Sixty per cent of UK adults have bought gluten-free products, according to a YouGov report.
Ten per cent of households include someone who thinks gluten is bad for them, the research also showed.
Wheat is one of the offending grains. Photo: Pixabay
Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains like wheat, spelt, rye and barley which gives dough its elasticity and affects the chewiness of baked goods. While some people choose to cut it out for dietary reasons, many are unable to eat gluten due to an intolerance. For the one percent of people with coeliac disease, eating gluten is linked to osteoporosis, cancer of the small bowel and unexplained infertility problems.
Nottingham is home to a thriving restaurant scene with more than 15 independent cafes, 10 pizza restaurants and four tapas bars in the city centre alone. With such a wide range of places to choose from, surely gluten-free diners in the city are no longer limited to plain rice or salad?
Here’s a round-up of the top places in Nottingham to get your gluten-freek on.
Oscar and Rosie’s offer an infamous metre of pizza with a side of mac ‘n’ cheese and a slice of cheesecake for afters if you’ve not slumped into a food induced sleep.
For no extra cost, you can order a 12” gluten-free version of various pizzas on the menu from the magic mushroom to the cosmopolitan. The bases are as chewy yet crisp as the gluten versions.
Remember though, if you fancy the Brooklyn sausage party or one of the other meat-heavy pizzas, the sausages may have gluten in them.
Back in 2009, West End Arcade become home to Aubrey’s Creperie. Ever since, crepes and galettes have been flipped and folded to those wanting an authentic taste of France.
Galettes are naturally gluten-free as they’re made with buckwheat flour and so it is safe to indulge in as many savoury crepes topped with pesto, eggs, salmon or cider onions as you wish. Aubrey’s also offer sweet crepes made with buckwheat flour so the classic lemon and sugar doesn’t have to be missed!
Lover of British pies but on a gluten-free diet? Pieminister is the best choice for you. The restaurant, which opened a year ago at the Old Market Square in Nottingham, offers three gluten-free pie options.
Georgina Hyland from Pieminister explains: “There is a gluten-free Moo, which is a British beef steak and gluten-free craft ale pie, gluten-free Ranger made of free range British chicken and Wiltshire ham with leek and thyme and the most popular gluten-free Heidi, a sweet potato, Somerset goat’s cheese, spinach and red onion pie.”
The Heidi was awarded the Class Champion Title in the Free-From Pie Class at the British Pie Awards in March 2016.
The chain is licenced by Coeliac UK to use the crossed Grain Symbol, which certifies the quality of the gluten-free food.
“Gluten-free range is getting really popular also with people who aren’t gluten-free. Many people choose to cut gluten out of their diets and eat healthier,” says Georgina Hyland
Besides gluten-free pies there are also gluten-free skillets like pea, paneer, spinach & cauliflower curry with a Bombay potato top and many sides.
Pricewise, a gluten-free pie costs only one pound more than a gluten one, whereas there is no price difference in skillets and sides range.
If you’re craving some chargrilled mackerel or Moroccan lamb stew then Baresca is the place to get your gluten-free tapas fix. The menu clearly highlights all the gluten-free options and there a lot of them to work your way through.
Nine out of the ten meat dishes are gluten-free along with most of the fish and vegetable options. With the sharing style of tapas it means you can try lots of different dishes.
While the flatbreads aren’t gluten free, they do have gluten-free bread to dip into olive oil as you browse the options.
Ruth Davies is from Nottingham and has been gluten-free for 2 and a half years.
“Being gluten-free in Nottingham is easier now than it was a few years ago. Smaller cafes offer a lot of choice with breads and cakes.”
“A lot of restaurants offer gluten-free but they don’t label them so it makes it difficult to know what we can and can’t eat. I think restaurants just need to label things more clearly,” Davies says.
Launched in 2016 Griddle & Shake is a restaurant which offers not only gluten-free burgers but also gluten-free shakes.
The customers can choose the bread, filling and topping for the burgers, add sides or upgrade the meal and all of that can be gluten-free.
The real hook are gluten-free shakes. Who could resist a salted caramel, peanut butter, or maple syrup shake? There are also diary-free options.
“Our gluten free options are very popular. When I started to work for this business I thought we would have occasionally gluten-free customers, but the truth is that every single day we serve gluten-free food,” says Ruben Fernandez, assistant manager.
“Being coeliac is not easy, so we want to be fair and don’t charge people more just because they have different dietary requirements. One of our values is responsibility and we are really proud to offer the same service to everyone,” he added.
The menu is very clear for everyone who avoids gluten, dairy products or nuts.
Gluten-free bread might be a saviour for those that are gluten intolerant, but it can be expensive. In Sainsbury’s, a loaf of Warbutons brown bread will cost £1.25, but for the Warbutons gluten-free alternative (that weighs 240g less) it’ll cost you £3.
Fox Café in Nottingham can make all their sandwiches on gluten-free bread, at no extra cost, and the list is extensive. From roasted vegetables with humous, guacamole, beetroot and chicken or fig jam and prosciutto.
“With cakes people tend to choose vegan options but when it comes to bread the gluten free sandwiches are incredibly popular,” says Max Kidd who works at Fox Café.
Bored with burgers and sandwiches? Wanting to switch to some Mediterranean cuisine?
Greek restaurant Yamas hidden just behind the Old Market Square has plenty of gluten-free options. From Mezedes to main courses, customers on a gluten-free diet will definitely find something suitable.
It is difficult not to be tempted by a gluten-free Mediterranean Bake with peppers, onions and courgettes cooked in tomato sauce topped with feta cheese, or a gluten-free Lamb Tangine made with pieces of lamb cooked with apricots and raisins.
“The most popular gluten-free are Dolmades, which is seasoned lamb minced meat and rice, wrapped in vine leaves and Kleftico, a slow cooked lamb shank,” says George Ktori, the co-owner and chef.
“A fried dish is usually with gluten, because we use flour containing gluten, but we try to meet the needs of all the customers, we offer a fried Halloumi cheese and a grilled Halloumi, for example, which is a gluten free option,” he adds.
The Alley café is a vegan and veggie café hidden up Long Row. As well as offering fresh salads, burgers and beers there’s a variety of gluten-free options.
“The salads are naturally gluten free and we can make the burgers, sandwiches and pitta breads gluten-free, too,” says Mollie Hugh from the Alley Café.
“It’s important to take into account different dietary needs. Vegan and veggie are dietary choices that people choose to make, but if you have a gluten-intolerance it can make you really ill. It’s important to feed good food to people of all different diets,” explains Hugh.
If you would like to rest in a quiet place away from the city noise, Café Roya in Beeston, just four miles from the city centre would be one of the best gluten-free choices.
Inspired by the cuisine from the Middle East it offers a whole variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free dishes. The seasonal menu which changes every month includes dietary requirements for all customers.
Roya Bishop, the owner and chef, has been running the business for six years and is aware of changes in customers’ lifestyle.
“The business has been growing more and more every year and I think this is a reflection of people being more health conscious and being more aware of what they are eating.”
People on gluten-free diet can choose from sides, main courses and desserts.
“The most popular in March is definitely smoky black bean beet burger in a gluten-free corn roll and from desserts chocolate and orange Tia Maria silken torte with soya cream”
There is no price difference in regards to gluten-free dishes.
The Angel Microbrewery is definitely an important place on Nottingham’s food map for people on gluten-free diet. From being a brothel and a chapel, the building was transformed to a pub which was recently reopened as a microbrewery. Hidden on the Lace Market it offers a wide range of gluten-free food.
“The bestsellers are gluten-free fish and vegetarian fish option, where we just make gluten-free batter. We have also gluten-free burgers, unfortunately veggie burgers aren’t made at the moment, but we are looking into changing the recipe. We have gluten-free bread and soup base, so that we can arrange the gluten-free option for people,” says Ian Elliott, the chef at The Angel Microbrewery.
“We have the gluten-free options since we reopened, just because we want to make sure that everyone who comes in can eat here.”
“We have a few regular customers and every now and then there is someone who comes in because we offer gluten-free food.”
The Angel Microbrewery uses local and organic ingredients. The price difference between gluten-free and non-gluten-free main courses varies depending on the dish.
Words: Ellie Edwards and Joanna Oleskow