Product Reviews, Restaurant Reviews and Recipes: All GLUTEN FREE!
As usual, I ordered my “Special Meal” on my outbound flight from LHR to MIA on the (relatively) new A380 Aircraft. I’ve had mixed success in terms of tasty GLUTEN FREE meals travelling on (BA CW 2015, Emirates (Business 2015), BA (Traveller Plus 2014), Thai Airlines (Business 2014), Dragon Air (Business 2014), Cathay Pacific (Business 2014), BA (Club World Business 2014), BA (Club World Business 2013) and BA (First 2015).) Strangely, the Miami flights depart from Terminal 3 so instead of the usual Lounge Experience at Terminal 5, it was a chance to see another facility in another building. Maybe unsurprisingly, given the volume of passengers for the A380, the BA Lounge is large: and of course rather busy.
There was a good selection of Hot and Cold foods available in the BA lounge, with good labels which indicated which allergens were present. It meant that I had a rather strange bowl of rice, vegetarian mushroom stew, grated cheese and some cucumber but knowing I would be eating onboard, it was a good filler to enjoy.
And then it was a short walk, through a side exit onto the A380 which looks and feels like a very large plane. The double-decker is indeed the largest passenger jet in the world and even though there are proper staircases, BA rope them off so that wandering passengers do not explore the plane. Indeed, with the curtains separating the cabins, you perhaps don’t appreciate the size of the aircraft sat in the flat-bed upstairs.
So after being handed a Menu, I checked whether they had my Special Meal to be told “oh you’re the special one!” which wasn’t necessarily how I felt!
The tray arrived with the salad on it and my starter which was mozzarella cheese balls with segments of orange. The salad bowl was very substantial and I was given a plain Olive Oil dressing which was necessary as it was a little dry.
After the Starter was cleared away, I was presented with my Main Course. Unlike my fellow passengers who had chosen off the Menu, I have learnt from previous experience that the Crew do not always know what it is and when it arrived, it reminded me of my previous CW Club Meal (outbound).
It is a large piece of Chicken, served with potatoes, vegetables and some gravy. It was good to have the “gravy” as otherwise it is really quite a dull meal. Indeed, even with a little salt and pepper, I do think that Coeliacs do deserve to eat tasty food rather than “bland” meals Airlines seem to always get away with. It was alright and filling, just not going to win any awards. Of course, the GF Bread Roll was sealed and having being refrigerated for many hours, rather hard and firm. But always good: (I find that I slice it into thin wedges and butter it up to make it last a little longer!)
Surprisingly, I received my “Pudding” and had to check with the Crew that it was indeed, GLUTEN FREE.
It looked amazing and for a change, it wasn’t a bowl of fruit! But of course being a GF Bread & Butter Pudding with cold custard (Creme Anglais!) it contains EGG YOLK and so I didn’t touch it and helped myself to the Chocolate (M&M’s) in the “Raid the Larder” cabinets. Such a shame as I am sure it would have tasted rather good but not for me!
Good that BA offer Club World passengers a selection of help-yourself snacks in between the meal service: some GLUTEN FREE snacks including GF M&M’s, Joe & Sephs GF Popcorn, Kettle GF Crisps, Jelly Bean Factory GF Jelly Beans, GF Duchy Original yogurts and plenty of drinks. Not necessarily the healthiest of snacks but it fills a hole before the second meal service is wheeled out:
Afternoon Tea, before being diagnosed a Coeliac was my second-favourite meal on a plane (after Hot Cooked English Breakfasts!) as I used to love the warmed scones, covered in strawberry jam and clotted cream, but now I have my “Special” Meal, I am indifferent to what I receive.
I did receive a Smoked Salmon sandwich was rather quite nice. It had a light spread of cream cheese and a couple of piece of cucumber but the bread was rather tasty: if only it was a little light, alongside a good piece of a chocolate cake which was a light sponge with a dark chocolate moose topping, and another BFREE Bread Roll (which was instead of the scones) with the strawberry jam and the clotted cream. I have to say, once my tray was delivered and I had a cup of tea, they don’t need to return to me, as they wander around with lovely smelling warmed scones to all the other passengers. I guess for a GLUTEN FREE meal, it does what-it-says-on-the-tin but maybe BA Management could visit Fortnums & Masons, or Shangri-la up the Shard and see what other GLUTEN FREE Afternoon Teas can achieve!
On this Trip we visited Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom & Disney Studios, before Universal Studios & Universal Islands of Adventure, before joining the Disney Cruise Line’s Fantasy cruise to the Caribbean, and a travel experience across Texas, before flying back via NYC:
Many of the Evening flights from NYC are deemed by British Airways as “Sleeper Services”. They encourage Business passengers to eat their dinner in the Lounge, before you board, so as to maximise your sleeping time on the plane. Indeed, they offer a light breakfast before arriving or you can choose to use the Arrivals Lounge (at T5) and have a hearty breakfast.
In a separate Dining Room, BA Club World passengers can enjoy a restaurant style dinner with a view of the Terminal before heading onboard the flight. The Dinner Menu for the lounge looked interesting but disappointingly there was little that was GLUTEN FREE.
I spoke with the “Chef” managing the Stir-Fry Bar, in her whites but she called for the Chef in the kitchen, behind the main counter. He came over and advise I could have some of the salad (lettuce and tomatoes/ cucumbers) and the hot vegetables (mashed potatoes and runner beans) but no meat (as the beef was presumably cooked in a sauce which included FLOUR and strangely the fish was breaded in FLOUR crumbs which is usually what I have when passing through Terminal 7). He was a little too nonchalant for my liking so I spoke to the Lounge Staff at the front podium. She called over the Lounge Manager who was much more sympathetic to my requirements for dinner and told me to have some salad and she would see what she could get prepared for me from the First Class Kitchen.
After approximately ten minutes, she returned with a lovely piece of steak. It was served with some brocoliini and Sweet Potato Chips (crisps) and had a beetroot jus on it. She assured me that it was all GLUTEN FREE and I helped myself to some mash and green beans. This was a great solution as it was a good hearty meal and whilst the steak was cooked well, it was for my liking. My expectation once we boarded was to receive a “light” snack but of course I had my “Special Meal” waiting for me….
So quite quickly after taking off, I was presented with my Dinner Tray. The smoked salmon starter was really salty and the simple dressing smelt of soy sauce (so I avoided that!) and just had it with the lettuce leaves on the plate. It was light and tasted fresh, just a shame that they had forgotten my GF Bread. It was reassuring to see my lovely bowl of fruit (my dessert) which was a welcome refreshment.
And after enjoying the Salmon, I wasn’t really hungry so it didn’t matter that my main course was the large piece of tasteless Chicken (at least served with a good portion of vegetables). If I was hungry, I would have eaten some of it but it was again rather bland and looked almost the same as previous Club World Gluten Free “Special” meals.
And then to sleep, which on the flat bed is easy but given the time-zone changes and short-flight, quickly, the Crew are putting on the lights, opening shutters and preparing the aircraft for landing. On previous occasions I have reviewed the BA Arrivals Lounge so just a quick look at my Breakfast (after a shower):
Another notice on Allergens was spotted in the lounge so I enjoyed the GLUTEN FREE Bacon, GLUTEN FREE Hash Brown, GLUTEN FREE Beans and some GLUTEN FREE Mushrooms. It was a good plate full after arriving (rather early) into London Heathrow and then a taxi ride back home.
Other Gluten Free Airline Meals covered on this blog include (click on the picture to open up the reviews):
If you are a member of Coeliac UK, they produce a comprehensive directory which covers over 16,000 food and drink items (including GLUTEN FREE Chocolate Bars). This is available in a paper-based Manual and online FREE to members of Coeliac UK. They have also published an Easter listing (although it is not as visually EGG-citing as Part 1: Chocolatier & Chocolate Manufacturers, or Part 2: High Street Supermarket Chocolate Easter Postings).
SIGN UP so you do not miss out on future updates to the Chocolate Bar listing, Chocolate Bags and Boxes, as well as new Restaurant Reviews, Travelling experiences, Food Shows, Product Reviews and (occasional) Recipes. Also check out my posts on GLUTEN FREE Ice Cream, GLUTEN FREE Advent Calendars, GLUTEN FREE Mince Pies and GLUTEN FREE Valentines Treats.
This information was correct as at publishing in March 2016.