Nothing would be worse than a bad meal for a birthday celebration - especially an important one like a 21st birthday. So we choose Kitchenette as we'd been before and they had been helpful adapting for allergies. This visit was no different. Henrietta can't have eggs or mushrooms, Molly is no milk, oregano, eggs plus low fat and low sugar, Conrad is milk intolerant, I'm egg, milk and gluten free. Julian is the only easy one to feed. So you can imagine the discussions we have in restaurants about cross contamination, not frying things in butter etc etc (I'm becoming more reluctant to eat out as its just a bit of a hassle). So I was more than a bit relieved when the manager understood our concerns, explaining his wife is gluten free so he knows very well about how careful restaurants need to be. Phew. Talking to someone who understands the language. First step passed.
So we duly arrived, grabbed our table and ordered drinks. Water for Molly as juice is too high in sugar for her reflux. Coke for Conrad as he's 17; soon it will be a beer but not just yet. Peach Bellini for the birthday girl - pronouced fabulous and a caraf of Sav Blanc for Ju and me. Now I really like the whole caraf of wine thing - you can order by the glass, get a bottle or a caraf. For us a caraf is perfect - a bottle is just a bit too much, and ordering by the glass is expensive if you have more than one. So loving the caraf option.
My only gripe with the menu is that the starters are very limited for anyone with our allergies. Molly had bread and olives, I had Beef Carpacio which was lovely - but the only thing Conrad and I can eat. Julian had a mountain of ham croquettes which were wonderful but a large portion even by his pro-croquette standards, and Henrietta had the Buffalo Mozzerella salad which has pesto over it so perfect. Main courses had more choice for us.
Molly opted for the saffron chicken stuffed with prunes. They were very good about making sure nothing was cooked in butter and suggested doing our side orders of beans and spinach in olive oil instead of butter. Perfect. Henrietta and I both opted for the confit of duck. No sauce for me please. Crispy skin on the outside; meat juicy and full of flavour served with a healthy portion of red cabbage. Toffee apples were taken off for me; Henrietta said they were lovely. Conrad opted for steak and chips which they cooked perfectly. Julian went for a lamb dish called Kul Basti (thinly sliced lamb with potatoes) which disappeared from his plate at an alarming speed!. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their meal and none of us were ill afterwards.
Saying that none of us were ill afterwards might sound like an odd thing to say; but so often one of us is quite sick after eating out. At the moment we're trying to figure out what's making Julian ill. Everytime he eats beef in a restaurant he's quite ill afterwards. So we're on the hunt for a spice or something that restaurants use on beef; as he's fine with chicken, fish or lamb and fine when we eat beef at home. But my point is - they must have taken our allergies seriously or one of us would have been ill.
Despite the limited choice of starters - this will be one of our favourite restaurants. And oh, the waitress was lovely and attentive. Particularly good with a hungry 9 year old girl!
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Allergy UK is a great charity providing information and help for people with allergies.
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Their number is: 01322 619 898
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