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Restaurant/pub menus

(56 Posts)
Crazyfrog007 Sun 16-Dec-18 11:14:27

I am celiac and really struggle when looking for pubs/restaurants to eat out at because the majority don't bother putting whether their food is gluten free or not on their menus.

Every single pub or restaurant makes it clear, however, whether their food is vegetarian and it's becoming increasingly common that they also label the food which is vegan.

Whilst I understand that there are lots of good reasons for becoming vegetarian or vegan, and demand for this kind of food is likely to be higher than for gf, at the end of the day it is a life choice, not a requirement.

AIBU to be frustrated that restaurants/pubs cater for a life choice but not a very serious dietary requirement?

Please note--this is NOT a thread bashing vegetarians/vegans. I am simply frustrated at constantly seeing v/ve on menus but not gf/gfo.

masktaster Sun 16-Dec-18 11:17:51

Some places will have a separate "menu" that highlights what is GF/etc on the main menu - Wetherspoons generally have these on the bar (along with other dietary requirements). And everywhere should have a book with everything they cook and serve with allergen information if you're able to ask. A bit more hassle, but if you're doing that you also lessen the risk of cross contamination, because you're making FOH and kitchen aware that you have the allergy.

Crazyfrog007 Sun 16-Dec-18 11:21:51

Thanks masktaster.

Yes, some places do have a separate menu, which is always useful and everywhere has a big black book I can rifle through.

I suppose I'm just finding it irritating this morning trying to find a place for Sunday lunch and very few places have anything on their menus online to indicate whether I can actually eat there or not. Really annoying to have to ring each and every place.

Maybe I'm just a grouch this morning.

TheDarkPassenger Sun 16-Dec-18 11:22:06

Choose something that is gluten free, and then tell the restaurant so they can sortcross contamination. It’s not difficult surely you know what you can and can’t have?

Eg. I’ll have the gammon and chips, I’m gluten free though.
Okay that’s fine the chips are not gluten free though as we don’t have a dedicated fryer, would you like potatoes instead?
Yes please.


nutellalove Sun 16-Dec-18 11:23:54

Appreciate the struggle, but for a small minority it's probably easier to just explain to the waiter. Otherwise they'd have to start labelling, nuts, lactose etc. Probably also safer to let the waiter know who can actively inform the kitchen there is an allergy even if the dish is supposed to be 'gluten free' there could be cross contamination

Crazyfrog007 Sun 16-Dec-18 11:24:39

Yes. Thanks. I'm aware what I can and can't have but that completely misses the point of my post.

FamilyOfAliens Sun 16-Dec-18 11:27:56

It hasn’t really got anything to do with vegetarians and vegans has it? So I’m not sure why you mention them.

Crazyfrog007 Sun 16-Dec-18 11:31:06

Thanks nutellalove. Yes, I do do this. It's more when I'm looking for somewhere to go and then have to ring every blooming place.

No, it's the ve/v on the menu but not bothering to have a gf/gfo. I suppose it's just the comparison that I'm making that a life choice is catered for but not a dietary requirement.

It's just frustrating.

HermioneKipper Sun 16-Dec-18 11:34:51

No need to bash veggies/vegans for the lack of info about your requirements. Yes maybe restaurants should add more labels etc but don’t understand why you’re bringing other “life choices” into it. It’s not a “requirement” for you to eat out if you want to go down that road. Just ask the waiter if you need to

MyBreadIsEggy Sun 16-Dec-18 11:35:00

We have the same problem with our multi-allergy DS sad
Half the time, we find something he can eat, only to find out it’s cooked in the same fryer as something containing dairy or egg, so it’s a cross contamination nightmare.
Nando’s are great for catering to allergies/intolerances though!! My son’s food always comes out with a massive red allergy sticker on it, and our local one got me to stand at the service hatch so I could see them scrub the grill to within an inch of its life before they put my son’s chicken on it!

DrunkOnCalpol Sun 16-Dec-18 11:35:27

I suppose it's because if they label something as veggie but there is some accidental cross contamination no one will get ill, but they can't really label something as gf unless they are 100% sure there is absolutely no cross contaminatin, it really needs a completely seperate prep area to be able to do that

Sirzy Sun 16-Dec-18 11:35:31

I think it is to stop people just seeing it is gf/nut free whatever and then ordering it without making staff aware of their illness/allergy.

If people have the conversation then staff can ensure everything is kept safe

Threadastaire Sun 16-Dec-18 11:37:44

I understand your frustration but I think it's much easier/less risky to create a vegetarian option than it is a GF option, and the consequences of a restaurant getting it wrong could be so so much worse.
That and they've had about 40yrs to get the hang of vegetarianism when GF hasn't been well understood. I think unfortunately the reason places like whetherspoons can do it is because everything is microwaved, it's much harder to achieve in a standard kitchen.

Crazyfrog007 Sun 16-Dec-18 11:42:50

As I said in the previous in my OP Hermione, I'm not intending to bash veggies/vegans. I am, however, stating facts. And frankly, everyone likes to go out and eat so there's no need to be a pedant.

Yes, I suppose the ramifications of getting it wrong with gf (and nut free-thanks to the poster who pointed that out) are much greater. Just some kind of indication that they can cater for it would be good and save a lot of ringing round/having to go elsewhere...

pastabest Sun 16-Dec-18 11:53:42

Actually we've found the opposite, that lost of places now label things gluten free but often on questioning it turns out that the chips have been cooked in the same fryer as non gluten free stuff etc because they haven't understood the cross contamination risks for Coeliac.

I think it's still hugely misunderstood and people think it's an allergy/intolerance or faddy eating rather an autoimmune condition that can make people really ill with even a crumb of gluten containing ingredients.

I suppose you just get to know in your local area where you can eat and where you can't eventually.

IchWill Sun 16-Dec-18 12:15:21

I'm vegan so I can empathise, although I do realise that eating something in error has greater ramifications for you and my dietry needs are by choice.

I do get annoyed by the lack of clarity on menus. Now that allergen books are law, it should be easy for establishments to label dishes on the menu.

I wonder if you get annoyed that you can't partake in set menus too? I do! Friday I went to a gastro pub with work for Christmas lunch, they all had the set menu, 2 courses for £13. They had no vegan main dish option on the set menu and couldn't deviate from it. If I had had a starter too, that would have cost me £6 on top of the £12 main.

My main was a vegan burger and chips. It came out in a brioche bun. Which usually aren't vegan (dairy in them), I queried it, the waitress said it was the vegan burger so the bun should be vegan. I asked her to double check, two mins later she grabs my plate and takes it away to swap the bun as it did contain dairy. I'm sat there while my colleagues are munching their second course, while I'm starving my arse off waiting for my only course! 😂

Oh and you mention the allergens book. I went to Rev Dear Cuba, couldn't see anything obviously vegan on the menu. Asked the waiter for help, he said to look at the allergens list on my phone, on their website (I thought the law meant that a book shelf be available on site?) but the list wasn't easy to read on my mobile. So I asked if I could order something vegetarian and they make it minus the dairy, say a quesadilla but minus the cheese. They refused point blank, saying they won't adfapt dishes on the menu!!! I ended up walking out and going to a bar next door, where the menu was labelled and the food lovely.

IchWill Sun 16-Dec-18 12:16:04

Oh and I will add, it's getting better. I'm seeing more places with dedicated menus for dietary requirements.

Crazyfrog007 Sun 16-Dec-18 12:35:56

Ichwill- oh my life!!! Set menus are the worst! It's the most annoying thing on the planet. Especially when it works out to be more expensive because the restaurant won't make allowances.

And thank you for taking the post as meant. I think the dietary requirements thing is likely a frustration across the board!

IchWill Sun 16-Dec-18 13:09:33

@Crazyfrog007 I totally understood your OP. You weren't bashing anyone except the stupid pubs and restaurants that can't be arsed to assist a wide sub-section of their clientele. You're well within your rights to feel aggrieved too.

It's frustrating and makes a simple night out bloody difficult and you feel like you're making a fuss / being awkward.

As I say, I think it is getting better. Just a bit slowly though.

The more we speak up, the more thes establishments will realise they need to listen.

WhyDontYouComeOnOver Sun 16-Dec-18 13:15:56

As a celiac, YANBU! It's ridiculous that a life choice is given priority over an illness. Most restaurants are crap with gluten-free even if you explain, which you shouldn't have to. It should be on every menu.

E20mom Sun 16-Dec-18 13:20:40

Family members are coeliac. I just call restaurants in advance and they tell me. It's no biggie.

WhyDontYouComeOnOver Sun 16-Dec-18 13:22:26

How do you do that if you're out shopping? Or go for an impromptu lunch on a break at work? Or after evening drinks, or when having an unplanned takeaway when visiting someone? I'm not that prepared and wouldn't be able to ring ahead incase anyone else didn't want to eat in one specific place!

HammerHorror Sun 16-Dec-18 13:26:29

All food establishments will have an allergy folder. Most places have separate allergy menus.

Our children have multiple allergies including anaphylaxis between them, it can be a faff but we've never encountered issues of non-labelling or a lack of information when eating out.

You sound like you want special treatment. You know you're coeliac and you must know what foods are safe!

HammerHorror Sun 16-Dec-18 13:28:03

And why is labelling gluten free more important than labelling the other 14 (?) common allergens?

That's why there are allergy folders.

veggiepigsinpastryblankets Sun 16-Dec-18 13:29:50

YANBU - the whole point of the Internet is to have lots of information online that people can view if they want to. If they have this stuff printed in the restaurant there's no reason it couldn't also be on the website so you can check yourself in advance.

The reason they do this for vegetarians is that there are enough of us that it makes commercial sense - I just won't go somewhere that doesn't bother (or only has the dreaded mushroom risotto) so the places that cater to our ethical whims will make more money. But people with uncommon medical requirements have a bigger incentive to do the legwork themselves, so restaurants take the easy route of leaving you to it. It's not fair, particularly given when I accidentally on purpose eat cheese with rennet in (for example) the immediate health consequences are zero whereas actually accidentally eating gluten would make you very ill.

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