac.  You might say Emma and Mark are something of a dream team to open a gluten free restaurant!  Rather than open their own premises they have taken over the food franchise within the Maritime Inn on Southside Street on the Barbican.  This seems like a smart move and means they have (presumably) less overheads and a ready made customer base, and hopefully means they won’t face the same financial pressures that have seen us lose some other free-from businesses recently.

The Galley opened around a month ago and prides itself on freshly cooked local food.  Mark is making everything from scratch so knows exactly what ingredients are going in to all of the dishes.  When they first opened there were a couple of gluten containing dishes, but only three weeks in they managed to completely eradicate all of these and the entire menu is now gluten free.  I’d had some contact with Emma over social media and asked if she could put together some information for Coeliac UK Plymouth Group members for me.  So here’s a bit about The Galley from Emma:

My name is Emma and me and my business partner Mark have recently opened our own gluten free kitchen inside The Maritime Inn on the Barbican.
I am a coeliac myself, and for the past 6 years my dream has been to open a restaurant that caters primarily for a gluten free diet.. And all dietary needs. I believe that no one should feel like they are a burden or doubt whether they should eat out just because a lot of people do not understand the risks or consequences for someone who is gluten intolerant.
The chef that works with me is a highly qualified, experienced chef who has lived with me for years and so is extremely aware of how eating gluten, or being contaminated by gluten can effect people.
We are two very friendly very eager entrepreneurs who really want to make a difference. I would love for people to be able to enjoy an amazing freshly cooked meal without any worries or doubts. Because why should we not be able to go out and enjoy incredible food, as well as everyone else!?
We did have very few things on our menu that contained gluten, but we have now made everything on our menu gluten free, and today we have finally made out own gluten free bread 🙂
It is an amazingly exciting new venture for us, and I hope to see some of you very soon 🙂
If you would like to see our menu, we have a facebook page which is www.facebook.com/pages/The-Galley/1547846495434594
Go check us out and see the variety you are able to choose from 🙂
Kind Regards
Emma Oxland and Mark Palfrey

I’d heard good feedback from a few friends and this weekend I decided I’d take my nan and granddad out to lunch and make my first visit to The Galley.  On Sunday’s the special is always a Sunday roast, which is something that as a coeliac living with a vegetarian can be hard to come by!  On arrival we were greeted by the lovely Emma who runs the front of house.  It was great to have a chat with her and as a fellow coeliac she clearly gets the struggles we have eating out, and the importance of being able to relax those with allergy and inolerance so they can actually enjoy eating out.  It also made my day to hear that anyone who orders without requesting gluten free gets it anyway, and that nobody has noticed the lack of gluten so far.

On to the food and the specials for the day on Sunday were roast chicken or roast lamb.  I always think lamb is a good test for a restaurant as it can often be a cheap fatty cut and very poor quality.  I love lamb and so went for this as did granddad, whilst nan went for the chicken.  I managed to snap this (slightly blurred) pic of my roast before I tucked in.  Everything was cooked to perfection, including the lamb which was great quality.  The gravy was think and tasty and there was even a GF Yorkshire pud and a side of mint sauce.  I really enjoyed it as did the grandparents.  Thumbs up all round!  The portion size was good without being overwhelming and left enough room for dessert.  Most mains on the menu come in at around £8 which is good value in my mind for freshly cooked local food.  The main menu includes options such as battered cod and chips, ham egg and chips and an all day breakfast.

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Now on to dessert!  A choice of chocolate truffle cake, profiteroles or sticky toffee pudding served with cream, ice-cream or custard will have most coeliacs drooling.  There is also a choice of ice creams for those who are too full.  I went for the chocolate truffle cake, below, which encompassed a delicious chocolate truffle mouse on top of a layer of chocolate cake.  I chose to top mine off with ice cream.  This was absolutely delicious and it was nice and light being mainly mouse.
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However, whilst granddad skipped dessert nan went for this amazing giant profiterole.  I was suffering from some major food envy at this point and will definitely be going back to try this one in future.  There’s even a scoop of ice-cream in the middle.  Emma also highly recommended the sticky toffee pudding, I’m not used to having all of these dessert choices!
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Be aware that The Galley doesn’t open late most evenings as the space is shared with the pub which can get busy at night time.  The opening hours are:

Monday ~ closed
Tuesday 12pm – 7pm
Wednesday 12pm – 9pm
Thursday 12pm – 9pm
Friday 12pm – 8pm
Saturday 12pm – 8pm
Sunday 12pm – 4pm

I’m so excited to have a completely gluten free restaurant available in Plymouth, and being situated in a pub and in walking distance this will be the perfect place to enjoy a meal with a few pints too.  I’m already looking forward to going back again and I am sure I’ll be taking dad in for an all day breakfast soon.  Keep an eye on The Galley Facebook page for the menu details and info on daily specials.  I wish Emma and Mark every success with their new venture and recommend that you all pay a visit and try some of this delicious gluten free food.

Kevin, Gluten Free by the Sea

Eating Out Gluten Free in London

13 May

Last month myself and my wife, Abby, made a trip up to London to show my father-in-law the sites as he made his first trip over to the UK.  I hadn’t really planned on blogging about my eating out experiences, but on reflection my previous London post is starting to get a little out of date.  So here is a brief mention for some of the eating out experiences we had on our most recent visit, along with a few suggestions from the past that are still very much relevant.

honest burgerHonest Burger: In my days before coeliac diagnosis I always loved a burger, but it wasn’t until I visited Honest Burger in London a few years ago that I was finally able to enjoy a burger in a gluten free bun for the first time.  These burgers are simply sensational, served nicely pink unless you ask for it otherwise, along with amazing rosemary salted fries.  Whenever I am in London this is the first place I visit, and I am never disappointed. Gluten free beer and onion rings are also served.  On this visit we took a trip to the Kings Cross branch, which is quite a bit larger than some of the original venues and so has reduced waiting times: http://www.honestburgers.co.uk/

MestizoMestizo: Being married to an American means that Mexican is a regular in our household.  Mexican options in Plymouth are thin on the ground so we are always excited to make the most of London’s increased options.  We’ve now visited Mestizo a couple of times and the food has been excellent on both occasions.  The restaurant offers a separate gluten and wheat free menu, not to mention Europe’s largest tequila bar.  I can heartily recommend the Enchiladas Cancun, really delicious!  Abby loves this place as it is also home to the elusive vegetarian mole sauce: http://london.mestizomx.com/

wahacaWahaca: Another Mexican restaurant, which also offers a gluten free menu.  The food here is billed as “street food” and in that respect the style of food is different to Mestizo, but just as tasty and we love Wahaca too!  Be aware that some of the items on the gluten free menu are cooked in fryers with other gluten free items and so are not suitable for coeliacs.  These items are marked as such on the gluten free menu, and there are plenty of other options such as tasty taquitos.  The food is very good value and it has been known for us to spend more on margaritas on a few (every) occasion we have been there: http://www.wahaca.co.uk/

vozarsVozars: This is a completely gluten free restaurant based on the site of the former WAGFree bakery in Brixton.  The restaurant is inspired by the gluten free Celia lager and this is available in abundance!  The food here was fantastic and I can’t speak highly enough about my meal.  I demolished a venison burger, served with chunky wedges and garlic mayo.  Everything had so much flavour that I can still taste it now!  I will definitely be going back here on our next visit to London.  Desserts are provided by WAGFree so plenty of choice in this respect too: http://vozars.co.uk/ UPDATE: Sadly Vozars has now closed

Otto Pizza: Obviously gluten free pizza isn’t as hard to come by as it once was, but Otto Pizza was the first place I managed to eat gluten free pizza out after being diagnosed.   This is a very different kind of pizza experience to the norm though, with Otto serving a deep dish cornmeal crust pizza that I’ve not seen anywhere else in the UK.  Indeed my wife rates this as the best pizza she’s tried in this country.  The gluten free pizzas are very good and there are some great topping choices.  There’s also Celia Lager served to wash it down: http://www.ottopizza.co.uk/ UPDATE: Sadly Otto has now closed

leonLeon: Leon is always a great place to grab a quick gluten free lunch or breakfast when out and about in London.  There are numerous branches spread across the capital that give the chance to grab some healthier fast food with plenty of gluten free choices.  There’s also some very tasty baked fries and cakes available so no need to be too healthy!  The still lemonade is also delicious: http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/

Pod: Another quick and easy fast food choice with gluten free options.  There are lots of Pods to eat in around London, and it is worth noting that they sell bacon sandwiches on Genius gluten free bread which is why I quite often stop in for breakfast: http://www.podfood.co.uk/

Rossopomodoro: I’d heard good things about the pizza at Rossopomodro so we visited last time we were up in London.  However, I did not heed the warning to call ahead and make sure they have gluten free dough in and they were out.  You can read a review of the GF pizza from @itsgottobegf here.  Other GF choices were limited but the staff were helpful and I did have grilled chicken and Mediterranean vegetables in a balsamic dressing which was very nice: http://rossopomodoro.co.uk/nogluten/

Namaaste Kitchen: I’m very much a fan of Indian food, so when I was told award winning Indian restaurant Namaaste Kitchen had a separate gluten free menu I was keen to visit.  I went for the tandoori chicken which was absolutely delicious.  The only downside was the lack of cider served in the restaurant: http://www.namaastekitchen.co.uk/

A few others that I’ve yet to try but have been recommended to me more than once, so I’m adding them here so I don’t forget them:

Elliot’s Café: http://www.elliotscafe.com/

Dishoom: www.dishoom.com

Nopi: http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/locations

Kevin, Gluten Free by the Sea

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