Gluten free at Flat Iron

Yesterday Mr S and I decided to have a day in London. Even though the weather was freezing and damp we wrapped up and took the train to Victoria. Selfridges was our first stop for a few gluten free treats. I choose apricot abricotines and viennese shortbread from Peace of cake London and a bakewell slice.

We then had a walk around Marylebone and found a gorgeous indie cheese shop La Fromargerie and bought some extremely stinky delicious cheese.

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We took a taxi along to Soho and quickly found Flat Iron ,a restaurant that I had heard did great steak and gluten free chips. The restaurant is on Beak street really close to Carnaby street. Flat Iron was packed with customers and the friendly door guy took our phone number so that they could text us when a table was available with a web link counting down until a table was free. He had warned us that it would be approximately a 50min wait. I normally wouldn’t wait such a long time for a meal, but as it was already 2ish and we had come over specially  we took a walk around Carnaby street in the rain.

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After about 40mins a text came through to say our table was ready. Hungry and more than a little chilly we were shown up one flight of stairs to a narrow but warm room with exposed brick walls, knives on the walls and simple brown paper style menus. Here you sit on communal tables.

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The menu makes life very easy, a great place for those who struggle to decide on what to eat! Just one choice of main and one special. The main is a steak, not a fillet or sirloin but a feather blade steak which comes from the shoulder. This is served with a small green salad.

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The chips I’m pleased to say are gluten free and are fried in dripping. Possible my favourite chips ever! There was a choice of 5 sides and 4 sauces. Mr S choose Fred’s sauce.

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Our waiter came over promptly and explained the entire menu and told us all about the cut of the steak, he was very helpful and reassuring about what on the menu was gluten free and pointing out the very few things that weren’t safe for me.

The special yesterday was a wagyu burger for £15

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Our meals arrived quickly , the steaks looked and tasted very good. Tender and flavoursome ,perfectly cooked. The chips were equally scrummy and I will definitely returning for more very soon.

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In fact I cannot fault the meal, simple and delicious and at £12.50 for a main course good value for money.

The only dessert on offer is sadly not gluten free, I was surprised that a chocolate salt caramel mousse needed to contain gluten. Maybe something to look at for the future?

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I watched Mr S enjoy his light and creamy mousse. This was priced at £2.50 . Thankfully I had earlier bought the treat sweet bakes to indulge in on the way home.

Flat Iron has three restaurants in London

Beak street, Denmark street and Henrietta street

The restaurant doesn’t take reservations

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You can find out more here

Website – FlatIronSteak

Twitter – @flatironsteak

If you are in Soho why not go and try it for yourself , I would like to hear your thoughts.

 

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Norwich’s very own gluten free cafe and shop

Today we drove over to Norwich to visit The gluten free cafe and shop on Timber hill. We parked at the John Lewis car park but there are numerous places to park near the shop and cafe. The setting is perfect on a pretty street, one of the oldest recorded city streets in Norwich. Home to quirky shops , boutiques and beauty salons. Since January home to this exciting new enterprise from the Norfolk gluten free company. 

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I was blown away by the smartness and quality of the exterior and interior of the cafe and shop. Stepping into the busy cosy cafe I felt like a child in a sweet shop. To know that you can eat from the entire menu on the large black board was the most exciting thing ever. If  like me you have Coeliac disease or gluten intolerant  you will totally understand the wave of relief and calm you feel when you know you are safe to eat somewhere that is 100% gluten free with no worries of cross contamination. It offers a huge range of tasty savoury and sweet options for all the family including delicious looking soups and pies, quiches and ploughman’s. An enormous array of sweet treats from chocolate eclairs and muffins to beautiful cup cakes and flapjacks . You could have the biggest sugar high ! We all need a treat sometimes

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The staff were busy with lots of happy customers. Today Families , young couples and older people were sat around at tables drinking coffee and eating lunch. It was lovely to see the place so busy. We found a little table near the window where we could watch the world go by. I decided on hot cheesy balls with butter for lunch and Mr S choose a chicken pie with ploughman lunch, with coffee.

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After ordering at the counter I couldn’t resist a quick look upstairs at the gluten free shop where I was greeted by the lovely Louisa founder of the Norfolk gluten free company . I scanned the shelves full of everything you could possibly imagine, it really is like an Aladdin’s cave. I was beyond excited , far superior to a free from section in a supermarket. From an incredible selection of freshly baked bread goods from Wheat free bakery ( the best bread in my family’s opinion ) to pies and quiches and dry mixes , pasta’s, taco and wraps. Every gluten free flour, dough ball mix  I could go on.

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After doing a quick grab of goodies and paying upstairs I was down just in time for my Latte and hot yummy cheesy dough balls. These can be served with a selection of dips but I went for butter with mine. they were so scummy.

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With so many extra food intolerances I often find it difficult to order anything when I am out shopping. These were just what I needed. My husband was pleased with his flaky chicken pie packed with hearty pieces of chicken inside with a side salad, bread roll and cheese plus chutney, a feast.

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My coffee was so good I ordered a second and couldn’t resist a sweet treat.

 

IMG_9904 Its not often I can go out and order a pudding . After much thought I decided on the caramel choux bun and Mr S had a fruit and chocolate flap jack.

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I spotted some very pretty looking cup cakes made by the talented Imogen from Sugar buttons cakes so it would of been rude not to take one home for later . A toffee popcorn cupcake was popped into a little cake bag for me to enjoy later.

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Imogen made my son and daughter in law’s wedding cupcakes in August 2014 so I know just how good they are. As well as cup cakes Imogen makes the most stunning large gluten free Wedding cakes too, do check out her website Sugar buttons creative.

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Before I left I had one more quick look upstairs in the shop, It is a surprisingly good size space. So if you are in for a coffee don’t forget to take a look yourself. I choose some freshly baked bread to take home and some extra special chocolate hearts from Montezuma.

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The prices in the cafe and shop I thought were very fair and we will definitely return next time we are in Norwich armed with extra bags and more room in the freezer to take home lots of gluten free bread for the family.

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I do hope if you are in the Norwich area or visiting Norfolk this year you will make time to visit this fabulous cafe and shop. If we don’t support these brave enterprises they won’t survive . I would like to wish Louisa and her team all the very best for the future. I’m sure you have a real success on your hands. I could see just how much work must have gone into the last few months do get this venture off the ground in the centre of this beautiful city.

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You can find the Cafe and shop at the top Timber hill number 21 on the left hand side as you look down the hill.

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Website – Norfolk gluten free company

Twitter – @nklkglutenfree

 

Review of Niche gluten free restaurant in London

Last thursday four of us went to Niche to celebrate my Son’s birthday. It was our very first visit .

Niche is a gluten free restaurant in Islington providing British comfort food which is all gluten free.

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The restaurant has a very relaxed atmosphere, more cafe style than restaurant. A modern clean airy space in a prime spot on the corner of a Rosebury avenue , just down the road from Sadlers Wells theatre.

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I thought ordering would be relatively straight forward against other regular restaurants, but this turned out to not be the case. Firstly I went through my intolerances and that I had coeliac disease and gave the waiter my card. He then went through the starters with me, and popping back to talk to the chef re yeast onion and garlic and paprika. Unfortunately this ruled all the delicious looking starters except a plate of smoked salmon or a goats cheese salad.

I was excited to try the gluten free burger for my main but this contained onion so I had to rule it out , secondly I chose a steak, my go to meal at every restaurant. Unbelievable for me the steaks at Niche are marinated making them of limits to me. I plumped for sea bass in the end with potatoes and no sauce instead I asked for some green vegetables. I was pleased the family could order all the gluten free starters that I wanted to try, the deep fried parmesan and cheddar doughnuts and the fried chicken. For main courses they went for beef and chorizo pie and mash, sausage and mash and a goats cheese and Portobello mushroom burger on a gluten free bun with fries.

Our starters arrived promptly and the fried chicken strips and parmesan and cheddar doughnuts looked amazing. I was very disappointed that I couldn’t have either. Maybe something for Niche to look at? Many Coeliacs and those with intolerances can’t tolerate yeast, dairy, onions or sometimes garlic etc.  Just one simple treat starter would be appreciated. My smoked salmon was really delicious and I was given a huge portion.

The fried chicken strips cost £7.75 and were a hit and the parmesan and cheddar doughnuts cost £6.50 were liked but not raved about. My husband had the goats cheese salad which he enjoyed.

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Our main courses arrived next my sea bass was nicely presented but I asked for some butter to just cheer it up a little. The butter came individually wrapped portions very sweet 8/10  cost £15.25

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The sausage and mash meal was enjoyed. Delicious gluten free sausages but the mash and gravy were not overly warm 6.5/10  cost £12.25

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Beef and chorizo pie and mash was well presented there was a lot of pastry which was nice and crisp but just rather too much of it with a small amount of filling with only two slices of chorizo inside. It was given 7/10   cost £12.75

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The goats cheese and portobello mushroom burger looked amazing but was difficult and messy to eat and on a very small plate so no room to get into it.  The chips never arrived, which we only spotted at the end. 8.5/10   cost £12.25

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A lady came to take our dessert order and we mentioned about the lack of chips she apologised and offered a free pudding. I asked for information about the treacle tart which I had been really looking forward too. But after talking to the chef I was told it was made from gluten free bread that contained yeast. I was really disappointed but chose the chocolate brownie. My meal was turning in to the classic meal I have every where in all regular restaurants.

The family chose the treacle tart which scored a 6.5/10 as the pastry was too thick and the filling dry. They were underwhelmed   cost £5.75

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St Clements cheese cake scored a 8/10   cost £6.25

and my brownie was delicious and very moist 9/10 ( but not a very original pudding for a gluten free restaurant ) My warm brownie arrived with ice cream but I had ordered cream they once again apologised . cost £4.75

 

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Over all it is a pleasant restaurant for those who are gluten intolerant or have Coeliac disease as there is Zero risk of cross contamination but I think they are missing a trick by not finding out more about those with intolerances and designing a menu taking this into consideration. Niche is a reasonably priced restaurant well worth a visit.

I’m not sure about the reasoning behind the venture and whether anyone in the team is coeliac or gluten intolerant but It almost seems that Niche is jumping on the gluten free band wagon?  I may be entirely wrong but I didn’t have the opportunity to speak to anyone in charge. Maybe next time I will have the opportunity to ask.

 

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We had a lovely evening out together and would visit the restaurant again if we were in the area. I’m not sure we would make a special journey just to eat there though.

I look forward to hearing your reviews, especially if you have no added intolerances. I’m sure you will have a great time.

website –

Niche restaurant

Twitter –

@nichefoods

Menu here

closed Mondays

Gluten free at Eric’s Fish and Chips on the North Norfolk coast

Last weekend we were up on the Norfolk coast and as always the sun was shining. This gave us the perfect excuse to go and try out a newly opened Fish and Chip restaurant and take away in Thornham next to the lovely Drove Orchards.

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The restaurant is set next to the Drove orchards farm shop and fields of strawberry plants ready for the pick your own season and wild flowers, a gorgeous setting.

 

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The restaurant and take away is a new venture from Head Chef Eric Snaith of Titchwell Manor just along the coast road at the pretty village of Titchwell . Eric had the idea to open a Fish and Chip restaurant, something that he felt was very much lacking from the North Norfolk coast and one that would  be a contrast from the fine dining and informal dining of the Hotel.

We decided to pop along for a very late lunch and received a very warm welcome from Manager Kayleigh Roe.  The restaurant itself has a contemporary retro feel with coloured tiles, retro light fittings and bright yellow tables.

 

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The restaurant felt very clean and bright and had a very cool feel with great music adding to the atmosphere.

 

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After studying the menu on a large retro style pin board I decided on the gluten free haddock and chips and my husband choose Cod and chips with mushy peas. I was very careful to explain that I had Coeliac disease and would require gluten free. Kayleigh was most helpful and reasurring and offered me either to have it cooked in beef dripping or rapeseed oil. She double checked with the Chef and the beef dripping was free from cross contamination so I choose that. I think if I have any comment is that I would prefer to see a dedicated fryer that was only ever used for gluten free products or chips. This would just help to avoid any cross contamination. This of course may already be the case. The gluten free batter is also yeast free.

 

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The delicious fish and chips arrived to our table very promptly. My batter was much lighter in colour than my husbands gluten version ( I think mine looked the best ! )

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I have to say the mushy peas looked delicious and I wish I had ordered a portion too. I’m sure the majority of people, take eating fish and chips out very much for granted but when you are intolerant to gluten it is a very different experience. Fortunately more and more Chippy’s are getting on board and offering a safe gluten free version for Coeliacs and those who are gluten intolerant.

 

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Back to the amazing crispy light battered haddock! It was perfect, not overly greasy and in a beautifully crisp light batter with moist fresh haddock inside. The chips were also very good and plenty of them, I couldn’t finish all of mine. My husband enjoyed his cod, chips and mushy peas too and was even more thrilled that we had found another restaurant where I could eat at safely.

Fish and Chips costs £9.50 to eat in.

haddock & chips is £5.50 and cod and chips is £6.50 to takeaway

Both my sons and other halves have recently eaten at Eric’s Fish and chips and both ranked the meal very highly.

 

Eric's Fish & Chips takeaway menu

Eric’s Fish & Chips takeaway menu

It appears that I am not the only person that has enjoyed the gluten free Fish and Chips at Eric’s , here are just a couple of comments from the reviews online

“It was totes delicious, loved the gluten free batter”

“great gluten free fish and chips!!! will be back soon!”

 

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I am thrilled to have this new restaurant so close to our home and cannot wait to visit again very soon.

Follow

@EricsFandC – Twitter

EricsFishandChips – Facebook

ericsfishandchips.com

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find out more about  Drove orchard < here

My first visit to Honest Burger , Soho

The majority of people can eat out without any worries, but when you have a multitude of food intolerances and Coeliac disease, eating out is quite a different thing!

We were treating ourselves to a matinee in London which meant being in London for lunch. Twitter is a great source of information on free from and gluten free friendly restaurants and I had lots of good ideas. Hummus Bros being one of them, this will definitely be the next place to try as they can accommodate gluten free and other intolerances and dietary requirements.

 

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Matilda the musical  10/10 

 

Honest Burger has been on my list of must tries for a while and after tweeting Tom@honestburgers and checking about whether onion or garlic were used in the burgers, I was happy to give it a go. Being intolerant to onion and garlic is hugely annoying as it is hidden in most meals.

 

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As we were in Seven dials we chose to go to Honest Burger in Soho 4a Meard street. A little restaurant in a quiet street with outside seating for the hardy.

The waitress was very welcoming and found us a table for two, we were quickly given our drinks and had time to check over the menu and black board.

 

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I gave the waitress my card explaining all my food intolerances and highlighted the gluten intolerance. This card has become invaluable and also has my blog and twitter details on it.

The Waitress was most helpful and I chose a plain burger with cheddar cheese on salad instead of a bun. Gluten free burgers are available at a £1 extra charge sadly I am yeast intolerant and avoiding all grains so I gave this a miss. My husband chose a honest burger with the delicious looking brioche style bun ( not jealous at all ) both came with an order of rosemary chips.

The great thing about a small restaurant with a limited but amazing menu is that the food arrives very quickly. Served in white enamel plates, a cool touch I thought. The burger is served medium unless you request otherwise and My burger sat on a bed of shredded lettuce and a good size piece of cheddar cheese melted on top topped off with a good size portion of rosemary chips which are also gluten free. When my meal arrived the waitress said “now this is one we’ve been super careful with!” Its very reassuring when staff take you seriously about intolerances both ladies that served us were very keen to make my visit a relaxed one. A lovely touch

 

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Now, the burger! its probably no surprise to discover that it tasted incredible, no exaggeration . Good quality beef cooked well and not messed with, perfect! A good amount of salad and very delicious chips. Tough as it was, I only ate a few as I am trying to avoid white potatoes. They were some of the best I’ve tasted, crispy small and with a lovely flavour.

My husband loved his burger and bun as was thrilled that Honest burger could now be added to our small ‘can eat‘ list of restaurants . Honest burger is already a big favourite with my grown up boys now we will be able to eat there together.

Our meal came to approximately £23  including water and a Honest pale ale

Thrilled to have a new safe restaurant to eat at, thank you Honest Burgers!

Restaurant locations –

Brixton

Soho

Camden

Portobello

Kings Cross

Oxford circus

Tooting

Liverpool street

Clapham

Follow on Twitter here > Tom  @honestburgers

I have returned to Honest Burger many times since writing this post and always had a delicious safe meal.

 

Happy Christmas from Fabulously Free From

I’m having one of those panic days before Christmas when I wonder if I have enough food to feed everyone over the next few festive days. This job is made all the more difficult as our home is 100% gluten free. In the last two days I have baked grain free mince pies, gluten free bagels, florentines and a cherry cake. All gluten free to feed twelve over Christmas.

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What a year it has been ! I was diagnosed with Crohns disease earlier this year and it has been a year of learning about healthy eating and finding out about special diets that help to keep inflammatory bowel disease at bay. This certainly has been my healthiest year in memory with far less ‘Bad days’ .

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Making the decision to have a gluten free home has made a huge difference to my life and now I rarely have glutening symptoms unless I eat out. I feel that I have far more energy and avoiding grains and cows milk seems to have played a big part in this. I have been following the Specific carbohydrate diet which has been a real learning curve. I don’t stick to it quite so carefully at the moment but once Christmas is over I will get back to eating as well as I can.

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It was lovely this year to make the short list for Free from Food Blogger and I was thrilled to come second. Many thanks to all who voted.

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Best wishes and many thanks to all my readers for your lovely comments and continued support in 2014.

Have a fabulous free from Christmas and a healthy 2015!

My gluten free dining experience in Dubai

 

On the 19th November we flew with Emirates to Dubai for a few days of sunshine and to go and watch the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The final race of the season.

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Opposite the pit lane and Red Bull garage

 

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We had been to Dubai earlier in the year so I was confident that I would be able to eat well with my selection of food intolerances. I had done quite a lot of  research on Twitter and Google and found a couple of places that I really wanted to eat at The Cycle Bistro which is Paleo and gluten free and Omnia Gourmet which offered a choice of gluten free desserts.

This time we stayed on The Palm Jumeirah at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

Zabeel Saray

Zabeel Saray

This worked out cheaper than staying at Jumeirah Mina A’Salam where we have stayed in the past ( also great for gluten free ). My husband emailed the Food and Beverage manager before we arrived to make him aware of my dietary needs. This was clearly written on the booking form of every restaurant that we booked. I also took my business cards which I handed to ever chef. This listed all my intolerances clearly.

Our view

Our view

Zabeel Saray is a gorgeous palace style hotel on The Jumeirah Palm with a selection of different styles of restaurants on site and many more on The Palm. Breakfasts are buffet style, no good for coeliacs due to the threat of cross contamination but at Jumeirah hotel group this isn’t a problem. The Hotels are happy to send out a Chef to speak to you and make your breakfast separately. Most days I ordered a omelette with either cheese or veggies with pork bacon.

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Boiled eggs are available from the buffet in their shells and fried eggs can be made by the Chef. I did have sliced fresh fruit from the buffet as it was on a stand alone table away from contamination.

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I didn’t trust the cheese table as the utensils were open to be used for other things. Cheese was available from the Chef. Don’t be afraid to ask as you are paying the same price as the other guests! Gluten free bread was available on request, I don’t eat this as I’m yeast intolerant so I cannot comment on its quality.

Lunches are available at most of the restaurants, once again I asked to speak to a Chef who would go over in person choices etc. There was a mistake once with a fruit vinegar dressing but I spotted it straight away and it was quickly sorted.

Evening meals were sensational the newly opened Rib Room was perfect for gluten free eating. Chef Anjan Kumar really went the extra mile at every meal. We visited here 3 times because we were looked after so well. I can recommend the grass fed steak. The Chef was happy to make me duck fat gluten free chips and on our last visit sent out some complimentary ones. The first evening we were there it was a special press night, as The Rib Room had only been open for a week.

 

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We also visited the Turkish restaurant, the Lebanese restaurant in the hotel and the Sultans lounge. There wasn’t a huge choice for me as I am intolerant to yeast, onion and garlic. But what I had was delicious including grilled sea bass, hullomi with grilled aubergine or cucumber and tomato , hummus and whole grilled prawns. Grilled chicken salad and lobster salad. Once again the Chef came out to go through the menu and help me decided what to choose.

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The Cycle Bistro was somewhere I was very excited to visit. I had started to follow them on Twitter and Facebook and had been e-mailing the Chef. It is situated in Motor City an area of Dubai quite a drive from our hotel on The Palm. But worth the visit!

The Cycle bistro

The Cycle bistro

We went three times in a week. The paleo breakfasts were delicious and I felt very relaxed eating there.

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The staff were very friendly and we were made very welcome.

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My breakfasts arrived with salad and avocado . Yummy scrambled eggs with smoked salmon or bacon and my husband chose the steak and eggs which looked incredible. Such a huge choice of food including grain free pancakes, smoothies etc. With the added benefit of being much cheaper than a Hotel breakfast.

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Chef Chris Zerbe the brains behind this venture was friendly and very helpful, making sure I had a grain free packed lunch for both days that we attended the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi. My top tip- is to pack a soft cool bag and ice packs and ask your hotel to freeze them daily. Our hotel was happy to do this ensuring my lunch stayed cold on our journey. Try the sweet potato fries they are delicious any time of the day!

My packed lunch was an amazing grilled chicken grain free wrap with avocado and a side salad of mixed leaves and tomatoes.

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We also took some of Chef Chris’s paleo bars which were delicious and filling. This was the perfect lunch  to have at what was a very ‘gluten filled’ Grand Prix circuit.

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We went with a package with Red Bull as they had the best price package for the 4 days + garage tour and meet and greet with drivers in the Paddock club.

 

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Wedged between our two Abu Dhabi Grand Prix days was Saturday. We booked in advance to eat at Omnia Gourmet a restaurant at the fishing harbour Dubai , glad of the app on our phone we made our way in our hire car to the other end of Dubai a 45min trip. We were shown to an outside table looking out at the harbour.

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I’m sure the view of the harbour looks particularly beautiful in the day. Our waiter was very helpful and immediately offered to bring out the chef. Chef Curtis was from Leeds, England and went through the menu suggesting  how he could make me a meal avoiding all my intolerances . The menu contained a great deal of onion and garlic. Our starters were stunning Chef made me a starter portion of zucchini Linguini  with avocado pesto and cashew nuts it was a stunning starter. My husband was also blown away by his tuna nicoise salad the best he had ever had!

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For my main course Chef Curtis invented a special meal for me of Sea bream with an array of tiny vegetables. Beautifully presented and tasted great.

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I knew desserts were going to be fab from all the instagram pictures I had seen from back in the UK. We agreed we should share three desserts ( well we had come along way! ) Paleo Love a chocolate, cashew and pistachio slice which was dairy and gluten free. Orange and Almond cake which was gluten free and a slice of  Pecan pie. Coffee and tea is also available with dairy free options I choose Coffee with almond milk.

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The desserts were so good we took two gluten free chocolate brownies back to the hotel for our packed lunches the next day.

Omnia Gourmet

Omnia Gourmet

The staff were all very friendly. The head waiter was Daniel who deserves a special mention as does Chef Curtis who went the extra mile to make our meals real show stoppers. More restaurants are in the pipeline including a fine dining restaurant and a burger restaurant. The head Chef Silvena Rowe was not at the restaurant on the night we visited which was a great shame, as I would loved to have met her. Maybe next time!

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I wish these two restaurants were in my local town in the UK I would eat there all the time!

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was something I will never forget and watching Lewis Hamilton win the championship made it extra special. We saw Jenson Button up close as our seats were directly behind position 6 on the grid looking on to the pit wall. We watched as he shock hands with the entire team before the race got underway, which seemed to show that he didn’t expect to be back next year, A great shame!

During our meet and greet with Red Bull we met Christian Horner, Jean Eric Verne and the ever smiley Daniel Ricciardo. We were able to look down on to the pits from the paddock club and watch the Sky team in action on practice day ( Friday )

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For winter sun and delicious gluten free and free from food I can thoroughly recommend Dubai. A beautiful 28c during the day cooling down in the evenings from about 5.30pm .

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Follow Omnia Gourmet on Instagram 

Follow The Cycle Bistro Twitter here

 

Blog post from the archives Gluten free Dining in Dubai January 2014 click here