Tag Archives: restaurants

Bit of an update!

19 Apr

Well first of all apologies for the recent radio silence.  As you may have read in a previous update I’ve been going through redundancy and trying to find a new job which has been a particularly trying time for me personally.  The good news is I’ve found myself a new job which I started last week and am really enjoying it.  At the moment I am throwing all my energy into the new job as you would expect, so it really isn’t leaving much time for social media or blogging.

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Also keeping me busy lately has been the Coeliac UK Plymouth Group.  I hope those of you that were able to make the AGM in Estover last month enjoyed it.  Thanks to Tamara Simmonds from Glutafin who gave a great talk on the day and those businesses who contributed to the event by selling on the day or donating raffle prizes.  Unfortunately due to a lack of volunteers the group has now been suspended for six months.  We are in desperate need of a new treasurer and some new committee members in order to keep the group going.  If you are interested in helping then please let me know.

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Congratulations to the Ladybird Gluten Free Bakery who have just moved to a new home in the market.  As you can see from the photo below their new venue is looking fabulous and now has a small seating area so you can sit down and enjoy a gluten free cake with a cuppa and even a chat with fellow gluten free folk.  Ladybird are now also selling some great products from Jackson’s Gluten Free in Torquay, and also some delicious crisps from Darling Spuds which I believe will soon form part of a meal deal.  The new stall is still at the bottom of the market, turn left if entering from the Market Avenue entrance by Frankfurt Gate.

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In other news Ed’s Easy Diner based in the mall have now added a Coeliac UK certified gluten free menu.  We are of course lucky to have a couple of great independent restaurants in Plymouth for our burger fix in JD’s Grill and Holland’s Diner but more options are always welcome, and it’s always good to have some safe chain restaurants in your back pocked when travelling.  I see Ed’s are offering gluten free hot dogs which may well be a first for Plymouth.  I’ve not had chance to give them a go yet, but would be interested to hear from anyone who has been in to try it out.

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In other news The Barbican Galley continues to go from strength to strength and have recently been able to employ a second chef.  I have had many fabulous gluten free meals there recently, including a visit to their Mexican theme night.  I can highly recommend the Southern fried chicken burger and the all day breakfast, not to mention the Sunday roast.  A reminder that everything they serve is gluten free so if you haven’t been yet then you really must give it a try!  They are also serving takeaway fish and chips (the chips are SO good by the way), which I am sure will be very handy if the current sunny weather continues.

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Anyway, I hope everyone is well and enjoying the sunshine.  If you’ve made any new gluten free discoveries in Plymouth recently then please let me know, it would be great to share them.

Kevin, Gluten Free by the Sea.

My Gluten Free Heroes!

17 May

As it is coeliac awareness week, I thought it would be nice to give a big thank you to some gluten free heroes who have made my life so much easier to deal with since I was diagnosed with coeliac disease.  Some of those listed are heroes for providing advice and support, whilst some of them are heroes for providing amazing gluten free food that has helped to persuade me that life isn’t all doom and gloom and in fact I can still eat amazing food and there really is no need to compromise.

There are many more who could have been on this list, but for all of those who have given me advice or support over the last few years I really appreciate it.  The gluten free community have been such a rock for me, and have inspired me to try and help others.  For all those who work so hard to bring coeliacs safe and delicious gluten free food, I thank you all!

2014-01-18 12.24.51Clare Jones of Clare’s Gluten Free Catering: Clare has been a coeliac for over 40 years and last year started a gluten free catering company.  This year with, some huge help from husband Jon, she has opened Plymouth’s only completely gluten free eatery.  Clare’s Gluten Free on Bretonside provides a huge range of gluten free sweet and savoury food that is simply delicious.  Pasties, pies, chocolate eclairs, lemon meringue pie, scotch eggs, the list foes on.  If Clare doesn’t make it she will always respond to demand and give it a go.  The cafe is not only a safe haven for coeliacs from a food perspective, but you will find such a friendly atmosphere and you will usually find yourself chatting away to Clare, her family or other coeliac customers.  Clare has also been a big supporter of our work at the Coeliac UK Plymouth Group.

2013-06-24 19.31.51Dave Cossar & Justin Meaney of JD’s Grill: Finding somewhere to eat out safely is always a massive challenge, finding somewhere to eat safely where the food is good even more so.  Fortunately for coeliacs and those following a gluten free diet in Plymouth JD’s Grill can do both.  I simply love this place, the food is right up my street and Justin and Dave have really gone the extra mile since my original review to expand their gluten free range.  They are on a mission to try and find a gluten free option for anything they list on their expansive menu.  Fancy a half pound burger made in house from local meat, topped with delicious pulled pork and cheese on a gluten free bun with Cajun spiced fries, that are of course fried in a separate fryer?  I am always made to feel so welcome at JD’s and the staff are so knowledgeable and treat gluten free like it is the norm, I am never made to feel out of place.  JD’s have also been big supporters of the Coeliac UK Plymouth Group and this week hosted 40 of us for a fantastic gluten free night.

LTEC-LisaLisa Hackett of Let Them Eat Cake: Lisa herself is gluten free due to Crohn’s disease, and set up her company Let Them Eat Cake to ensure those on a gluten free diet could enjoy food that actually tasted good.  Let Them Eat Cake have recently re-branded to Let Them Eat to reflect the increased savoury options they now produce.  The company is based in Hatt in Cornwall and I love their ethos of using ultra local produce.  Many of the cakes are baked with vegetables to reduce the sugar content and keep them moist and also dairy free, and all vegetables used are from producers in the Tamar Valley, meat is sourced from a local farm and honey from Lisa’s own bees.  Lisa is not only a huge supporter of local businesses and but has been a great support to Gluten Free by the Sea along the way.

honest + beerTom and Phil of Honest Burgers: Tom and Phil will always be heroes of mine for a moment I experienced in Brixton in 2012.  Still in the early days of my gluten free diet after diagnosis I followed a recommendation and set off to Brixton to find a tiny little restaurant in the middle of nowhere (at least to a tourist from Plymouth) called Honest Burger.  The restaurant was so busy that we had to wait a long time for a table but when we got one it was worth the wait.  I sat down and ate the most delicious burger I had ever tasted, topped with some amazing red onion relish on a gluten free bun with some ridiculously good rosemary salted fries.  There was a also a gluten free beer to wash it down with.  This blissful moment was the moment I learned that gluten free food didn’t have to be a poor substitute and that by following these recommendations I could actually eat better than before.  Honest have grown considerably since and I’m thrilled for their fully deserved success, and I’m always a frequent visitor when I head to London.

mugsAnn Perkins of Perkier Foods: Ann is someone who I have had the pleasure to meet at a few of the gluten free “tweet ups” in London.  A coeliac herself, she plays an extremely active part in the gluten free community on social media.  Her company, Perkier Foods, is one that I love as they have really managed to put the fun back into living gluten free.  The company just oozes fun from it’s brightly coloured packaging, playful competitions, hilarious social media banter and not to mention delicious gluten free treats.  The personalities of Ann and fellow Perkier founder Steve Turner very clearly come through.  Ann always seems to find time in her very busy schedule to give the gluten free community a voice, supporting local Coeliac UK groups and being vocal about coeliac disease.

GFChipsJo Haimes of Eggbuckland Fish and Chip Shop: Many coeliacs will tell you that not being able to eat fish and chips is one of their biggest losses when diagnosed.  One of the worst things about my lunch time walks around the Barbican is the smell of chips everywhere!  So when Jo decided to take a Coeliac UK training course and open her chippy especially for gluten free customers once a month I could not have been more excited.  What many customers fail to appreciate is that a gluten free night was a two day event for Jo, as she would have to spend her Sunday’s steam cleaning the fryers and making sure everything was ready for Monday.  I always look forward to the first Monday of every month and it feels like a real treat.  It’s also so lovely to see so many happy customers when I stop by.  Sadly Jo is moving on to pastures new, so this seems like a good time to thank her for doing gluten free nights for the last year and a bit and wish her every success in the future.  Thankfully Jo has convinced the new owner to carry on gluten free nights so I am extremely grateful to her for that too.

Alex Gazzola, Health Journo: I really must give a special mention to Alex.  A journalist and author of books which include “Coeliac Disease: What you need to know”, Alex is not gluten free himself but plays a huge roll in the gluten free community.  His blog, Food Allergy and Intolerance Ink, is loaded with articles helping us wade our way through some of the more complex issues of living with coeliac disease and other allergy/intolerance, not least the minefield of food allergen labelling.  I always feel that Alex has our back and is ready to lead us into battle, but the fact he is a gluten eater and all round level headed guy means he is equally well placed to tell us to stop being daft when our battle march is (often) misplaced.  Alex seems to have a unique ability to be able to bring us back down to earth when someone has upset us, and give an alternative point of view that will always give us food for thought.  It’s great to have someone that can so eloquently give a viewpoint for both sides, and this makes him an important and respected member of the GF community.

Bloggers: There is a fabulous network of gluten free bloggers out there.  There are so many giving their time to provide recipes, eating out recommendations and tips for living gluten free.  I have found so many blogs so helpful since being diagnosed and these guys play such a vital role in the gluten free community.  I really appreciate the time you all spend to bring us the latest information and news, and thank you for inspiring me to get involved and have a go!  Some of my favourites: Gluten Free Mrs D, Chatty Daisy Days, Fabulously Free From, Gluten Free B, Gluten Free Blogger, Little Missed Gluten, Love Free From, FreeFromFairy, Not a Trace, Positively Coeliac and Wuthering Bites.  So many more I could mention and please see my links page for more.

Coeliac UK and the local group committees: It would be remiss of me to talk about those who do great good for coeliacs without giving Coeliac UK a mention.  We have seen so many more gluten free options recently and this is in part down to the amazing work that this charity do to raise awareness of the condition and encourage and train businesses to provide us with safe options.  There has been a great spirit amongst the coeliac community this week for awareness week.  I would also like to give a huge pat on the back for all of those volunteering their time for the local groups.  Having been on the inside for the past year I’ve been able to see how much work goes into planning events by people who are giving their time for free to help others.  If you’ve got good ideas for your local group I really would encourage you to get involved with the committee and help make these things happen.

AbbyThe wife: Of course one last big thank-you from me must go to my wife Abigail.  She is the one who cooks me delicious gluten free food on a daily basis, listens to me drone on endlessly about the latest cake or packet of crisps I have found, and looks after me when I have been glutened.  She has also be known to fulfil the role of gluten free beer wench at Coeliac UK Plymouth events!  I really couldn’t have come as far as I have without her support on a daily basis.

Well there are my gluten free heroes, I would love to hear yours so please comment below.  A huge thank-you to all the heroes out there!

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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