Written by Debs and Victoria; part of Team Tripility.
This weekend two members of team Tripility are going off to Leeds to celebrate a (future) family members 30th birthday. Whilst perusing the menu (yes, I actually do this before eating out…), I got to thinking about how little thought I have to put into what and where I eat. As long as I can actually access the restaurant, I have the freedom to choose whichever cuisine I fancy. These thoughts popped into my head as I was thinking about my lovely friend Victoria, she has coeliac disease which means that every aspect of her diet (and even what shampoo she uses) has to be thought about. Whenever we go out for something to eat together, she stresses to the waiter that every bit of food she is served, has to be gluten free. This is something that I am so used to hearing her say, that I think I have taken for granted how much she must have to blindly trust that her food doesn’t contain a trace of gluten; otherwise she could be very poorly. Victoria recently went to a new gluten free restaurant in Leeds and she told me that for the first time, she had eaten a scotch egg. Now, anyone that knows me well, knows about my absolute LOVE of scotch eggs (simple things…). So, hearing that Victoria had never before tried this delight, was quite astounding to me. Once I had got over my shock at this admission, I started to realise that developing a food intolerance changes every aspect of your food life; something that perhaps those with such a thing, take for granted.
On this note, Victoria helpfully wrote up her experiences of this new restaurant, so all you gluten free Yorkshire people (and hopefully those from further a field), could be inspired to check it out. If anyone else has had some brilliant (or terrible) experiences of dining out, when you have specific dietary requirements, let us know! We will very soon be adding a restaurant section of tripility.com, where you will be able to review your hearts out about every aspect of your dining experiences, from dietary and family requirements, to all manner of access issues; so register and stay tuned! Enough from me, over to the delightful Victoria!
When a dietitian takes their coeliac friend for dinner, you know that she will have checked the menus and ensured that a gluten free option will be available without cross contamination. Michelle didn’t fail in any way when she booked us a table at 2 Oxford Place Leeds, a controversial choice as usually we are tempted by the most amazing gluten free pizza and pasta available at Salvos. However, not only does 2 Oxford Place boast an entirely gluten free menu – including beer – it is also a 100% gluten free environment, to the extent that the staff are not allowed to bring gluten containing products into work. Coeliac heaven! Michelle had sent me a copy of the menu, which straight away made me want to visit immediately. Not only were there pastry items – a rarity in the gluten free world – but also scotch eggs!
2 Oxford place is situated on a little side street close to the Leeds General Infirmary, not only does it offer gluten free, but it also provides vegan, vegetarian and dairy free options. More recently it has been reviewed in both the Guardian and Sainsburys Magazine (August edition) and should not be viewed as a place where only gluten avoid-ers should visit. As both myself and Michelle were thinking about the Tripility website, we made sure that we first checked the disabled access.
Although at the street entrance there were a few steps into the restaurant, we were assured that step free disabled access was available via the rear of the restaurant and this would allow access to the main eating area. Furthermore the toilets were not down steps, but down a gentle slope leading towards a large disabled toilet. Perfect location for a Tripility meal. As we entered the restaurant we were blown away by the array of homemade (gluten free!) cakes on offer, each one looking delicious. We started with a jug of Pimms, while carefully considering the options and eyeing up other diners food.
To start with we shared the infamous scotch egg, which as I have followed a gluten free diet for many years I had never tasted before, that tasted amazing. It was light, delicious and the quails egg inside was a surprise. I soon realised why people eat scotch eggs, which I previously viewed as repulsive food items, and am already planning my next trip just for a scotch egg – maybe they could do a mail order service?!
Our mains were just as delicious. Michelle had opted for the steak and (gluten free) ale pie which came with a light and not crumbly (as is usual with gluten free pastry) crust, served with an enormous mound of vegetables. It not only looked fantastic, but tasted so as well. I had also opted for a pastry item and chosen quiche, which was probably the best gluten free quiche I have had (sorry Mum!) with no traces of a ‘soggy bottom’. By this point, we were both rather full and really did not need more food, the cakes had been goading us throughout the meal and viewing the pudding menu did not help us to resist temptation. The chocolate torte once again showcased the amazing pastry and cooking skills of the 2 Oxford Place mother and daughter duo.
Finally, after managing to consume nearly our own body weight in food, we were surprised to see how well priced the meal was. 2 Oxford Place really is a gem and should be visited by coeliacs and non-coeliacs alike. Additionally the vegan, vegetarian and diary free menus further demonstrate the wonderful skills of the team. We could not have asked for a better meal or friendlier service from the waitress, who was very happy to give us reviews of every cake. Next trip to Leeds we will be returning, possibly prepared with Tupperware to take home cake and scotch eggs!