Going out for a birthday meal these days always requires some preplanning, so when it was my Mum's birthday I did my research to find somewhere new to go, came cross The White Hart online, their menu clearly stating which meals were gluten free as they were marked with GF, looking at the menu online I saw there was a few options, by few I mean 6 or so, the usual steak and gammon, prawn or chicken sizzler, teriakyi salmon stated "GF option" (presumably removal of the noodles) and salad, plus a starter option and a dessert option so we decided to go there, we reserved a table weeks before and asked about gluten free, the man on the end said it would be no problem at all.
Gluten free chocolate and almond cake at the White Hart, Hough
So, time comes for us to go, we get there and get handed menus, first thing I notice is the salmon is no longer marked with GF option, no problem there, still leaves a few meals to choose from. With steak or salad being the usual options at any pub for gluten free I really wanted to stay clear of those, I could get them anywhere after all, that knocked my options down to two, so after some deliberation and staring at the prawn sizzler and sweet chilli chicken sizzler for a considerable amount of time I decided on prawn. We waited a few minutes for the waitress, the pub was packed and she was rushed off her feet, eventually she came and everyone placed their orders leaving mine until last. "I'll have the chicken sizzler", my Mum being my Mum though cut me to the chase and before I opened my mouth to get the next sentence out she had already said "is it definitely gluten free? The tiniest bit of gluten makes her really poorly". "Umm, I think so. I'll go check to make sure".
Steak and chips White Hart, Hough
Well at least she didn't turn and say yes just because it was marked on the menu as gluten free, good job too, "chef says they have changed sauce and it contains gluten now". At least they were honest, I guess thats something. Another staring session at the other option that I fancied, "ok, so how about the prawn sizzler, is that gluten free like it says?". "I'll go check".
A few minutes later she returned. "I'm really sorry, but chefs not sure". How can he not be sure? Anyway, I don't feel like arguing it out and stomping to the kitchen to check the ingredients myself, so third time lucky right? "I'll have steak then. Are the chips cooked separately, otherwise they are a cross contamination risk?". You've guessed her answer. She sure did clock up some miles on her pedometer sorting my meal out! Anyway, another jog to see the chef. "Chef says he can cook them separate especially for you". Steak and chips it is then.
The meal itself was really lovely when I got it, steak, peas, onions, mushrooms, tomato and handcut fries (cooked in fresh oil by the looks of the little oil in the bottom of the dish). I couldn't fault the meal at all, the price for excellent for what we got, everything was fresh and hot and I definitely didn't get glutened by it (a bonus for anyone that I think).
We chose to have pudding, expecting the same palava, but we didn't, we got a different server for pudding but he knew the chocolate almond cake was gluten free, only thing he had to run and check was to make sure the ice cream was ok (it was),so I had that. It was really nice, but the menu didn't point it would be full to the hilt of hazelnuts, chocolate and almond to me is chocolate cake made with almond flour, maybe almond pieces in it, not a bucket load of hazelnuts. Nonetheless it was nice, everyone enjoyed it (even my mum who isn't a hazelnut fan, after she pulled a good 3 dozen hazelnuts out of her slice)!
Overall the meal itself was lovely, it was just the hoo har of actually finding something to have in the first place and the chef seeming to not be 100% certain on some aspects of some meals that let it down a bit. My whole family agreed that if it is marked gluten free it should either remain gluten free or the gluten free be crossed out if they can't manage it, not have to triple check when the menu states it. If we had not checked I would have received a supposed gluten free meal that actually contained gluten. I admit they tried, and they did find something I could have eventually, but not sure I would return, just because of all the hassle.