Free from 'Shire
The weather is all over the place, but its grand for fodder
(picture from my bathroom wall and courtesy of Lighthouse Lane, Haworth)
If its not from Yorkshire it's S***e
This one's a wee read, after I really DID ramble on of late. Sorry about that. In God's Own Country, things are getting better when it comes to allergies and dietary preferences. This is however, doing nothing for my weight loss goals, but everything for my gluttony. I missed a really good pun there...anywhoo, here are my top tips for eating and not suffering for it around these parts.
If you're from round here, or not, Yorkshire has come a long way with its' foodie scene. This includes making waves in the vegan, vegetarian, nut free, dairy free, and gluten free options. Like many areas, sometimes you still have to ask if you can be catered for, and it can be a bit hit and miss here and there. Sometimes you're told "don't bother" when establishments with small kitchens make reference to high profile allergy tragedies. Some menus clearly demonstrate what you can and can't consume as a gluten free-er, whereas others leave you completely baffled and hopeless.
Some eateries claim to know exactly what is in their dishes; one in particular left me ill for days, after claiming their risotto was rice and not pearl barley. Forgive me if I sound dramatic, but when you're told with conviction that you have "made the right choice" but sustain illness for days after, it's not ideal.
Assembly - An awesome selection of street food vendors with 4/5 vendors catering GF
The Leeds List
The ups and downs with eating out is the case all over the country, but I have been very fortunate to find some incredible GF options in this fair county. And here are just a few, starting with Leeds Leeds Leeds:
- The Oxford Place (100% GF and cooked to order) I go here on special occasions
- MOD Pizza (my Subway-style pizza dream is realised) changes of gloves and surfaces, but not ingredients so some slight chance of cross-contamination
- Almost Famous (fabulous burgers and bread warmed nicely, which is an important factor with GF)
- Little Toyko (sushi and Japanese fayre that I've been frequenting for years) GF soy sauce on request
- Bundobust (incredible Indian vegetarian street food worthy of sharing)
- Jino's Thai Cafe (well-established, home cooked business with huge portions and great GF options)
- The Reliance (slightly out of town, but fantastic English cuisine) great for brunch
- George's (worth it just for the ambience alone; getting to sit in a beach hut booth)
- Assembly Underground (selection of vendors with street food and helpful chefs willing to discuss options)
Alongside the above, a plethora of high street options that are consistently reliable also exist. Going independent and less for 'high end' or 'fixed/small' menus is the way to go when eating out, if you want to have a straightforward allergy-conscious conversation.
Some tips for thee. I'll tell ya that for nowt
Do check out the menu/allergy advice online/via phone before booking. Do ask about menus/options when you book. Do pre order if you are offered this. Do check if you're not convinced by the establishment's knowledge of all things gluten. Do leave if you're not sure. I should have done this many times, and was always far too polite - with sometimes disastrous consequences!
Do avoid kitchens you can see into that are particularly small in size - it is likely they may struggle to avoid cross-contamination, but won't let you know about it. MyThai is one particular restaurant in Leeds that has declined GF customers for this reason alone.
The last and final point that is a particular bug bear of mine is restaurants/cafes/takeaways interpreting gluten free enquiries as a casual life choice. Not a medical requirement, that needs to be taken rather seriously. Be careful with this, it seems to be pretty on trend right now.
So, as part of Coeliac Community Week (was Awareness Week), this is my first review of GF eating out - in my local stomping ground Leeds. An ever-growing GF community.
Eating out is one of the absolute joys of this life. Being able to engage in it without fear of short and long term health issues is all we want. Leeds, you're doing us proud. Long may it continue.
Thanks for reading
Samosa from Leeds-based free fromWildcraft Bakery. They freshly make everything on site in Meanwood