The Trewithen restaurant in Lostwithiel set such a high standard on our very first night in Cornwall that I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that the rest of the week would naturally fade into a desultory second place when it came to our meals out. However, given the extensive food restrictions that need catering for within our family, we ate extremely well and were more than pleasantly surprised by the mix of menu options that were available for us. I thought I’d give you a quick overview of the other great restaurants we visited during our holiday and what allergy-friendly options they were able to give:
The Galleon Inn, Fowey – this harbourside pub in Fowey gives generous servings of delicious pub grub and features fish and seafood on both their a la carte menu and their specials board. They were able to serve safe chicken, cucumber and peas (his food challenge for the week) for M and, whilst it wasn’t clear what their other free from offerings were, we were able to order gammon, chips and peas for G, which she loved. Although the staff were friendly and helpful, we couldn’t clarify that the chips were 100% GF, so for anyone who struggles with cross-contamination issues, I would suggest ordering a different side.
Pizza Express, Falmouth – we visited the brilliant National Maritime Museum in Falmouth with G’s lovely Godmama and her family and were able to eat lunch at the Pizza Express situated across the square. We were able to order our usual allergy-friendly fare here and although the service was disappointingly slow and the food not quite as good as at our local Pizza Express, we were still happy with the meal we had. A definite go-to in terms of national chain restaurants when looking for somewhere safe to eat.
Eden Project, Bodelva – following my perusal of their website and an email exchange with a very helpful customer liaison co-ordinator, we had gone well prepared with a packed lunch and range of suitable snacks for both G and M and I’m definitely glad we did. The queues in the main cafe area in the biomes were horrendously long and their staff disappointingly uninterested in speeding things up to try to reduce the waiting time. Mike and I enjoyed our tortillas and the server I spoke to advised that it was possible to adapt some menu items to be both gluten- and dairy-free and I struggled to find any snacks that were readily available and obviously allergy-friendly. Given how long we did wait (close to 25 minutes for a mid-morning coffee and snack!), I’m glad we weren’t dependent on that to feed G. We loved our visit, but were disappointed by the food on offer and would take food for us all the next time.
Tate St Ives – this was the surprise success story of the week for G and we even managed an unexpected treat for M too. They had comprehensive allergen information readily available and were able to offer all of their sandwiches on GF bread. G was so thrilled, she ordered an egg mayonnaise sandwich with a helping of GF chips on the side and enjoyed every mouthful. I spotted cucumber sorbet on their dessert menu as part of a Pimms jelly extravaganza and asked if they knew what it contained. The answer quickly came back from the chef that it was safe and so we were all able to enjoy a pudding. G had an orange and polenta cake that barely touched the sides as it went down and M had a couple of inquisitive mouthfuls of cucumber sorbet, although his final conclusion was that he’s not keen to try it *ever* again!
Sams, Fowey – part of a popular Cornish “chain”, perhaps best known for Sam’s on the Beach, we visited their Fowey restaurant, which I can best describe as a Cornish version of the Hard Rock Cafe! Once again, they were able to cook M-friendly chicken and cucumber, whilst G enjoyed fish and chips. Their system of no booking ahead meant we had almost an hour wait for our food, but we spent it upstairs in the bar area and the time just flew by. I am not 100% certain of just how safe G’s food was, but am reliably informed that their Polkerris location can cook a mean gluten- and dairy-free pizza, an adventure for another time for us.
The Godolphin Arms, Marazion – our day out to visit St Michael’s Mount ended with a table overlooking the Mount as the sun set and we enjoyed our dinner. I knew that this restaurant could provide GF offerings, thanks to this great blog and the opportunity to give it a go and enjoy the spectacular view was too good to miss. M enjoyed a more complete dinner here as they were able to prepare rice, chicken and cucumber for him and G picked the GF burger and chips. We received great service even though the restaurant was busy, but had a disappointing cross-contamination risk during dessert. Our request for lemon sorbet for M was met, but unfortunately, once he was half-way through his bowl, we discovered traces of a red sorbet mixed in with the lemon. It was immediately obvious that the kitchen staff had used the same scoop to serve his lemon sorbet, even though the serving staff had made every effort to ensure that the sorbet was safe for him. Our waiter was extremely apologetic, was very concerned about the cross-contamination risk to M, who fortunately hadn’t eaten any of the other flavour when he spotted it and spoke to the manager to ensure that the kitchen staff were reminded to be vigilant with the allergy-friendly meals.
The Malt House Harvester restaurant, Exeter – I’d been wanting to give the Harvester restaurants a try for a while and our return home gave us such an opportunity. I love the salad cart that’s available and knowing that both rice and chicken are almost staples to the menu, I felt confident that it could work. On announcing our allergy requirements on arrival, I was handed a massive and somewhat unwieldy ring binder containing their allergen information, which took me a good 10 minutes to navigate. I eventually was reassured that the chargrilled chicken breast would be fine for M and he was able to have basmati rice and cucumber to accompany it. G picked the baby back ribs with chips which appeared to be both GF and DF and enjoyed selecting her salad from the cart. The ordering process may have taken a little long due to the complexity of their allergen information, but the meals at the end made it all worthwhile.