Product Reviews, Restaurant Reviews and Recipes: All GLUTEN FREE!
Meeting up with “old” University Friends, whom I’ve not seen much of for nearly twenty years, the food was probably incidental but it was reassuring that an appropriate restaurant was suggested and found, given my Coeliac Disease. Hawksmoor was a new choice for me and one I shall return to. It is a chain so it’s probably a good idea to confirm, when meeting, which branch you are eating in (as I turned up at the Covent Garden one at Seven Dials and they couldn’t find a reservation. Amazingly on their computer system, they checked and suggested that I should be at the Air Street Branch, located just off Regent’s Street so I rushed across London on a busy Saturday Night. Taxis are useless for short-hops so I walked quickly and minutes later was entering the right restaurant!)
On the corner of Air Street, Hawksmoor has quite an imposing grand entrance, and after “checking-in” you climb a grand staircase to the bar areas. It has the feel of a traditional Men’s Club with leather banquettes, plenty of brass fittings, mirrored walls and some stained-glass windows separating you from the hustle of central London. Because I was late, I had done the introductions before we were whisked off to the Main Dining Room, which is just as male and imposing as the Bar Area. We were lucky enough to have a Booth as they provide a little more privacy and separation from the regular tables spread across the room and the Menu presented.
They have a great Wine list as well as the Food Menu and whilst no GLUTEN FREE options are presented on the Menu, the waiting staff are well informed. He was quick to point out what I could have and what they could adapt (to ensure it was GLUTEN FREE). Luckily, we were able to enjoy the Express Menu (which you can order up until 1830) as it offered a good selection of dishes. The Main Menu is reasonable priced with some extravagant options (such as half a lobster for a starter @£16 as well as Large Steaks which “are priced per 100g and are dependent on what [they] have in stock. They are big and don’t generally come any smaller than 500g“) so hopefully your wallet is filled, if you select from the main Menu.
My Starter: Potted smoked mackerel
The waiter advised me that this would be usually served with toasted bread but for me, to make it GLUTEN FREE the would serve it with Cucumber Strips.
The potted smoked mackerel was creamy and not too fishy (as some can be) and it was strange eating it with the cucumber as they were a little slippy versus the pate but actually quite refreshing. I was so jealous of the “Potted beef and bacon with Yorkshires” as the Yorkshire Puddings were huge and crunchy and looked amazing.
My main course was “Fillet tail (200g)” which attracts a £5 supplement which was served with “Triple cooked chips“. The waiter made a note that I required GLUTEN FREE and when the dishes came out, the serving staff made a specific point of advising my chips were the GLUTEN FREE ones. The steak was cooked how I liked (Well Done- Medium) which will horrify many readers but I don’t like the blood on my plate. And to my surprise, it was done really well with a little “pinkness” in the middle which of course, I didn’t eat!
I was impressed by the main course: my “steak dinner”. It was the right size portion (versus the Rump which is a 300g portion) and the crunchiness of the triple cooked chips was a delight. We did share a vegetable dish (which was GLUTEN FREE) but the wine was flowing and I can’t recall what this was, nor took a photograph of it! And by the time it came to desserts, we weren’t that impressed with the selection on the Express Menu so the waiter offered us anything off the Main Dessert Menu .
I had one of the Sorbets (probably Peach) as it was GLUTEN FREE but of course, the wine had been drunk, and so was I.
A lovely meal catching up with “old” friends that was GLUTEN FREE and rather tasty. Yes, Hawksmoor is a chain with branches across London and one in Manchester, but it felt like a special meal with good attention to detail and well-informed staff.
There are many luxurious restaurants in London which willingly and happily cater for Coeliacs, some I have reviewed on my blog including The Wolseley, The Ivy, Searcy’s (up the Gherkin),Ting (up the Shard), Hunan, Skylon, Galvins alongside some who go beyond for the Coeliac (including Niche: which is 100% GF) and Truscott Arms (which is a gourmet pub with yet amazing food!)
Other Chain restaurants reviewed on my blog includes: Chef & Brewer Pub: The Bulls Head, Ed’s Diner (which I love because of their Cheesy Fries), Honest Burgers (with GLUTEN FREE Onion Rings!) and Pizza Express (including their new GLUTEN FREE Dough Balls).
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. Our charity are working with many restaurants and once Coeliac UK are satisfied, they are accredited by Coeliac UK: Click Here. Accredited Restaurants reviewed on my blog includes Carluccios, La Tasca and Ed’s Diner.
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This information was correct as of July 2016.
But as I am learning, ingredients do change and therefore you should always read the label and check for yourself whether it is GLUTEN FREE or not!