Eating out can be a difficult event for those with dietary requirements. The law requires that information on the Top 14 Allergens be available for customers. Most restaurants are really good about this, but some are getting nervous about cross contamination. We always check the menu before we go, and keep our ordering simple. It’s not really fair to expect a restaurant to create a dairy free cream sauce, it is fair for them to remember not to put butter on the vegetables!
There are types of restaurants we just don’t even try to go to – first off Chinese restaurant preserve their meat and poultry with egg. So nearly everything is off the menu for us, really no point in going. Similarly for Indian restaurants, the combination of our dairy, egg and my nut allergies just make it a bridge too far. I’m not risking our health over a curry.
The most important piece of advice I can give you is if you get into a restaurant and you don’t feel you are being listened to carefully get up and leave. You don’t owe them your custom, you do need to stay safe.
It important that we frequent those restaurants that welcome us all and make everyone feel safe. Its basic customer service so do let us know how you get on.
Here are our favourite restaurants for us allergy folk!
What’s not to love? Vegan pizza’s on the menu for those of us with dairy and/or egg allergies, gluten free options as well. We can add and take away items as needed with staff generally being incredibly helpful. They are very careful about cross contamination, and have a clear menu which shows key allergens. Most importantly they have a helpful notes section saying ‘suitable for ABC, if we remove XYZ’. That’s great – I’m often asking if the ‘egg allergy’ flag is still valid if the coleslaw, or mayonnaise if removed. Seems to cause confusion elsewhere so great to have it so clearly marked. If you’re feeling health conscious there are of course salads. One of our ‘go to’ places!
This is one of our new favourites to go to. It helps that the noodles in the dish, Pho, are rice based and the broth is naturally dairy free. They were very good about checking everything for cross contamination even though the dishes we ordered were dairy and egg free naturally. It’s lovely to have a choice of dishes to choose from that are dairy, egg and gluten free without alterations. I love adding the fresh herbs, it helps make the dish taste so fresh. For sure eating rice noodles with chopsticks isn’t the most elegant dining experience but I’ll live with the splashes of dropped noodles in return for such lovely food. Check out Pho – we think it’s great and loved our visit to their outlet in Westfield.
We went to Backyard Cinema in Wandsworth recently. Great venu, amazing experience…can’t recommend it more. We were even more delighted when we came across Honest Burger. To be blunt, we’ve fallen out of love with The Gourmet Burger Company. Recently the foods seems uninspired, and the restaurants catering more to Deliveroo then to those of us sitting waiting for our burgers. So we were feeling a bit jaded.
Honest Burger restored our faith in burgers. They have vegan options, but we like meat too. The biggest issue for us is that eggs are often added to burgers as a binding agent. Lucky Honest Burgers believe in having burgers made of meat, and nothing but meat. So the patties were fine for us. They were more than helpful about creating a meal we could eat – a normal pattie, with vegan cheese and a vegan burger bun. Amazing. Their burgers are really delicious, I was genuinely surprised at how good they were. The chips were great too. We will eat there again!
Okay…so its pretty limited in terms of options but these guys know their chicken! Despite being a pretty busy, quick, eatery they keep track of allergens really well. They even specify on their menu that you should let them know of any dairy allergies so they can cook your chicken on a part of the grill that have been designated dairy free. Its that level of concern that makes us love Nando’s – and the chicken wings are pretty damn fab too.
For the meat lovers – really delicious steaks, ribs and a nice selection of starters. We adore the salt and pepper grilled calamari. A great selection of cuts of meat to choose from, several veggie options and a great Asian Salad as well. Their double cooked chips are worth a visit alone in my view, but I’m overly fond of chips….This is a pretty safe option for us, mainly we just ask for the mayo or coleslaw to be removed and we’re good to go!
These guys take allergies seriously. All input onto the handset and usually a manager comes over to check it all out. They wipe down the cooking area to ensure no cross contamination so your food may take longer but who cares! They even have a lot of Vegan recipes which is fab for us. Makes ordering so much easier. They don’t have separate fryers so that is something to watch for (I’ve not come across separate fryers anywhere to be honest). Love the food, love the service.
As of October 16th Wagamama has made the decision to remove all peanuts from their recipes to make it an even safer environment for allergy sufferers. This is great news.
We came across Dirty Vegan in Westfields while we were hunting for a nice treat following a great lunch at Pho. We didn’t have far to look. Dirty vegan has, what looks like, a good range of burgers and sides catering to the Vegan community. They were very helpful about allergies, and their desserts were safe for us. The best thing, in Molly’s opinion, was the soft serve vegan ice cream. She’s never had soft serve ice cream before so she was over the moon to find it. Combined with a vegan brownie and vegan chocolate sauce she was as excited as a teenager can be! Maybe not jumping up and down in public but internally she was doing the happy dance. The dessert was delicious. Everything you could hope for!
We were in town getting Molly’s phone fixed after a tragic drop and smash event. While we waited for Ismash to fix her phone we came across Amorino at 67 Kings Road. Expecting the usual answer to ‘are any of your sorbets dairy and egg free?’ we popped in. But WOW. Molly had a choice of what to eat…an actual choice…too many vegan options to have in one visit.
I realise to most people this doesn’t sound like a big deal. Visit an ice cream cafe, choose what looks nice and voila a lovely family treat. But for us it’s not so simple.
So coming across Amorino was such a wonderful surprise. Lots of choices for Molly (and me) to eat. They apologised for not having any of the vegan chocolate sorbet left (be still my heart) but Molly still had lemon, strawberry, mango and pistachio to choose from. Our server even announced that she was using a clean paddle to ensure there was no cross contamination. I love people like this – people who take the time to be kind and helpful. People who take allergies seriously.
Now to the sorbet. All of them were wonderful but the strawberry was amazing. Just plain delicious and not like anything else we’ve tasted. The lemon was really nice, and I’d order it again and the mango didn’t disappoint. We will definitely go back to try the chocolate. They created Molly’s cone in a flower shape which I think just adds that extra bit of special. The photos don’t really do it justice.
Now here’s a great place – properly free from rather than just some options. We love going to Yorica because, well, we can have everything! Such a great experience. I can’t say it better then their own words from their website:
Free-from means freedom, hence why all of our recipes and ingredients are free from all 14 major allergens, and made in our dedicated production unit using only carefully selected ingredients and suppliers. We are accredited by Allergy UK and our staff are trained as part of the Allergy Aware scheme, giving everyone the freedom to indulge without worry.
Really…just go there!
Great place to grab breakfast or lunch. Lots of fab options – coconut milk, quinoa and interesting rices used in their dishes. We can have a good salad or a hot lunch. Molly loves their green fuel bircher, and there are lots of porridges to choose from too. I keep hoping that they will expand from a little cafe type outlet into a proper restaurant!
Their on-line menu is great – you can choose your allergens and then they filter accordingly. Very very helpful.
Another great place to pop into for lunch for us. Happily they don’t add mayo to their sushi (why? why does this happen) so Molly can chow down on the sushi if she wishes, they’ve also got a lot of hot dishes that are dairy and egg free so we’ve choice which is always nice. I love the Teriyaki dishes and the soups.
Simply amazing Vegan doughnuts. Just gorgeous. They are big, for sure, more like a mini cake. But there are lots of choices for Vegans and they are delicious beyond words.
Based in London Ms Cupcake has a dizzying array of baked goods for Vegans. Wonderful recipes, and this is the place to go if you like lashings of frosting. Ms Cupcake runs classes and has published a great cookbook as well. Worth taking a look at the website!