Eating out with friends and family is an enjoyable experience and this should be no different for those with gluten-free dietary requirements. Unfortunately, if you have coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance, dining out can be a challenge. Although restaurants are becoming more aware of what it means to be gluten-free, there are still occasions when this isn’t the case and you have to take responsibility to make sure your food is safe to eat. Next time you eat out and aren’t sure about a restaurant’s menu or practices, make sure you ask the following questions.
Is the food gluten-free and safe for me to eat?
This may seem like an obvious question to ask, but if the menu doesn’t make it clear whether something is gluten-free, it’s important for you to be sure. Some restaurants do not have a gluten-free menu but do have offerings that are naturally gluten-free, such as salads served without croutons or meat and fish dishes served with a gluten-free sauce.
Choosing something you know to be gluten-free is a way for you to eat out in more restaurants as a coeliac, but you should never assume that something is 100% safe and must ask before ordering.
Explain to staff that you have coeliac disease or are intolerant to gluten, making them aware of how important it is to prevent your meal from becoming contaminated. Some staff members may be better aware of what this means than others, so check that you are speaking to someone who can go over the ingredients that go into each dish. Often the best way of ensuring you can enjoy a gluten-free meal at a restaurant is to call them prior to your visit and ask any questions you have about specific dishes.
How do you prepare gluten-free meals?
Unfortunately, for some restaurants it is very difficult to provide gluten-free meals because they have little space to prepare food, which makes cross-contamination more likely. For a meal to be safe for consumption by someone on a gluten-free diet, it must not have been fried in the same pan or oil as ingredients containing gluten, and must also not have been prepared with utensils or gloves that have been in contact with non-gluten-free foods.
To make sure you don’t get ill, ask questions to determine how gluten-free food is prepared. Once you are satisfied that steps will be taken to prevent cross-contamination, you won’t have to worry and can enjoy your meal.
How are gluten-free orders communicated to staff?
This is another important question for peace of mind, as you want to be sure that once your order has been taken, kitchen and floor staff will be aware of how your meal should be prepared. Some restaurants use specific labels or plate colours for gluten-free food, while others will have a manager prepare meals for customers with special dietary requirements. Make sure you are happy with a restaurant’s practices before eating there and remember that restaurant staff will be happy to answer any questions, so you shouldn’t feel self-conscious about getting the information you need.
Keep these questions in mind next time you eat out and you’ll be able to dine confidently, safe in the knowledge that you are maintaining your gluten-free diet.
If you follow a gluten-free diet and want to enjoy a delicious fine dining experience without the stress, visit M RAW Victoria Street. Offering the best 100% gluten free menu in London, you can enjoy mouth-watering tartares and tempura as well as ethically sourced sashimi and world-class steaks.
For more information or to book a table, visit their website.