Surviving gluten free at Le Mans 24hr race

This was to be our first visit to the Le Mans 24hr race but we have been away to other motor racing events like grand prix’s and my experience has been that there has been little or no options for those on a gluten free diet. We were due to be away for 5 days so I knew I had to be very organised about my food.

 

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We had hired a caravan for the trip which had a fridge. This made food choices much easier as you can pack fresh veggies and meat, cheese etc. I decided my best option was to make a selection of gluten free and grain free bakes which I would freeze and take for the trip. I made a grain free fruit and chocolate loaf

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and some yummy gluten free cheese scones.

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No trip would be complete without a homemade cake, I chose a grain free Mocha cake which I made the day before we left and stored in an airtight plastic box.

 

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I decided that as well as fresh food I would prepare for any eventuality and take tinned food, just in case! I bought tinned tuna, sweetcorn, peas and carrots, new potatoes, spam, corned beef, tinned tomatoes and soup. For a treat I took chocolate and hazelnut grain free granola, I ran out of time to make homemade granola.

 

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I filled the fridge with gluten free cold meats, cheese, butter, bacon, gnocchi, regular milk and almond milk. There was limited space in the small caravan fridge so I took two cool bags with plenty of cold packs full of fresh fruit and veggies, eggs and the frozen bakes.

Bottled water is always expensive at these venues so I went prepared with lots of small bottles of still and sparkling water.

All prepared and packed we set off on our first caravan trip.

Our trip was full of adventures I could tell you some stories! Suffice to say we have learnt lots of lessons for our next towing experience.

We had a few issues with our van fridge too and next time I would check the temperature more often on our journey to Le Mans and use some cool packs inside the fridge to help keep the temperature cool enough ( our electric connection to the caravan was faulty due to a mistake on our part )

Our camp site was on the Porsche curves 2 mins from the track. We booked with Village on the curves with Lycian Events I can recommend, well worth spending a little more for secure site with 24hr security and good quality loos and showers, even a ladies pamper tent with power and hairdryers etc. Power for recharging phones too.

 

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We arrived on thursday evening in time to watch some racing just moments from our van. After a night of  horrendous thunder storms we woke to damp cloudy day.

 

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Friday was no racing so we took the free site mini bus into the main arena and dived into the Le Mans museum during a heavy shower. I had packed a picnic and snacks for the day in a back pack with a cold pack and I was so relieved I had as there was absolutely nothing for me to eat. On offer was gluten filled baguettes and sausage, burgers or pulled pork in a bun and fries.

I tucked into a homemade cheese scone or two, salad, crisps and cubes of cheese. I really didn’t feel as if I was missing out.

 

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For treats during the day I took along paleo bars, bananas, apples and some kit kat style chocolate bars. The Mocha cake I saved for down time in the caravan as it doesn’t transport well in a back pack.

A wander through the pits and garages followed, always my favourite bit.

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The weather was damp but this hadn’t put the racing fans off. Twice the number of people who attend Glastonbury attend Le Mans although it never felt overly crowded.

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Saturday was bright and sunny and we started the day as we did every day with a big cooked breakfast. Cheese and spinach omelette was my favourite. I also had a slice of fruit and chocolate bread every morning knowing this big breakfast would keep me going all day.

 

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It was good to be able to have a Pimm’s on site watching the races, champagne was also on offer!

We stood on the bank of the Porsche curves to watch the start of the 24hr race. Such a good vantage point and no travelling.

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We watched the race from different parts of the track and sheltered from the sun for a while in the site marquee watching on the big TV’s provided. I took along a small container of almond milk so that I could order a tea from the on site caterers.

 

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We took deck chairs and warm tops up to the bank to watch the night racing, a brilliant experience.

Evening meals went well in the caravan

steak with veggies

steak with veggies

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some emergency tins had to be used

tinned corned beef with fresh potatoes and asparagus

tinned corned beef with fresh potatoes and asparagus

 

tinned tuna and sweetcorn with rice

tinned tuna and sweetcorn with rice

Sunday we were up at dawn to watch the racing ( we could obviously hear it all night ) Still managed to get some sleep.

Later we took the onsite mini bus to near the Dunlop bridge to watch more of the race. We made our way to the finish line for the final few minutes where we watched Porsche’s win and award ceremony.

 

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During the trip I never felt hungry or worried about what I could eat. Going prepared was the best way to have an enjoyable time. It takes a little more organisation but well worth it to save anxiety.

I had a chat with the manager of the onsite catering who said they could cater for me another year If I emailed a few months ahead of the race. I had a quick look through at the make shift kitchens and feel that the cross contamination issue would worry me too much. My husband and our friends enjoyed all the food they had on site and well worth it if you don’t have food intolerances, allergies or Coeliac disease.

 

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We loved our experience at Le Mans 24hr race and I’m sure we will be back next year.

 

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Go on!  why not have a gluten free adventure too

Gluten free at Big Church Day Out

On a sunny Saturday in May my sister and I packed up the car and took a drive down to Wiston house, a beautiful stately home in West Sussex for Big Church Day Out.

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Big Church Day Out is a gathering of Christians from around the UK and Europe. Now in its 7th year BCDO has coined the phrase ‘A celebration of all that is good’

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This was my first visit to BCDO and I would describe it as a music festival with Christian music from ever genre. An opportunity to hear the very best christian rock, folk, jazz , pop, classical, dance, soul, gospel reggae, singer song writers and worship bands from across the world. A number of big names from The States playing a big part in the weekend. click here for acts > BCDO ARTISTS

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The festival is very much a family day with a fab marque area for Big Church Kids,and a soft play tent for the under 7’s. A Big Church fete on the stunning front lawn of Wiston house offered village fete fun.

 

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The avenue was the place to find delicious food. I was very pleased to see gluten free, vegetarian and vegan clearly marked in the programme. These stalls were listed as offering gluten free options- Tasty Thai, Jumping bean burrito, Woodburn Racletterie , Goodness gracious, Healthy foods and Goan fish curry. There was also gluten free biscuits available in the tea tent. Next year I would really like to see a 100% gluten free food stall including some dairy free options.

 

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I choose to pack a gluten free picnic for BCDO there was plenty of places to sit and enjoy your own food.

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Make sure to take a big blanket to sit and listen to the varied music acts. With a choice of the Main stage, Illuminate stage and on ( what looked like ) the croquet lawn by the Tear fund tea tent  surrounded by the beautiful gardens of Wiston house.

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There was plenty of places to find something to drink, coffee stalls and the tea tent along with a Pimm’s tent and an Ale tent. At the Tear fund Tea tent there was soya milk as a dairy alternative. I would love to see almond milk available next year. Plenty of water and juices available too.

 

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I packed boiled eggs, sliced peppers, tomatoes and celery. homemade gluten free cheese scones and cold meats along with some gluten free crisps from Seabrooks and a large bar of Green & Blacks dark chocolate. The day was sunny and warm and a picnic was the perfect choice for my sister and I.

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The highlights for me on Saturday were Martin Smith both his set at the Tear fund tent and on the main stage , The Abrams brothers and NeedtoBreathe.

 

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I returned on Sunday and my highlights were Switchfoot and Rend Collective.

 

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The site is not flat so be prepared for some walking. One particularly large hill leads up to the fete and the tea tent and church. Well worth the hike!

I must mention my fellow festival ‘Big Day Out’ goers, the friendliest happiest crowd I have ever had the pleasure of spending a weekend with. So much so, that on Sunday I went back the the festival on my own, not something I would do at any other festival. But I never felt alone, we danced and sang together and worshiped our Amazing God and it was fantastic!

 

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Big thanks to Tim Jupp and team for a wonderful weekend

I will certainly be back next year!

 

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Follow Big Church Day Out Twitter here > @bigchurchdayout

Website here >  bigchurchdayout.com

 

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Facebook > Big Church Day Out

 

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My top tip –  buy your tickets Early for the best price tickets. I paid £40 for an Adult weekend ticket. Super Early bird price was £36 for the entire weekend!

Watch  BCDO video 

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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.

 

Free From Christmas festival

Yesterday Sunday 14th December was the very first Free From Festival in London. Organised by Freefromfestival The venue was BL_NK in Old street, East London and had an entrance fee of £5 which could be purchased online or at the door. It was a cash only event with live music and stalls open from 10.30 until 5.30pm Offering all kinds of free from products, dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, wheat free etc

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My gluten free purchases.

 

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Bread from Romeo’s Bakery.

 

I bought my tickets in advance and then also won a couple more just a few days before the event. When I realised where in London it was I nearly decided not to go, its quite a trip from Dorking Surrey! But my husband kindly offered to drive me as he was also keen to come along.

We arrived in east London at 11.30am on the most beautiful sunny day, extremely cold and blustery but a lovely day for a drive through the centre of London and over Tower bridge. I took in all the sights as if I was on a sight seeing tour bus.

Parking proved to be very easy, we found a free parking space in an adjacent road. BL_NK was quite easy to spot on Old street but there were no Free From Festival signage. There was though a welcomer who was on the door to make sure you didn’t miss the venue. It would be good to see a large banner next year. I’m sure more people would have come in, if it had been more clear what was going outside.

Outside were 3 stalls, I felt for them because it was bitterly cold. A stall selling the most delicious looking buckwheat pancakes with delicious savoury and sweet fillings available.

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A wine stall called L’ATYPIQUE

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Selling natural wines @LATYPIQUEWINES

and a Polenta stall selling hot sliced polenta La Polenteria  I didn’t explore the stall which I regret .

 

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The extreme cold and wind drove us inside quickly. After checking out the website today, I wish I had tried some. Maybe next year!

Inside in the warm were some interesting looking stalls. It was as I had expected, relatively small. But this was the first year and I’m sure by next year year there will be more stalls eager to be part of this exciting event so near to Christmas. A perfect opportunity to show off your Christmas products etc.

Freego  a gluten free online shop offering ‘the worlds best gluten free’ They search out the best gluten free products to offer on the site. At the festival there were mince pies, christmas puddings, bread mixes and posh chocolates that were also dairy free. There were samples of things to try including the mince pies which were very good. This is a site I haven’t used yet, but after chatting yesterday I certainly will go online and have a look.

 

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Romeo’s gluten free bakery The bread looked absolutely delicious there was an array of sizes and types of bread including onion, seeded, foccacia etc. I bought two small loaves for the family. Unfortunately I am also yeast intolerant so I couldn’t try the bread but my son and husband said it was some of the nicest gluten free bread they had tried. We wish we had bought far more to put in the freezer.

 

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Mini Magoos is allergy free award winning cereals . We bought some granola to try which looked very nice. The main ingredient appears to be toasted coconut flakes with blue agave nectar, almonds etc

 

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Conscious Organic raw chocolate had five new flavours to try and buy. with an offer if you bought 4 bars , So I did!

All chocolate is gluten free dairy and refined sugar free. some are sweetened with rice syrup some with agave nectar .

 

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Elvira’s secret pantry was an artisan italian bakery gluten free, dairy free and yeast free. Also some cakes were made using birch sugar ( xylitol ) I chose a selection of 3 mini cakes in a beautiful box . The pumpkin and chocolate cake I found quite dry and crumbly, I preferred the carrot and pistachio cake which was a little more moist . Elvira also sold quiches etc and other savoury products which looked very nice. All products were well displayed and presented.  The cakes contain lots of veggies, nuts etc . You can find Elvira at Crystal palace food market.

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Pistachio and carrot cake

Pistachio and carrot cake

 

Foodamentalists I have been following this company for a while now on Twitter but not managed to meet the man behind this exciting company so it was good to meet Steven and have a chat about the company and plans for the future. The company is 100 % gluten free . The stall was packed with delicious looking products from sweet christmas treats like mince pies and Christmas cakes, savoury pies and delicious looking pork pies. A selection of foodamentalists mixes to were for sale. Worth coming to the festival for this stall alone! We chose lots of goodies to take home for the freezer and Christmas goodies to eat over the next couple of weeks. Including a very lovely looking Christmas cake.

 

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Love bites A raw organic vegan stall, selling fresh salads, juices and chocolate tart. Can you guess what I chose!

 

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Antillia delights a stall selling a selection of well labeled wheat free, gluten free and dairy free bakes. My worry here was that the wheat free products were made using organic Spelt flour . I queried this at the time and checked again on twitter today. My understanding is that spelt flour is still considered a type of wheat ! I was also then concerned about the gluten free cakes being made in the same location. I was given a helpful reply on twitter from @antilliadelight ” GF items are prepared apart from WF items and as GF is a very serious concern extra caution is taken to prevent cross contamination”

I didn’t feel confident at the time to buy anything from this stall although everything looked very good and well displayed.

LiveSmart 360 chocolate with a purpose…. this was a stall selling chocolate with extra health benefits. This was very expensive. not really sure about this.

As with most gluten free and free from products all the stalls were quite pricey with the exception of Foodamentalists who were good value for money.

Would I visit again next year? Yes,  I think I would make the trip if I knew there were a few more stalls confirmed . I would be particularly be interested in a grain free low sugar stall. Possibly a bigger venue might be needed too.

 

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We queued outside for one of the buckwheat wraps. Mine had egg, cheese and spinach. Really delicious and thrilling to be able to eat out from a stall, with so many intolerances this Never happens.

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We took them back inside and listened to more live music. They were really delicious and perfect on a freezing day.

Follow Free from festival Twitter here > freefromfestival

Facebook > freefromfestival

Here’s hoping for an even bigger and better event next year

 

 

 

 

 

Pure Taste a new Paleo and gluten free restaurant in London

  • Unfortunately this restaurant has now closed 

Yesterday marked the beginning of an exciting new restaurant in London. A Paleolithic restaurant that is 100 % gluten free . The brain child of this exciting project is Holly Redman a nutritional therapist and chef  who started her dream with a pop up restaurant in Sussex . Due to its success Holly decided to take the brave step of searching for a property in London near good transport links where she could bring this paleo fine dining experience to more people. Many of us have been watching with great interest and excitement about this venture, so much so that we invested in her Kickstarter appeal and as part of that we were offered a launch meal for two when the restaurant opened.

 

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Well that day finally came yesterday when the doors of Pure Taste opened to the Kickstarter backers for the very first time. A party to celebrate this exciting project coming to reality for Holly and her team.

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Now they say location, location , location and this restaurant is really in the perfect position on Westbourne Grove. Amongst restaurants and some lovely shops an easy walk from Notting hill gate tube station.

A small ( from the outside ) restaurant opening up to a large dining area further back and a bar and then further seating downstairs. The large window looks through to smart lighting and small tables and beautiful art work and Pure Taste lettering on the wall as you enter.

 

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For our evening the room was arranged with two oblong tables and one circular one making for a social  dining experience. My guest for the evening was my dear friend Liz who kindly joined me, as my husband was away on business. Liz is following a low carb high fat diet and avoids gluten and strives to eat healthily avoiding refined sugar too, making her the perfect plus one.

 

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We were offered a glass of bubbly and chose seats near to the live music that would accompany our evening. A duo of spanish guitar and singer followed by a lady with a beautiful voice on guitar.

We were first served a canapé at the table. I had chosen the pumpkin falafel with tahini and lemon dressing. It was full of flavour and I could definitely of eaten quite a few of these! Liz opted for the canapé quail scotch egg which she said was delicious.

 

pumpkin seed falafel

pumpkin seed falafel

 

canapè quails egg

canapè quails egg

Next a pre starter an individual beetroot ‘raviloi’ with tarragon cashew cheese, yellow pepper sauce and pistachios served on a tiny plate. Again the flavours were sensational We had actually forgotten what was in this dish so we asked our waiter if he could go through the ingredients. Something I think is a nice touch at a fine dining restaurant.

 

beetroot ravioli

beetroot ravioli

For my starter I chose the pan fried wood pigeon breast with roasted beetroot, walnut and watercress. Probably something I wouldn’t normally chose on a menu but very glad I did. well presented and seasoned a lovely dish.

 

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Liz chose the chicken liver and bacon terrine, with rosemary plantain crackers and seasonal leaves. I have to say I was a wee bit jealous of this stunning starter. Unfortunately it contained chives and I wasn’t sure how I would react with them so avoided. I did however ask it I could try a rosemary plantain cracker and generously a tray of them came straight out to our table. Liz loved her starter, possibly her favourite course I think served with a glass of red wine it did look good!

 

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My main course I had pre ordered the oven roasted Loch Duart salmon with orange and coriander cauliflower pilaf. Mine came without the onion and garlic, I instead had an extra burst of fresh herbs, I added a little extra pink himalayan salt and pepper to mine which I felt it needed but otherwise the salmon was cooked to perfection and it was a very pretty plate of food. Liz chose the canon of venison, brussels sprouts with bacon and boulangère jerusalem artichokes and a red wine jus. This looked very good and I hear tasted very good too.

 

Salmon

Loch Duart Salmon

 

venison

canon of venison

For pre dessert everyone was given a small shot glass of mulled wine sorbet, there was mixed opinion on our table but Liz enjoyed her and said it was like Christmas in a glass. Sadly due to the wine content I could try the sorbet.

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For a while I was forgotten but eventually some delicious marshmallows covered in toasted almonds were brought out for me, which I was able to share with my guest. I wasn’t blown away by the taste of these but the texture was very good  and to have a different type of treat was nice, although I would have preferred a sorbet.

 

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Dessert always for me anyway is a disappointment when eating out as usually only offered a fruit platter and occasionally a fruit sorbet. Gluten free puddings in restaurants are almost non existent . But Not here! There was a choice of Chocolate tart with cacao nibs and goji berries and caramelised banana ice cream and dark chocolate lattice all dairy and gluten free of course. It doesn’t get much better than that. Also Clementine and almond cake warm winter fruit salad and vanilla cashew nut ice cream. Again gluten and dairy free. Both desserts were well presented, I opted for the chocolate tart and so we could try both Liz chose the cake. Neither of us were disappointed . Both preferring our own choice and both agreeing that the size of the portion was just too big for a fine dining experience. Seams a strange thing to say I mean who doesn’t want a large slice of chocolate tart ! It just was not balanced with the rest of the meal. Notwithstanding this the desserts were delicious and possibly one the best dessert I have eaten in a restaurant since being gluten free.

 

chocolate tart

chocolate tart

 

clementine and almond cake

clementine and almond cake

The meal finished with a plate of petit fours to share, little squares of hazelnut chocolate fudge and wait for it! Maple glazed donuts, yes really tiny bite sized treats which were delicious. If only I hadn’t eaten all that chocolate tart I may of had room for more than one. These were served with coffee or tea dairy free milk of course.

 

petit fours

petit fours

The evening was a great success, I’m sure a real learning experience for the waiting staff . I look forward to booking up again in a few months when the restaurant has been open for a while .

The menu I hear will constantly change ever couple of months with seasonal choices and new creations from Holly I’m sure.

A big thank you especially to Sharon who made us both feel very welcome and made sure my food intolerance’s were past on to Holly.

Congratulation Holly on making your dream a reality the food was delicious and inventive and I look forward to future visits to your Paleo fine dining restaurant. Thank you for the extra effort you went to with my meal it was much appreciated.

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If you live in London or can come down for a visit why not book up to eat at Pure Taste restaurant and see and taste for yourself this exciting and delicious food.

Pure Taste can be found at 115 Westbourne Grove London W24UP

You can book a table now here> Pure Taste < Open from 3rd December

Follow on Facebook 

and Twitter

and Instagram

The restaurant caters for Low FODMAP, Paleo, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, vegan, grain free, low carb etc

A fine dining experience for everyone!

> Menu <

Visit Website here Puretasterestaurant.com

 

 

I was not paid to do this review and was there as a Kickstarter backer,

photographs taken on camera phones by myself and Liz

 

Worthing’s newly opened gluten free Café and Bakery

Yesterday I drove down to the Sussex coastal town of Worthing. It was a beautiful warm sunny day for the 1st day of October, making it a very pleasant drive. Ably assisted by my Sat Nav , I located the cafe easily and parked just down the road in a small car park.

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The Sussex bread company cafe and bakery are on a busy road next to shops and language schools. It is also opposite Worthing Museum which helps to locate this new venture.

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Sussex bread company cafe and bakery opened its doors on Saturday, so this was only the morning of day 4! I was greeted warmly by Jane one of the owners and after a quick look around I was offered the table by the window to enjoy my freshly made coffee. Dairy alternatives are available lactose free milk or almond milk etc.

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Along with my coffee I decided on a savoury cheese and tomato muffin.

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This can be served cold or warm. I chose to have mine cold and it was delicious,  But next time I think I would have it warmed up.

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The cafe and bakery is set in a really quirky building with lovely lighting and considering it has only been open a few days it is certainly really starting to come together. Its wooden floors and small wooden cafe tables and wire crates and flour bags give it a rustic feel . I also noticed how clean the cafe was, and although not a huge selection of food how well it was displayed. Bearing in mind this is the first week of opening, I imagine more choices will gradually be added.

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There was a good selection of quiches which can be taken away or eaten in with a green salad and coleslaw. Filled Firle Focaccia looked very inciting . Displayed on the stand were gluten free custard tarts, brioche and savoury muffins. Freshly made cheese straws were also on offer, they did look very delicious.

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Along with Anzac biscuits and chocolate meringues. I would love to see a second choice of biscuit maybe that doesn’t contain gluten free oats. Something I try and avoid. I think I could have been very easily tempted with a gluten free chocolate cookie or similar.

The fantastic thing is that the cafe and bakery are 100% gluten free No need for food to be covered or segregated to avoid gluten contamination. You can eat everything! I liked the fact that no big deal is made of the fact that everything is gluten free. It does mention it on the flyer by saying With love, not gluten. This hopefully will give Sussex bread company more of a chance of breaking into the cafe market.

 

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The bakery has been up and running awhile in Worthing serving the south east coast with fresh homemade gluten free bread. It has now moved to the premises here at the cafe meaning fresh artisan bread available every day except when the cafe is closed on a Sundays.

Hove organic flax and sunflower loaf an everyday seeded loaf,

Shoreham white Cob

and Firle Focaccia.

The Brighton is a mediterranean loaf available in two sizes but not available when I was there.

All named after places along the Sussex coast.

All these loaves can be ordered online from sussexbreadcompany  <click on the link 

So even if you are not within driving distance you can still sample this artisan gluten free bread.

As I am not able to have yeast I asked a number of gluten and gluten free friends and family to taste test the breads I had brought back.

The Firle Focaccia went down well “good flavour”  “lovely warm”  one thought it was ” a little dry and crumbly”  But a newly diagnosed gluten intolerant friend thought it was  “fragrant and aromatic with a nice consistency ”

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The Focaccia contains buckwheat,tapioca and rice flour. Free range eggs, olive oil, milk, psyllium husk, yeast, sugar, salt and rosemary.

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I hear it was very good with a good olive oil and balsamic vinegar!

This loaf was £3.90

The Shoreham Cob loaf had some good reviews too.

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“A good crunchy crust and toasts very nicely”

“the bread holds together well so its good for breakfast with peanut butter etc”  ” not too crumbly”

“preferred this toasted”   “had rather an odd smell, but tasted good with crispy crust ”

The Cob contains buckwheat, tapioca and rice flours , psyllium husks,olive oil, xanthum gum, yeast, sugar,salt, and vit c.

This loaf cost £3.20

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One of my reviewers made this yummy looking open salmon sandwich using the gluten free Cob loaf.

I froze the leftover bread in slices for easy use in the future. The bread doesn’t contain lots of additives so is best eaten straightaway or frozen. The Focaccia is best warmed with a sprinkle of water. I wrapped it in tin foil to avoid it drying out.

When I next pop down I hope to buy the Hove and the Brighton for family and friends to try.

 

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The cafe and bakery had a steady flow of people through the door while I was there. A great start

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If you are local to the Sussex area or holidaying on the Sussex coast do make a bee line for this cafe and bakery on Chapel road opposite Worthing Museum and just down the road from Connaught Theatre and cinema.

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Do spread the word to fellow Coeliacs, gluten intolerant family and friends or simply those who love a good cup of coffee and some good quality artisan bread and tasty treats.

In the short term remember to take cash as the till is not up and running yet.

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I look forward to visiting again in a few months to see how things have progressed . All the very best Sussex bread company in your new venture.

Follow on twitter @sussexbreadco

Facebook sussex bread company

Website   sussexbreadcompany.com < click here to take you to the website

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I was not paid to do this review and bought my own gluten free goodies to eat in and take home.

 

Winner of 2014 World Bread Award #glutenfree for their Bracklesham Brioche burger buns 

 

Sussex bread company online –

Bracklesham Brioche Buns 

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This month ( December 2015 ) I ordered 12 Bracklesham brioche buns for my nephews birthday party . They arrived on time , but one of the bags had split in transit. I think the bags need to be thicker. On lifting them out of the box I noticed how heavy they felt. The open bag didn’t seem to have had any adverse effect on the 6 rolls they were lovely and fresh.

Sadly once opened the Bracklesham Brioche buns were not the light brioche style rolls I was expecting. I still served them at the gluten free party of 12 adults, to go with pulled pork . They did not prove popular and were described as heavy , dense , crumbly and more like an english muffin and definitely not a brioche. I’m sorry to say I won’t be ordering them again. They were not cheap at £9 for 6

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Some family took the leftover buns home and used them like crumpets/english muffins toasting them and adding cheese. They said they were much better eaten like this.

Norfolk’s gluten free one stop shop

PLEASE NOTE THIS SHOP HAS NOW MOVED TO 21 TIMER HILL NORWICH

Click here to read the new review of shop and cafe   February 2016

 

Recently  I was able to visit the newly opened The Gluten free shop in Norwich, Norfolk.  Situated at Hellesdon Barns NR6 5BB

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Louisa Kiddell opened her shop in July this year when a unit became available at Hellesdon Barns. The one stop shop is compact but crammed full of every imaginable gluten free product, both local, small brands and big name companies on the shelves. Its an Aladdin’s cave of treasures. You could be completely over whelmed. Far superior  to the one small section we usually find in a supermarket. Here you can eat everything, in moderation obviously!

As you walk in you are greeted by Louisa who’s warm friendly personality just makes the shopping experience even more enjoyable. We had to stop chatting after a while just so I could focus on the huge selection of both fresh, chilled , frozen and boxed products . It was a great opportunity to stock up on my gluten free products and bulk buy gluten free bread and bagels to put in the freezer for the family.

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There is a brightly coloured black board as you enter and the local village shop feel runs through the entire shop with wooden crates displaying products.

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You really are spoilt for choice.

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Fresh bakery bread, bagels and rolls comes from Wheat free bakery in Scotland and tastes as good as regular bread.

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Self service dispensers hold a selection of gluten free flour

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Freshly made cakes, doughnuts, tarts etc are on display and very tempting. The chiller is full of gluten free pies and sausage rolls.

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The gluten free shop is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5.30pm and Sunday 11am to 3pm . The gluten free shop is closed on Mondays. Its well worth doing a big shop and freezing some. The fresh bread, bagels etc freeze very well.

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So if you find yourself in Norfolk, take a drive to Norwich and Hellesdon Barns and stock up on all your gluten free products, lets support this new venture!

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Website norfolkglutenfree.co.uk 

follow on Twitter @thatsglutenfree 

Directions to store

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Allergy and Free From Show 2014

Today was the first day of the Free From fair at the grand hall Olympia. I took the train from Surrey and arrived not long after the show opened. The venue this year is lighter and much bigger than last year, making it a much nicer experience.

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I would still suggest arriving early so you get the benefit of plenty of samples and time to talk to stall holders. The Free From section are all together making it easier to locate your favourite products. It is definitely worth bringing a backpack or trolley to take home all your goodies. Plastic bags soon get very heavy. Also something I forgot! a cool box for some of the fresh produce like Pudology puds, lots of pizza’s pies, sausages etc. Being such a hot weekend warm sausages are no fun! I didn’t risk taking any home.

My gluten free stash !

My gluten free stash !

All your favourite brands are at the fair, the big companies like Udi’s Newburn Bakehouse, Sainsbury’s etc and plenty of smaller independent companies.

new gluten free Oreo style biscuits

new gluten free Oreo style biscuits

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easy bean

easy bean

Helen's

Helen’s

UGG foods

UGG foods

Isabel's

Isabel’s

Do support these small businesses as without our support we will just be left with the huge companies producing often poorer quality products.

My must visits are –

 Isabel’s , free from products including Dough ball mix made from cassava flour, Pizza mix, batter mix etc

nâkd bars made using cashews and dates, some good offers at the show

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Easy bean New crispbreads 3 new flavours made from chick pea flour

Bakestone bakery making Welsh cakes Dairy and Gluten free

welsh cakes

welsh cakes

Helen’s mixes including bread, pastry etc

UGG foods more cake mixes but these are grain free and paleo. Very excited by these .Hope to review them soon

Delicious Alchemy for mixes, muesli, porridge etc

Perkier for gluten free porridge, tiffin and rocky road

PERKIER

PERKIER

There are many different exhibitors at the Allergy and Free From Fair I’m sure you will search out more gems!

 

I was able to meet up with fellow Free From Bloggers which made my trip even more worth while, it’s always good to put a face to a Twitter name.

Have a great time

Enjoy!

follow @allergyshow on Twitter

 

 

 

My gluten free holiday experience in Thailand

We decided to treat ourselves to a winter sun holiday, As always I was slightly nervous about eating away from the safety of my own kitchen, due to having Coeliac disease and being extremely intolerant to even the tiniest amount of gluten . Additionally I am intolerant to yeast ( vinegar, wine, soy etc ) and onions. The thought of some winter sun was enough to persuade me.

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Mr S booked to stay at W Retreat hotel in Koh Samui I left it up to him to chose a hotel and location in Thailand. I looked forward to it all being a surprise, I wasn’t so much surprised as shocked when we arrived at 10pm at the hotel. Dark, flashing lights and loud music greeted us after a 6hr flight. I thought we had arrived at a night club. where had Mr S booked!

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Sometimes its not good to make judgments immediately, especially after a long flight. The hotel looked very different in the day light, modern, trendy and very cool. Not what I was expecting from a Thailand hotel, but the longer we were there the more we both loved it.

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Our room was on the very highest level of the hotel complex, up a steep hill with 180 degree view of the coastline. Just amazing!

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A quick phone call and a friendly member of staff driving a golf buggy would appear to take you to and from your room to the beach, bar etc or you could brave the hills and many stair cases on foot. Not a hotel for someone with mobility issues of any kind, as there are not lifts to ever floor of the hotel.

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The bar area is situated on the top floor of the main hotel building, a DJ plays every evening here and the area takes on a club feel.

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The next level down is the main restaurant The kitchen table. This is where we went for breakfast everyday, you can chose between a buffet breakfast with as you can imagine everything you could possibly want for breakfast from a very british bacon and eggs to Asian food. We chose to eat a la cart which works out cheaper if you are only eating omelettes bacon etc and fruit or yoghurt, with tea or coffee. I had some delicious breakfasts at W, very thankful I can eat eggs.

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Lunch and evening meals are also available at this restaurant which has a open balcony ,if you chose to eat alfresco. A good choice of European and Thai food is on offer. I was able to enjoy steak, fish, prawns etc with delicious vegetables with mash or rice. There were many things I couldn’t have, chips, deep fried food etc But I was very happy to have the selection of gluten free food. I would loved to have seen just one gluten free pudding!

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The hotel has a food and drink Insider Sea Torres who is responsible for making sure your dining experience at the hotel is everything you hoped for. She made it her job to make sure she understood all of my intolerances and worked with the chefs and restaurant staff to make sure they understood my requirements. This made me feel very relaxed at meal times, something that rarely happens even in UK restaurants. Sea suggested we might like to do a cookery course with the chef.

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This turned out to be a great learning experience for both Chef Pepsi and ourselves. We made a ‘ free from’ thai green curry, chilli beef salad, coconut and chicken soup and sweet and sour prawns.

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During our stay at the hotel, Chef Pepsi invented a ‘free from’ Pad Thai and Thai veggie curry it was very nice to eat Thai food without worrying about becoming unwell.

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The hotel complex also had an infinity pool with sunbeds and bar.

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On a lower floor was the spa and gym. We enjoyed a couple of Thai massages and I also had a facial and manicure. Not cheap but, but similar to prices at home. Cheaper Thai massages were available on the beach at Chaweng just a short taxi ride away.

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The beach area was very quiet, and was made up of coarse sand containing crushed shells and coral in the sand. Chaweng beach a short drive away in the hotel shuttle bus has very fine sand but very busy.

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Towards the end of our stay we used the bar on the beach for lunch, unfortunately no gluten free food is available from the grill, but food can be ordered from the kitchen table which takes about 1/2 hr. I was able to enjoy some amazing salads.

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The food from at the restaurants was always very good, I can definitely recommend it as a place to eat safely with food intolerances. I suggest emailing ahead as we did.

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The signature restaurant at W Koh Samui is Namu a Japanese restaurant, located near the beach. We had 3 meals here and I was able to sample japanese food for the first time. The Sashima was very good. The Chef was very helpful and with the help of Sea , they suggested dishes I might like to try.

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The staff at W Retreat hotel were very friendly, many of the staff greeted us by name. I think I has become rather infamous! due to the food intolerances. But genuinely the Insiders and other members of staff really made our holiday in Koh Samui.

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A view of Chaweng beach

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High tide at Chaweng beach

The weather during our stay was mixed, the first few days were cloudy and windy but warm, gradually this improved and the final 6 days were sunny and warm with a more gentle breeze.

I took a business /intolerance card with me explaining all my food intolerances which seemed to be a great help to the restaurant staff. They stuck one up in both restaurants for my entire stay. English was spoken well by most of the Hotel staff so I had no need of a Food intolerance translation sheet on this holiday.

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W Retreat Koh Samui is part of Starwood Hotel group

Happy holidays!