Product Reviews, Restaurant Reviews and Recipes: All GLUTEN FREE!
Of course Afternoon Tea is a British Institution invented by the Victorians to enjoy a light mid-afternoon rest and relaxation but being a Coeliac, there aren’t that many choices when it comes to eating out… But the Tea Terrace at the Oxford Street House of Fraser, in the heart of shopping-land now offers an extensive GLUTEN FREE Menu. Of course, it’s also rather special if you fancy taking a Kate Price moment and seating in the rather stately Carriage to enjoy this afternoon delight (this is clearly optional!)
On my blog, I have indulged at the Gherkin for Afternoon Tea as well as Fortnums & Masons as well as the Pantry @108 which were both beautiful with dainty sandwiches, soft buttered scones and exceptional cakes washed down with a grand cup of tea at the Shard inside The Shard, Western Europe’s tallest building, with views across the great city of London but back to my latest adventure:
Located on the fifth floor of the Oxford Street House of Fraser store, the Tea Terrace is still just a Department Store In-House Restaurant /Cafe but with a good range of GLUTEN FREE Options. (Having specifically booked the carriage for Tea, I had popped in to ask about their GLUTEN FREE options and reassured that they didn’t need pre-booking as they regularly did GLUTEN FREE Afternoon Teas: we return to this later!). The Carriage is here for a limited time and with an additional fee (of £9 per person) you can enjoy the novelty of this unique setting. Strangely it sits on the edge of the cafe so that on one side you seated next to regular tables and on the other the Childrenswear department!
The Menu has exclusive GLUTEN FREE pages so that you can see what they have and it’s quite impressive:
And of course, the Afternoon Tea offerings:
When our waitress came over, she was apologetic that they had no GLUTEN FREE Scones and that they could substitute cakes instead of the scones for the Afternoon Tea. This was most disappointing. The Manager came over (a little later) and advised that they were having supplier difficulties and that for the last month they’ve not been able to serve any GLUTEN FREE Scones. This was upsetting as that was the real heart of any Afternoon Tea with the lush strawberry jam and clotted cream. Indeed, that was a fundamental missing part to the Afternoon Tea.
I opted for the GLUTEN FREE Afternoon Tea (minus the scones) and selected Cheddar Cheese and Chutney sandwiches as well as Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese as my classic choice and they advised they would provide the cakes as well as a dessert.
It seemed rather strange without the Scones, jam and cream, the ritual of the main part of the Afternoon tea was missing but I perceived. The sandwiches were delightful, not amazing as the cheese wasn’t a mature strongly flavoured cheddar and the salmon was fresh and good, just not amazing like some of my other high-end Afternoon Teas. And then I moved onto the cakes:
The Orange and Lavender Cake “the flavours of orange and lavender marry together beautifully to make this delicious dense cake“was a hard pound-loaf cake: hard and firm but with a good citrus flavour. One of the pieces had poppy seeds in it. The other was Lemon and Almond “the texture and taste of this damp cake are very much like a conventional pound cake and it has a fantastic tart lemon taste“, which I found a little bitty with shards of almond inside the mix. They were a little dry and hardly large plentiful pieces but good pieces of cake.
And then my GLUTEN FREE Dessert:
This was the best of part of the Afternoon Tea with squirty (whipped) cream mixed with a sharp berry mix, some vanilla cream and meringue pieces. It was a generous portion and very filling despite being full of air! A nice end to the Afternoon Tea.
It’s a shame that they don’t offer unlimited plates of GLUTEN FREE Delight (unlike some of the other Afternoon Tea venues) but then the price reflects that level of service and food. And a real disappoint that they’ve not got the GLUTEN FREE Scones which are essentially part of the Afternoon Tea offering. Whilst the dessert did make up for that, the joy of the scones, with jam and cream was missing! But I have to remember this is a cafe inside a Department Store and not an exclusive dinning location!
Must try harder Mr House-of-Fraser.
Other culinary delights and charming restaurants in London which willingly and happily cater for Coeliacs, some I have reviewed on my blog, include Heston’s Dinner @Mandarin Oriental Hotel, The Scott Gilbert @Renaissance Hotel St Pancras, Indigo @One Aldwych, The Hawksmoor, 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!)
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 2017. 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!