The new labelling laws continue to be a source of controversy within the catering community. Those of us who suffer from allergies are simply relieved that the law now says we have a right to know what’s in our food. I’ve been out a couple of times since the law changed and here’s how we got on!
Côte – Wimbledon
Every year we go to the panto in Wimbledon with two of Molly’s nursery friends and their mothers. It’s one of those situations where parents developed friendships as well as the kids, and 6 years’ on both the kids and adults still play together! Our annual panto trip to Wimbledon is a real treat. The challenge? Well…Molly is milk and egg allergic, one of her friends has an anaphylactic allergy to nuts and peanuts and the other child in a fish eating vegetarian (pescatarian?). You can imagine the fun we have finding a restaurant where we feel a) safe and b) everyone has a choice on the menu!
Côte it was. Partially because the atmosphere is so nice, and partially because of the Grills menu. If all else fails I can order Molly grilled chicken or a steak. Luckily they have a decent choice for the fish only eating crowd as well, for example – Moules, Tuna Nicoise, Spinach and Mushroom crepes, Risotto Vert – there’s more but you get the idea. So…a great choice.
I asked about an allergy menu. It was immediately supplied. Every dish being detailed with all the contents. Sadly the sauce for the Moules was pre-prepared so it couldn’t be adapted to be dairy free (we do the classic white wine version at home and had hopes!). And also sadly the Calamari had egg used as binder for the breadcrumbs. Not a huge surprise as that’s pretty standard operating practice. Molly ordered some olives and bread to keep her going while her friends both had the Calamari. The adults had hoped to pinch some of the Calamari but sadly it was deemed so delicious that the kids wouldn’t relinquish any. The mains were equally successful. The girls loved their Moules and the restaurant happily substituted the creamy potatoes with Molly’s Belly Pork for frites. They removed the crème fraiche puree but left the caramelised apples as requested. The dishes took a little bit of time to come as the waitress explained that Molly’s food would be prepared in a separate area to avoid cross contamination. In all my years’ I’ve never had a restaurant explain the procedures to ensuring that the food we received was safe. Very impressed with this.
Us grown- ups all ordered the same thing (!) Tuna Nicoise with frite on the side. Mine without egg of course. All came with a lovely piece of grilled Tuna (really quite rare – I think I’d ask for mine to be medium next time) and a nice crisp salad. All delicious. Everyone happy.
Desserts are usually where it all falls apart but Côte came through with dairy and egg free sorbets! A really great finish to a lovely meal.
The main waitress really knew her allergy stuff; one of the waiters was less sure and when we asked for the Allergy Menu for desserts he handed us the Gluten Free menu. He didn’t seem to know about the other menu so we ended up calling over our initial waitress to get things sorted out.
In summary – the menu is varied and the food delicious. Good options for allergy sufferers and some nice grills that will suite those who want to have fairly straightforward (no sauces etc.) food. Some staff are fully up on the allergy menu’s but not all. Might be an idea to ensure that all staff know about all the menus, even if there’s an ‘allergy specialist’ on shift.
Will certainly go again!
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