Dining out if you’re a coeliac can be frustratingly difficult. It’s hard not to be envious of those who can pop out willy-nilly and eat anywhere that takes their fancy, and meanwhile you’ll be lucky if you can score a plate of chips that haven’t been cross contaminated. It can require quite the hunt to track down any restaurant which caters for gluten free – and it often results in the majority of your evening being spent explaining to people that no, you can’t eat that because it’s got wheat in it.
Why can’t you enjoy easy, breezy restaurant eating like everybody else? Well, maybe now you can. Claire Schofield takes a look at eight great places that do gluten free food in and around Leeds.
2 Oxford Place
As the city’s first ever gluten free restaurant, this little haunt is the answer to your dreams. Nestled away near the Town Hall, the restaurant may be a bit off the beaten track – but that hasn’t stopped word spreading about the delicious food on offer.
Set up by 27-year-old Victoria Hall, a coeliac sufferer herself, the restaurant’s quirky mismatched vintage decor adds a nice charm to the dining experience, but it’s the menu itself that will really win you over. Consisting of light lunches, brunch, three course meals, Sunday roasts and the most delicious afternoon tea, you’ll be spoilt for choice. The exquisite cakes and freshly baked bread stand out in particular, so scrumptious are they that you wouldn’t even notice they’re gluten free. This delightful new restaurant can be enjoyed by everyone.2 Oxford Place, Leeds, LS1 3AX (0113 234 1294, website)
Who doesn’t love a plate of fish and chips every now and then? It’s an English classic and, thanks to an entirely gluten free menu, it’s a dish that can still be enjoyed by all. With a separate frying area at the opposite end of the kitchen dedicated to preparing gluten free food, diners can rest easy as the restaurant is committed to ensuring there will be no cross contamination.
The food is simply superb and if the flaky white fish wrapped in a light crispy batter served with enough chips to feed an army wasn’t enough, there are also a selection of starters, succulent grilled chicken and a range of desserts to sink your teeth into. From tasty homemade soups to treacle sponge with creamy custard, you won’t leave this place still feeling peckish.White Cross, Otley Road, Guiseley, LS20 8LZ (01943 884 228, website)
Voted the UK’s Best Neighbourhood Italian Restaurant by Gordon Ramsey on Channel 4’s The F Word, you can trust that the food at Salvo’s will be spot on. The inside is smart and trendy but still friendly and welcoming. With no less than three menus (early bird, light lunches, and a la carte), it’s unlikely that you’ll struggle to find something that takes your fancy.
Gluten free options are clearly indicated on the menu so ordering is made easy, although the restaurant do advise you to mention your dietary requirements when placing your order. Alongside mouth-watering classic Italian pizza and pasta dishes, there’s a range of other inviting options to send your taste buds tingling, including roasted chicken, Yorkshire sirloin and grilled beef to name but a few. It’s a popular haunt, so make a reservation to ensure you’re not disappointed.115 & 117 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 3PX (0113 275 2752, website)
Filmore & Union
Located in the trendy Victoria Quarter, Filmore & Union is the perfect pit stop to grab a bite to eat. The stylish modern deli and restaurant offers a range of appetising nutritious healthy food options and its accreditation from Coeliac UK means coeliacs are well catered for. It may not be a sit down for a three course meal sort of affair here, but for delicious light snacks you can’t go wrong, and since all gluten free options are clearly marked on the menu, dining is made simple and stress free.
Get your morning started right and pop in for a an omelette, a boiled egg with soldiers, or some gluten free pancakes topped with banana and peanut butter. Break the usual lunch routine with a tasty wrap, homemade soup or some sweet potato wedges, or opt for the ultimate treat and call in for their decadent afternoon tea, comprised of a host of sweet delicacies. It’s worth a visit even if it’s just for a quick coffee and a heavenly chocolate brownie to break up a hectic day of shopping.Victoria Quarter, Leeds, LS1 6AZ (0113 244 1518, website)
Pizza never get old does it? The smell of the doughy bread, the tang of the tomato sauce mixed with herbs and seasoning, topped with bubbling melted cheese – it’s enough to get anybody’s mouth watering. So it’d be a real shame to head out for a meal only find you couldn’t eat anything. Fear not however, for Pizza Express have an entire gluten free menu.
There’s everything from starters and salads to risottos and desserts to satisfy those hunger pangs, and a choice of pizzas made using a gluten free pizza base with a range of flavoursome toppings. If you can spare room, the rich chocolate brownie topped with vanilla Gelato, fresh strawberries and icing sugar is well worth a try and to wash it all down, there’s some gloriously fruity gluten free cider. Heaven.4 Albion Place, Leeds, LS1 6JL (0113 2422 2131, website)
Enjoy a taste of Spain and a break from the same old same old at this kooky tapas bar and restaurant. Serving a delectable range of Latin American cuisine, almost half of this lively venue is gluten free.
Set your taste buds sizzling with the chili beef pot, jambalaya, patatas, tortillas and rump steak, all made with the freshest ingredients. The dishes may be simple yes, but packed full of flavour and the shabby little restaurant has an undeniable charm. The dark wooden decor may look a slightly tattered but the rustic feel makes it warm and inviting, offering visitors the most atmospheric of dining experiences. It also serves an impressive selection of cocktails, rums and spirits to liven up your evening.5-5A Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, LS2 8JP (0113 243 0396, website)
If you’re after some good honest pub grub, then look no further than Veritas. Located close to the law courts this ale and wine bar is a bit of a hidden secret, but by no means expect it to be empty. With its extensive range of cask and local ales, along with a fairly comprehensive wine list, Veritas is a popular hangout for real ale lovers.
But if the booze doesn’t lure you through the door then the hefty food menu should, particularly since it’s coeliac friendly. The selection of salads, soups and an impressive array of sandwiches, served on gluten free bread on request, makes this bar a great place to visit to grab a light lunch, though the evening menu doesn’t have quite so many gluten free options. Still, don’t be put off from giving it a try, as you can take pleasure in the fact that it does offer a choice of gluten free puddings. And its unique design of being split into four separate customer dining areas, designed to give the feeling of intimacy, does make it a cosy venue to stop for a drink and a bite to eat.43 Great George Street, Leeds, LS1 3BB (0113 242 8094, website)
Shoulder of Mutton
It may be quite a way from the bustling city centre, but this traditional country pub near Harrogate is well worth a visit. The dark wooden furnishings and the rather quirky array of sheep ornaments dotted around the venue gives it character, and the roaring fire makes it feel snug and homely. The pub boasts a specialist gluten free menu comprised of homemade food made fresh on the premises. But does it taste good?
The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. The food is divine, and there’s a great selection of traditional Yorkshire cuisine – the shoulder of Mutton and grilled Wensleydale gammon and chips being the stand out dishes. There’s also quite a hearty choice of desserts, all supplied by the Gluten Free Kitchen, to round off the meal. The fruit crumble and custard is particularly scrumptious. Once you’ve enjoyed your meal, you can pop next door to The Shoulder Shop to pick up a few gluten free goodies to take home. Perfect.The Shoulder of Mutton Inn, Main Street, Kirby Overblow, near Harrogate, HG3 1HD (01423 871205, website)
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