Sponsored by Riso Gallo
2 Oxford Place - Leeds
'I'm not surprised it won in its category last year; I'm sure it was a worthy winner, and it's hard to fault it. The restaurant was packed with people of all ages. It was very welcoming and homely, and discreetly gluten free (no big parade made about it). Ideal for a coeliac to go out in a group with non-coeliac friends.
Excellent choice of starters and desserts. In fact, we were blown away by the dessert menu. We liked that they had seasonal dishes which just added to the feel of 'normality'. There was no fuss about having to identify something safe to eat, which we loved. Can't wait to take coeliac daughter!'
Fisher's Restaurant - Bristol
'This is a lovely small restaurant, with an intimate cosy feel and nothing seemed to be too much bother. All of the staff dealing with us were fully aware of our allergy requirements, what all their dishes contained and knew which of us needed which dishes. They were friendly and able to offer good advice on how dishes could be adapted to suit our needs
All of the GF/DF dishes were fantastic - calamari, swordfish with a haricot bean casserole, new potatoes and followed by banana fritters with lemon sorbet. We would happily eat here again and would be totally confident in taking friends with food allergies there too.'
Knife & Fork – Banbury
'Tanya LIVES for what she does, and LOVES it. Everything is made with allergens in mind, and of the highest quality with minute attention to detail. The flavour of every dish was exquisite. It looked amazing, the presentation was perfect, everything was cooked to perfection, with a variety of textures, colours and flavours that complimented each other perfectly. The entire meal was a feast to the eyes. And this applies to breakfast as well as dinner.
We felt warm and fuzzy about the entire experience and can't wait to go again...'
Percy's Country Hotel & Restaurant - Devon
'It is clear from visiting Percys that the owners have a passion for serving food that everyone can enjoy. The gf and df dishes were accomplished and extremely tasty. This is the first time I have enjoyed a full 5 course set menu since having to eat gf and df.
The dishes used fresh, simple and interesting ingredients showing a passion and skill for food that was not limited by food allergies. The dessert, for example, was entirely df and gf for all diners – a delicious fig and frangipane tart with a coconut yoghurt and coconut glace. The crust and base of the tart was crisp and full flavoured, the frangipane was soft and perfectly balanced without being oversweet. It is rare to find such fine dining that caters for people with allergies/coeliac disease.'
The Rainbow Café and Restaurant - Cambridge
'We were made to feel very welcome. Explaining our allergies was met with helpful advice, that made us feel we were no problem and they were used to dealing with such issues – even my capsicum allergy! As a vegetarian restaurant, the menu also had a range of vegan choices. It could cater for a combination of milk, egg, soya AND gluten free on several of the menu choices. The day I went, four of the puddings were free from all four of these allergens – and not one of them was fruit!
We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals which were tasty and interesting. We also commented on a variety of other very colourful looking dishes being delivered to neighbouring tables... Portion sizes were large and had it not been in the interest of judging, we may not have forced ourselves to make room for pudding too!
The Willow - Kingston upon Thames
'I have rarely felt more safe and relaxed whilst eating out. When gluten is not allowed through the door that makes it easy. However, if I had other allergens to avoid, the professionalism and knowledge demonstrated by staff would have given me confidence and comfort.
An amazing breadth and depth of gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free starters, sides, mains and desserts. All allergens are very clearly labelled on the menu, with sesame and mustard making occasional appearances and dishes with nuts specify the type of nut present in the dish.
The burger itself was the most enjoyable I have ever eaten thanks to the texture and spices being square centre of the just right 'goldilocks' zone; for dessert, a courgette and carrot cake was wonderfully presented with a glowing but natural looking yellow cream cheese style filling and topping. And they offered 13 GF beers and 4 ciders!'
'Center Parcs were really great considering that I have multiple allergies. When I phoned to book they asked me not only what I could not eat but also what I like to eat. They then asked for email confirmation from me to clarify things AND we had a long phone conversation.
For lunch I got a huge and really tasty healthy bowl of salad. I was very pleased with this. No choice but they had provided me with something I didn't feel was inferior or inadequate. It was filling and delicous. For supper I had steak and jacket potato instead of chips. The steak was amazing and the jacket potato was sliced all along the top, drizzled with olive oil and cooked – the best jacket spud I've ever had.
Canter Parcs is
very clean, new, modern and comfortable and I really enjoyed it. They handled things very well and with the minimum of fuss.'
La Polenteria - Central London
'The gluten free diner has an excellent choice (everything is gluten free!) but choice was more limited for those with other allergies. However the staff were both knowledgeable and helpful. The food was beautifully presented and delicious – my polenta with gorgonzola cheese, cream and walnut was scrumptious – the addition of walnuts in the polenta gave it a crunchy texture and the combination of the cheese with the polenta was tantalising.
La Polenteria made me feel like a normal diner. I didn’t have to worry about any of the ingredients – what a release, what a treat! It would be great if they could extend the number of dairy free options, especially desserts.'
Niche Food & Drink - Central London
'A good selection of starters and desserts, all gluten free. They will advise on any allergy and they were well informed on all the dishes. As a 100% Gluten Free restaurant they are very proud to discuss the individual ingredients of all dishes but not a great deal on offer for those with a wider range of allergies.
My Chicken Supreme was delicious with a generous thick sauce. The sauce had a great creaminess with a mustard undertone. My lunch friend had the meat pie and found the pastry more delicious than regular pies. Really enjoyed her meal. Not cheap but good.'
Filmore & Union across Yorkshire
'The reception on the whole was pleasant although the staff did not fill me with confidence. The menu choice is vast but there is a lot of repetition. The menus are clearly marked as ..Gluten free..Paleo..Contains nuts..Vegetarian..Vegan. Obscure allergies, no. Seems to be more a trendy lifestyle place rather than a hardcore offering. The food was patchy, some very good, some disappointing.
Filmore and Union really looks the part and you so want it to be good ...but it doesn't quite live up to expectations.'
Pho across UK
Three judges visited three different Pho restaurants around the country.
One had an excellent experience:
I felt very welcome. Not just as a customer but as a Coeliac customer. I very much liked the manner in which they took time to explain that a sauce was not GF and stated that they would prefer not to bring it to the table. They clearly understood the issues re Coeliac Disease and have a strong understanding of their menu and ingredients. I felt quite comfortable (esp. food wise). Main courses were excellent – the curry dish one the best I have ever had although the dessert was a little disappointing.'
One had a mixed experience:
'The main waitress was friendly but she seemed a bit blasé about the food. A reasonable choice but the allergen info was not very clear: 'the vast majority of dishes' is not good enough. We were both a little disappointed with the meal although the prawn crackers were great. I probably would try it again as I love noodles etc and it's VERY hard to find safe GF places that serve them but I didn't feel that valued as a customer.'
One had a poor experience:
'Our waitress was friendly and reassuring that they would be able to meet our needs and we were initially impressed. But I'm afraid that we did have problems with the meal. Even after 50 minutes of waiting and discussing it with two members of staff we did not get what we thought we had ordered.
In the event the staff did not appear to take our issue with the food as seriously as we might have hoped.'
The Clink Restaurants across UK
'Very welcoming and reassuring that they understood about our allergies. However, while we were told 'any item' could be made gluten free this did not turn out to be the case and as a gluten-free vegetarian I had a very limited choice. My guest who is allergic to celery was fine and had an excellent meal.
There was a lovely ambiance in the restaurant and it is a great project. But the menu is very meat oriented and there is really very little on offer for those on either a gluten or dairy free diet. If they want to target freefrom diners, a menu rethink is needed.'
The Rainforest Café - Central London
'Initial reception was good - welcoming and they had our allergies listed. Our 'safari guide' was friendly and warm, the kids were totally fascinated by the rainforest theme and my son loved it as it is pretty well unheard of for him, with egg, nut, peanut, sesame and lentil allergies, to be able to have either macaroni cheese or an ice cream sundae when out. That was lovely for him even though I was not that impressed with the quality of either.
However, we did not, as they claim, have a manager come and check everything with us. We had to query two separate issues before a manager popped up briefly despite the fact that in our online booking I had specifically cited 'severe anaphylactic' allergies. It felt very rushed and very stressful and I only took a leap of faith because others I know have been there, eaten safely and spoken well of the café.'
If you have any queries or would like to talk to us about the awards - please email Michelle or Kathy or call on 020 7722 2866