Monday, 7 July 2014

REVIEW Bakers & Co, Bristol


I bulldozed Bakers and Co to the top of my 'eating out in Bristol list' after I read this review by Avon Gorged.

Then I saw dishes containing avocado on their Twitter page. I have a bit of an avocado problem. And you hardly ever see it on menus - so it was decided.
I tweeted them beforehand to discuss my dietary requirements. The response was almost instantaneous and they were very lovely and helpful and suggested something I could have. I think it would have been a good touch to put a list together, rather than giving me one thing but the one thing was the dish with the avocado, so I let it slide.

We walked into a wall of noise and people at around 11.30am on a Saturday. I hadn’t realised brunch was so popular on the Gloucester road. We wondered if Bristol was always crying out for this sort of brunch and Bakers and Co had answered the call. Whichever it is, the small nooks of the restaurant were packed. People were sat expectantly around the open kitchen at the front, and on teeny tables in a corridor leading to the back of the building. The mish mash of patrons included ladies-what-brunch, couples our age also looking hungry and excited, a shoeless girl in a green snakeskin dress and the double buggy brigade who were eventually forced to reverse back out of the front door.

We checked out the simple menu (not online anywhere, very frustrating) and decided on a iced coffee, pork belly with potato hash and poached egg (him) and a tea with soya milk, huevos rancheros without the egg and tortilla, hash and avocado instead please (me) and attempted a conversation which relied heavily on lip reading.

My tea arrived in a cute blue teapot with a bright yellow mug. Mis-matched crockery is always gonna win my heart but unfortunately it was quickly lost again when the waitress told me there was no avocado left! She suggested that I have larger portions of the other items to make up for it. At this point we’d been inside the restaurant for about half an hour and my blood sugar was getting low. My husband, who likes noise and crowds as much as a child likes a dose of cod liver oil, was getting twitchy too. I'd been given a different tea to the English Breakfast tea I'd ordered and it was pretty unpleasant, but I couldn't flag down a waiter or waitress as they were so busy.

When we received our food, my husband launched straight into his pork belly before surveying my plate and giving me a pitying look. I think he said something like “well I guess that’s what happens when you order huevos rancheros without the egg”. Yeah, and this is what happens when you go for brunch when you can’t actually eat any brunch items…
Then he said “this is probably the best pork belly I’ve ever had. You should have ordered this”.

The main issue here is that the current menu relies heavily on lovely, runny poached eggs.  And I can’t eat eggs. I didn’t order to pork belly because it was just pork, eggs and hash. What I ended up with was salsa, refried beans and hash. All of which were OK. I wasn’t bowled over by them. 

In conclusion (after much waffling), I’d check this place out if you don’t mind eating amongst a throng of people, you like the sound of runny eggs and pork and you don’t have too many food intolerances!

Bakers & Co.
193 Gloucester road, Bristol, BS7 8BG

Monday, 23 June 2014

REVIEW Pizza Express


I found myself in a Pizza Express recently. Work booked a table there and had completely forgotten about my dietary requirements, so it was lucky that Pizza Express is so GF friendly.

I wouldn't normally choose to eat in a restaurant chain but I was grateful for the opportunity to try out the GF pizza and to order a beer with my meal.

I had a tomato and mozzarella salad to start - it was this olives or risotto - and it was pretty average. I was told I could choose any pizza from the Classic or Romana menu and I chose a Pollo Forza -
'A fiery pizza; chicken marinated in smoky chilli powder, garlic and dried chilli flakes with chargrilled red & yellow peppers, roquito peppers, mozzarella and tomato, finished with Gran Moravia cheese, parsley and chilli oil'.

The base was a great texture - thin and crispy, the way I like it. The tomato base had a strong, tomato puree type flavour. The toppings just seemed too salty and processed for my tastes. I ate it all but doubt I would order it again.

My Green's Pilsner was refreshing yet disappointingly didn't pair well with pizza. After all that I had no room left for a gluten free brownie which is probably a good thing as I'm meant to be staying away from egg.

Overall, a good attempt from Pizza Express, but did not live up to the hype.

Monday, 16 June 2014

REVIEW Milgi, Cardiff

If you love eating out but you are a bit tired and jaded by the experience, then Milgi is the place to check out.
Everything is vegetarian, most thing can be made gluten free and many things can also be made vegan.
We went here for my birthday and I'd planned to meet up with my Dad and have a spot of brunch. From the moment we arrived we felt comfortable and at ease. The sofas, bunting, soft lighting, grandma crockery and quirky details give the place a homely feel.

My heart was set on the breakfast before we arrived but once I saw the menu, it was tough to stick to my original choice. As you can see, the options are plentiful and this is definitely a rarity when you are steering clear of eggs and gluten!
My latte with almond milk (they have a range of dairy free milks) was fantastic - I wasn't sure a latte would work with almond milk but the foam was no different to a cow's milk latte.
My breakfast exceeded my expectations, the bean pattie and dhal were beautifully spiced and the whole dish was very satisfying, leaving me feeling energetic and more than ready for my birthday trip to the beach.
My Dad also had the breakfast (the standard, rather than vegan) and said it was great. I was waiting for a "where's the meat" comment but he seemed pretty happy! My hubby had the battered halloumi and remarked that it was surprisingly light and that he felt full but not at all like he'd just eaten a load of fried cheese!

As we ate the place filled up and by around 2pm (it was a Friday), every table was full. I'm guessing most of the punters were students as Milgi is in a big student area of Cardiff.
I get the feeling that Milgi was born on the desire to fill the customer full of hearty, healthy food - brain food for students and soul food for veggies and GFers!

I can't wait to go back and try the Sunday Roast, the paneer fritters, middle Eastern platter and the stunning sounding specials (which they update on the website, check for updates).

Thanks Milgi - we will be back!

213 City Rd, Cardiff, CF24 3JD

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

REVIEW Meluha, Bristol


Hubby's Main

My Main

My Gluten Free Naans


Me and my husband booked a table in Meluha as an anniversary treat. It was in the top 3 Bristol restaurants we've wanted to visit for a good while.

I'd seen other people's reviews of the gluten free food and I mentioned I was GF when I booked the table and the response was very positive. On Twitter, Meluha replied to a tweet I wrote about our anniversary saying that they loved occasions and I should let them know when our booking was.

A combination of these things meant that I was pretty excited when we arrived.

Firstly, I was a little surprised at the prices, for example £17 for some mains. I did some quick sums and worked out how much the meal would cost if we went ahead and ordered the amount we normally would. We under ordered as a result but thankfully we got plenty to eat and didn't leave hungry. We probably ordered the right amount - for once!

I tried to order a couple of things from the menu assuming that most things could be made GF. There is a line on the menu saying that special diets are catered for but no symbols next to the dishes. Our waiter (who was very helpful and nice) told me what I could eat from the menu which was disappointingly little. Most disappointing - no chocolate, honey and chilli naan! This was one thing that I was really looking forward to.

What I ended up with was actually superb. The quality of the ingredients, the ingenuity of the flavour combinations and the wow factor (for want of a better phrase!) is indisputable.

The spices in my main, 'flavoursome lamb in coconut gunpowder' were extremely well put together. The heat lingered in my mouth but didn't burn. The flavours were complex but not unusual or out of place. It is a beautiful dish that I would order again.

The gluten free naan bread was very flat, crispy yet bendy and buttery. Nice, but definitely not naan bread as I remember it. (My husband said his 'normal' naan was the best he's ever had. *Weep*)

I'd hoped for a few more surprises - some of the dishes come with foam, steam etc from what I've seen but apart from hubby's meat on dangly skewers, it was a fairly standard meal. We toasted our 5 years married but didn't get any acknowledgement from the restaurant, even though we'd spoken about it on Twitter.

This was a difficult review to write, because I know a lot of people love it here and it has won many awards. I've been as honest as possible and that's all I can do! Please leave me a comment if you've been as I'd love to know what other GFers think.

51 Park St,

Friday, 6 June 2014

Kabuto Gluten Free Noodles

My Review
I'm a little obsessed with noodles. It started when I worked from home for a couple of years. I would make a quick noodle dish for my lunch; Hot water over the noodles, then fry some spices and sweet chilli sauce in a little oil, add whatever meat/veg was in the fridge and serve together with oodles chilli oil.

I would use chopsticks too. I just love the whole experience of having a steaming bowl of noodles.
My office now doesn't even have a kitchen (I know, right?) and it has really limited my lunch options.

When Kabuto posted on twitter about their new gluten free noodles I was totally chuffed. I've seen their other products in local delis etc. Their packaging always stood out to me and the flavours sounded delicious. Then I found out that they are based in Bristol! Well, all the best people are.

They very kindly sent me a sample box and I was very happy to have lunch sorted for the week.
Kabuto pride themselves on being an 'instant noodle' without the nastiness you usually get and all those eco-unfriendly little bags of powder.

To prepare, you just add hot water, leave, stir, leave and then eat. Noodles in less than 4 minutes is something that I definitely approve of.

The noodles are made from rice and the flavours are as simple, modern and fuss free as the packaging. I enjoyed both the chicken and miso pots, with the miso (my first miso!) actually becoming a slight favourite.

I hope you'll check these out, they are fantastic to keep in your cupboard for 'just got back from the pub' situations and for desk lunches!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Gluten Free is a Fad

It was Coeliac Awareness week last week and the media seems to have responded to that this week with countless articles about gluten free being 'a fad'.

Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of a multi billion pound industry known as the pharmaceutical industry that has a huge amount of control over medical research and subsequent advice given out by GPs. Changing your diet to rid yourself of aches, pains and itches is flying in the face of this industry. It is more normal to seek medication to treat the symptom, rather than to examine what is going into the body and how that is affecting our health and wellbeing.

The gluten free food business is growing exponentially and is already worth £175 million in the UK alone. The 'overnight' rise of the gluten free food business is clearly causing some suspicion.

If we add up people with Coeliac disease, people with Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity, people who just feel like crap after eating bread and people who have done the research and found out how gluten messes with your blood sugar we have a huge market for gluten free food.

Demand is only going to increase as more people get diagnosed with Coeliac disease and the modern diet takes it's toll on our fragile bowels.

Going gluten free can make you feel better after years of pain, discomfort and embarrassment, and it is in no way an easy fix.

I'm sure you can still find one or two people in the world whose diet of the week is 'Gluten Free', accompanied with much eye rolling from the rest of the office.

I get told about these people all the time.
There was the woman who demanded everything gluten free from the kitchen then ordered a beer, there was the woman who was gluten free until she got pregnant and then it 'didn't matter as she was eating for two', there was the colleague who proudly cut out bread from their diet, then consumed countless doughnuts and biscuits.

I find it only mildly annoying that I'm associated with the above because I'm comforted every day when I remember how I used to feel and how great I feel now. And I'm reminded every now and then exactly why my 'lifestyle' is so important when I'm accidentally glutened.

Let me some it all up by saying - if I really had a choice...i.e. if I could choose the above bread rather than the below, if I could eat what I liked without any consequences, don't you think I would? I mean, you're basically accusing us of being a bit mental.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Eat a Pitta, Bristol


Look into my falafels, you are feeling hungry, very hungry.

Just £2.50 will get you an overflowing funtainer of felicious fluten free, fegetarian, freshly frepared, falafelly goodness from Bristol's Eat a Pitta.

From the website - 'Unless otherwise stated all our food is dairy free, nut free, gluten free, egg free and vegan friendly.'

You will find them in St Nicholas' Market Glass Arcade (food quarter) and, since a couple of months ago, in front of Boots in Broadmead.

Get in my face!

* Wheaty pitta breads are also available.