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The Aleppo Merchant

The Aleppo Merchant - Caersws, Powys

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While in Powys we were after somewhere to have a meal, we looked at a few pubs but they didn't have much to offer, we eventually came across the Aleppo Merchant online and the menu looked good so on the off chance we emailed them to ask if they could cater to Coeliacs.

Within a few hours we had a reply from the owner who sent a list back of what was gluten free or could be made gluten free and also pointed out that chips where cooked in a separate fryer and the chef was knowledgeable about cross contamination. Considering we never asked about either of those in the email we took it as a good sign that they knew what they were doing.

Salmon with spinach in a dill sauce
Salmon with spinach in a dill sauce
The list of what they had on offer was fairly substantial compared to a lot of pubs and included a couple of starters. Mains included steaks (without sauces),gammon, duck (again without the sauce),home cooked ham and curry. The email we got also said they usually had a gluten free dessert available but it was different all the time.

We made a reservation and turned up on the day to find we were the only ones there (it was early and they had only just started serving food),so we chatted to the landlord for a bit, he said they tried to offer options for all dietary requirements where they can and put our minds are rest, not that we had any doubts, that the the chef fully understood how to cater to Coeliacs. We placed our orders with the landlord while we were chatting and he took them through the back.

A few minutes later the landlord came back and said they were out of duck which was what I was going to have so instead I chose to have the salmon which came in a creamy sauce and on a bed of spinach.

We were shown to our seats in the restaurant part of the pub and took a look at the menu on the table, it didn't say anything about gluten free except on the dessert menu where it stated they had gluten free desserts available.

Gluten free apple and caramel pie with custard
Gluten free apple and caramel pie with custard
The food didn't take too long to get to us and what came out was amazing. On my plate was just the salmon in the creamy dill sauce but then out came a large tray of vegetables to serve the whole table and a whole load of chips to share. Since all the meals came with the same sides (well we all chose the same, we were offered salad and a choice of different potato options too) it made sense that they were all served together to help yourself too.

With a side plate piled high with veg and chips you certainly got a good meal for you money and it was all tasty and well presented. The sauce on the salmon was perfect, deliciously creamy with a hint of dill, it just went so well with the salmon and spinach.

We managed to find some room for dessert so asked what they had gluten free, the waitress wasn't sure so went and got the landlord who went and checked the freezer. He came back minutes later saying they had an apple pie topped with caramel, chocolate cake or ice cream.

Liking the sound of the apple pie I opted for that with custard, the landlord told us the maker of the apple pie, which was delicious, so we could buy it again (not that I could remember what it was when we left),the company also make a gluten version of the same apple pie which the pub also sometimes have in.

The whole meal was amazing, the prices are slightly higher than some but don't let that put you off, what you get is well worth the money. All the staff are lovely and are well aware of cross contamination too which is always good. If you are in the area we suggest you give them a try, it is definitely worth it.

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