Gluten-free Hampshire: Restaurants, cafes, pubs and producers
PUBLISHED: 16:44 06 June 2016 | UPDATED: 16:44 06 June 2016
Coeliac disease affects 1 in 100 people, and many more are seeing the health benefits after waving goodbye to gluten. Natalie French speaks to just a few of the county’s cafes, pubs and producers who are embracing the gluten free way
The brunch stop
House Twenty8 is a family-run coffee house, juice bar and vegetarian café in the pretty village of Sherfield on Loddon, a few miles from Basingstoke.
Owner, Sarah Fannon says: “I was looking around at other coffee shops and no one was offering homemade gluten free cakes and savoury options. I decided it’s very important to offer this on the menu, as so many people have food allergies or choose to go GF for health benefits – and it’s vital to meet the customer’s needs.
“All the savoury items are gluten free from soups and quiches to stews, and we also offer gluten free options such as our popular avocado, pesto and vine ripened tomatoes on toasted sour dough”. Find out more at www.housetwenty8.co.uk.
The pub lunch
The Mayfly (www.themayfly.co.uk), in Fullerton, near Stockbridge is perched right on the River Test and has a gluten free menu throughout the week, but the pièce de résistance has to be the GF Sunday roasts. With a choice of beef, pork, lamb and chicken it includes the holy grail of roast dinners: GF gravy and Yorkshire puddings!
Towards Basingstoke, Bartons Mill in Old Basing (www.bartonsmillpubanddining.co.uk) has recently received a Grade A accreditation from Coeliac UK for their totally gluten free menu. Feast on delights such as the smoked fish board with mackerel, trout and smoked salmon mousse with a horseradish mayo and GF bread, pub classics such as sausage and creamy mash and, not one but four puds or a cheese board with GF biscuits or bread.
Gluten free dog lovers should head to The Compass Inn, in Winsor. Not only is it the first totally gluten free pub in the New Forest, it also claims to be the most dog friendly pub in area. Landlady, Mop Draper, who is gluten intolerant herself, says: “The pub going gluten free has been really good for all coeliacs, not just in our area but they come from miles around. Some stay in a B&B just to be able to eat at the pub! It is so very worrying for everyone with the complaint because nine out of ten times you eat out, you are ill. Some pubs and restaurants that offer a few GF meals are still causing problems as food gets contaminated with gluten and then you are ill.
“Everyone gets very excited when they come here, as they can choose from the whole menu and not just settle for a jacket potato! Our menu is as extensive as it was before we went 100% gluten free.
“We were always about 75% gluten free as I have been a sufferer for 40 years and I came to the conclusion that it would be better all round to go across the board. Nobody has noticed the difference and quite honestly people that don’t suffer with it have really no idea what it’s all about. Everyone can still enjoy it. Our bodies were not built to eat the grain!”
The pub also sells draught gluten free beer on the bar and bottled lager and real ale, so people can really relax and let their hair down! Book a table at www.compassinn.co.uk.
The bread winner
Mother and daughter team, Judy & Jenny Hicks, from Hampshire Gluten Free Company make delicious sweet and savoury treats from their 400 year old farm cottage, overlooking Watership Down. The small scale operation means everything is cooked by the pair, so there is absolutely no risk of contamination from wheat and gluten.
“Our savoury pies are particularly popular,” says Judy, “as are the sausage rolls. We also had one customer who said our bread was life changing! I suppose bread is such a staple in today’s diet and it can be difficult to go without it. The good thing about ours is that it doesn’t crumble, like other GF breads, but as it has no preservatives, I recommend you cut it up and freeze it, and take slices out as you need them.”
Those with a sweet tooth can choose from battenburg, chocolate, coffee, vanilla sponge and carrot cake – and made-to-order celebration cakes which daughter Jenny decorates all by hand. Gluten, wheat, dairy and egg free cakes are also available. All produce can be found at local markets or ordered online. See www.hampshireglutenfreecompany.co.uk for further details.
The pizza joint
One of the toughest things about going gluten free is giving up the foods you love the most, or finding tasty alternatives that you can get excited about, that aren’t just ‘make do’. With the arrival of The Stable in both Winchester and Southampton, pizza is back on the menu!
Co-founder and pizza legend, Andy Briggs says: “With the rise of coeliac disease in the UK we wanted to be able to offer our customers the opportunity to still be able to enjoy our delicious pizzas and dessert with peace of mind. The great thing about our menu is that all our pizzas can be made using a gluten free base. They take a little longer to cook but they are worth the wait. Most of our ciders are gluten free too so what better way to wash your pizza down than with a delicious glass of cider.” Find out more at www.stablepizza.com.
The fish & chips saviour
There are times in life where only fish & chips will do. Whistler’s Fish and Chips offer coeliac-friendly gluten free take away at Westbourne every Monday & Saturday, Hayling Island on Wednesday & Sunday and everyday in Fareham for both eat in and take away. The teams are fully trained on how to cook and serve GF foods, including dedicated fryers, utensils and oil and they even promise tasty gluten free batter!
On the Isle of Wight, head to Corries Cabin in Cowes on Tuesdays & Sundays for delicious GF fish & chips with the tastiest home-made tartar sauce.
Hartleys Fish & Chips in Hartley Wintney currently have a gluten free day on the first Monday of every month, but owner David Harris hopes to increase that to once a week. “It has proved popular and we get people coming from not just in the village, but from Hook, Yateley and Fleet. We offer an allergy list for all our foods and we would like to increase the GF days, but it’s quite difficult to keep everything separate as we do take it very seriously.”