Sunday, 30 December 2012

Nando's gluten free -speedy, tasty and very helpful

I've walked past my local Nando's many times, looked in the window at the people eating, checked the menu in the window- and because it gave no mention of being able to meet the needs of people who are gluten intolerant walked on by.  They mention nuts, so it was clear they understood that some people have food difficulties, and even mentioned that vegetarians could be assured that their food would not touch the chicken...but no mention of gluten.  Today, having discovered the place we planned to try wasn't open for lunch on Sunday, in we went.

It didn't start so well as when I asked the greeter about gf options she said she wasn't sure and I would have to ask at the desk where they took orders.  I looked at the menu, went to have a chat, and was immediately offered the giant everything you need to know about the food book, plus the offer of help to work out what I needed to know.  I had a look, had a chat, chose my meal and went to order it.  When I put in the order the person who had helped me with the book asked if I had checked one of the items, and when I said I hadn't (having been told all those side orders were ok), he got the book and checked just to be sure. It was fine.

So, all the chicken and bastes are ok, the salads and hot side orders are fine, just the wraps, breads etc, the obvious things, are off limits.  The book is extra useful because it not only says if the food is ok for vegetarians and coeliacs, it also lists every ingredient, so if you have a problem with some less obvious food, like celery or vinegar you can check each item.

The food came very fast - it is obviously mostly made in advance and reheated as needed.  However, it was tasty and I managed to have a very well balanced meal - often quite difficult in restaurants, who seem to think all you want to eat is protein and fat.  It is a shame they don't have outlets on motorway service stations, they would be ideal for a quick meal while travelling.

So, the food was good, quick and safe, the staff were very helpful, and there was a range of things I could have eaten.  Their chips are gluten free too, so if you are having cravings this would be a reliable place to go.  Not the best in the world but perfectly adequate.  You could also eat well here as a vegetarian - I had a spicy bean dish, which, with ratatouille, salad, sweetcorn and potato would make an excellent full meal.

Deserts all looked wheat and dairy based but I didn't try them nor did I ask if they had anything else.  I couldn't quite finish my main meal of chicken, spicy beans and ratatouille.

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