Thursday, 7 May 2015

Eating out with food intolerances - Chesters by the River ...Cumbria

More on eating out with food intolerances..... This is a follow on post from our Cumbria Trip
...see "Eating out with food intolerance's - Lucy's" ...
One of the days on our Lakeland trip we decided to walk from Skelwith Bridge to Elterwater and back along the river..walking the map in reverse. It's a great flat, easy access route for Heni's wheelchair/buggy. Not too long for the oxygen to run out but nice enough to feel like we'd done something.  
see for other easy routes
Half way point at the Britannia Inn in Elterwater

We did the same walk last year and started and ended the walk at CHESTERS BY THE RIVER (cafe).  The location is great, It has a lovely deck by the side of the river and has a very pretty shop attached to it, in which you can buy anything from cards to blankets to books. 
Last year we did the walk for the first time and had a meal at the end.... which was very enjoyable. The food was great and very tasty .This year we wanted to go back and have a repeat experience.  Frustratingly it was a  different story. Although we had a really lovely walk we didn't have the most positive end experience with the food.

Although "appearing" to accommodate food intolerances by the "token" one or two gluten free dishes, they really DIDN'T. Most of the dishes contained SOYA (another very popular intolerance that a lot of people have ...including 3 people in our party). It ended up that the only thing on the menu that we could have was a bowl of chips!! Nice chips...but not quite what we expected. 

The chips!

To make matters worse, there was no flexibility in gathering together some of the ingredients in the kitchen and making a quick chicken salad or something equally simple. The chefs were not that interested and the staff had a "take it or leave it" attitude. 
Unfortunately for Chesters, It wasn't just the people with the food intolerances who found their experience dissatisfying. We were ALL more than disappointed in the service and the food this year. 
I do like to give people a second chance though and not discount them too quickly from our Lakeland "refueling"  list, so I will be sending this post with feedback to them to see if there is any way that they can take all the SOYA out of their recipes! Sounds rather drastic but its really very simple to substitute with other non dairy milks.
There is a common misconception today that soya is a healthy substitute for dairy products....but It isn't! Not unless its a "fermented" soya like miso or tempeh, and even then only for some individuals. If you want to know a bit more about soya and its effects you might want to go take a look at:-

Eating out with a food allergy or intolerance is definitely a pot luck experience. 
Some times you win, sometimes you lose. 

I thought that I had cracked eating out before Christmas when I had booked a meal at Waddesdon Manor (Buckinghamshire) for the family.  
I  had telephoned the restaurant  three days ahead of time to see if they could cater for us... surely that would solve any problems? 
After being assured our needs wouldn't be a problem, when we got there not only did they NOT have anything  prepared, but the waiter had to keep checking with the chef what things could be included or excluded from the meal. In the end my son and I ate a Christmas meal minus all the good bits like the sausages wrapped in bacon (they easily had time to get gluten free sausages).  
To top it off cold fruit salad was served as a dessert, while everyone else had lovely wintery Christmassy puddings. How simple would it have been to have made a warm fruits of the forest compote with some added cinnamon served with some of the lemon/ lime sorbet they already had?  A world of difference! 

If basic ingredients are on hand it's a simple easy process to put them together and with a nice dressing or sauce (that can be prepared ahead of time) it can transform basic not so appealing food in to moist, tasty treats. So, come on Chesters  (and Waddesdon)...take a bit more thought for the Gluten, Dairy, Soya free clientele......
Perhaps you could replace the soya milk with oat or almond or coconut? I know you can definitely do better. 

...And for the rest of you readers....If you are in the Lakes....definitely do the walk by the river and have a mooch around the shop and maybe go make your own mind up...........hopefully by then it will have changed!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...