Coeliac Awareness Week: Where to find tasty gluten-free choices in Liverpool
Coeliac Disease, a life-long digestive condition triggered by an intolerance to gluten, is thrust into the spotlight from today with Coeliac Awareness Week (May 8-14). By Andrew Wright.
The campaign looks to highlight the common symptoms experienced by people with coeliac disease, and lobby for better gluten-free choices, whether in a restaurant or eating on the go.
One in 100 people have coeliac disease, and though the volume of eateries catering for this with their gluten-free offerings has increased in recent years, many living with the disease still decry the lack of tasty gluten-free options when dining out.
The Gluten Freevolution, a movement campaigning for better gluten-free food choices, says: “Things have undoubtedly improved over the last few years but there are too many instances where gluten free is absent or could be so much better.
“We want our members and supporters to get involved and help show the demand for better gluten free so that more people can understand what you need and start to cater better for you.”
With this in mind, we take a look at some of the Liverpool establishments taking a pro-active approach in providing tasty gluten-free alternatives on their menus, whether for coeliacs, or for people who choose a gluten-free lifestyle.
Located on Old Hall Street, Trattoria 51 is serving up gluten-free variations of 95% of its menu to provide ample choice for coeliacs.
Having built on 14 years of food intolerance research, the authentic Italian restaurant was the first to partner with the market leading gluten-free retail brand, DS Gluten-Free, to offer a wide range of options such as pizza, pasta and risotto.
General Manager and Co-Owner of Trattoria 51 Toni Karemanaj said: “Here at Trattoria 51 we like to create a diverse offering that everybody can enjoy, including those with certain food intolerances and dietary preferences. The majority of the dishes on our existing menu can be adapted to give gluten-free diners an array of options that would usually be off limits to them.
“After noticing an increase in the amount of people opting to lead a gluten-free lifestyle for various reasons, our aim is to combine food quality with extensive choice and full flavour.”
Operating across two sites, Fonseca’s (Stanley Street) and Dockside (Brunswick Quay), at least 50% of both restaurants’ blackboard menus are coeliac safe.
Gluten-free menu highlights include chicken suprême with sauteéd wild garlic, mushrooms, butternut squash pureé, mini roasties and red wine jus; mutton & spinach curry served with spicy Dahl and basmati rice; roast cod with sautéed potatoes, griddled courgettes and fennel with wild garlic pesto; pan roasted seabass with ratatouille, tomato coulis and fresh herbs; spicy apricot & chickpea tagine with falafel, tahini & pomegranate jam and Delifonseca Signature roasted vegetable curry with basmati rice and yoghurt.
Proprietor of Delifonseca Candice Fonseca said: “When it comes to coeliac options, the best gluten-free dishes are those that aren’t attempting to mimic a classic dish with something missing. Global dishes based around rice, pulses or root vegetables for the carbohydrate element are often fantastic. As all of our food is made on site by our chefs, we know exactly what goes into it, meaning that both our back and front of house staff have all the relevant information on hand to offer customers peace of mind.
“We have found over the last few years that there has been an increased trend for a gluten-free diet. Whilst such intolerances aren’t the same as being a ‘coeliac’ and don’t carry the same severe consequences, the positive outcome is that food businesses are becoming generally more commercially aware of such dietary requirements and are spending more time and resources making suitable products.”
Suites Hotel & Spa
Handley’s Brasserie, located within the Knowsley based hotel, serves up ‘nostalgic family favourites’ and contemporary dishes.
To start, coeliac diners can enjoy a trio of melon served with mixed berry coulis and pineapple salsa. Main dishes include smoked bean & sweet potato pasta – mixed five bean, oven roasted sweet potato, pan fried with tomato sauce with fusilli pasta and vegetable lasagne – seasonal vegetables with tofu & hummus served in a tomato sauce.
Sales & Marketing Director at Suites Hotel & Spa Lyndsay Stanistreet-Tyer said: “Here at Handley’s Brasserie we’re all about creating an inviting dining destination for everybody to enjoy. Both our kitchen team and front of house staff have the knowledge and understanding to cater for a variety of speciality dietary requirements and preferences.”
Castle St Townhouse
The all-day dining and drinking destination, located in the heart of the Commercial District, serves a variety of gluten-free breakfast, brunch and dinner options.
As part of the venue’s new spring menu, gluten-free highlights include steak salad; burratta; chicken & lime; falafel salad and lamb ramp.
General Manager of Castle St Townhouse Robert Andrew Scott said: “Coeliac Awareness Week is great time to celebrate the ample choice that is available for those leading a gluten-free lifestyle, whether by dietary requirement or preference. Unlike many years ago when coeliac disease was often misunderstood, gluten-free dining no longer means bland and boring dining. As with all of our guests, coeliacs have an extensive range of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes to choose from so there’s certainly something to suit every palate.”
The award-winning dry bar, restaurant and live music venue serves up a varied gluten-free selection.
Gluten-free menu options include afternoon tea, carb-free burgers, sandwiches, wraps, The Big Brink Omelette and an assortment of cakes and macaroons.
General Manager of The Brink Carl Bell said: “Here at The Brink, we value both natural and nutritional ingredients to create healthy and delicious dishes that cater for a variety of palates and dietary requirements. Over the past few years, we have witnessed a steady rise in coeliac diners, which is why we have adapted our menu to provide tasty free-from options that are far from bland and flavourless as traditional gluten-free dishes were perceived.
“Coeliac disease is debilitating condition that can cause no end of pain and upset should people suffering with it unknowingly digest gluten, which is why we go to every effort to cater for our coeliac diners. While many of our gluten-free dishes are available daily, we highly recommend customers make a table reservation prior to their visit as certain food items such as our burger buns and wraps need to be ordered in advance.”
Carringtons Catering @Floral Pavilion
The North West catering firm, which is responsible for the food division of the seaside theatre and dining destination, is leading the campaign to highlight the ever-evolving culinary options available for coeliacs.
Together with gluten-free assortments of ‘quick-bite café nibbles’, evening meals and private dining dishes, the menu caters for a variety of additional dietary requirements and preferences such as vegan and dairy-free.
Master Chef of Great Britain & Director of Carringtons Catering Darren Wynn said: “With Coeliac Awareness Week underway, the team and I feel that it’s important to raise the profile of the dietary requirement with it affecting more people than ever before. Following in-depth analysis and a shift in the hospitality industry’s more tailored approach to meeting customer’s needs, gone are the days when those living with coeliac disease have to feel completely restricted and limited in their food choice.
“Our collaboration with Floral Pavilion means that our gluten-free options stretch across both our in-house food operation together with outside catering for private events such as weddings and corporate occasions. As eating out can often be a worry for coeliacs, we make all of our dishes from scratch so that diners know exactly what is in each gluten-free option to ensure peace of mind.”