When I recently attended the Free From Food Awards presentation. I was reminded again of the fantastic developments – both in terms of scale and quality – of the free from food sector. Since 2010 when I first started writing this blog the free from retail sector has almost doubled from £278 million to £531 million in 2016, according to Mintel. Yet that great British meal of fish and chips seems to be one of the last bastions of food to escape the current expansion of gluten free food within the UK. I suppose in no small part this is due to the probable proponents of the current free from market explosion being ‘lifestylers’ – those who choose to eat gluten free as they see it as the healthier option. Consequently, deep fried and battered fish with chips is unlikely to win any converts from this group, even if those with medical reasons not to consume gluten would love to find it more regularly when eating out. When gluten free fish and chips can be found, it’s often limited to once a week (or less frequent) and usually after the fryers have been cleaned and replaced with fresh new oil. (I’ve written before about several notable exceptions to this here, here and here). So on our recent trip to Dorset I was really happy to discover The Old Harbour, a fish and chip shop in Weymouth which offers gluten free fish and chips every day. The Old Harbour is open 7 days a week and offers gluten free fish and chips on all of them. This fish and chips are cooked separately to avoid cross contamination. You can eat in its restaurant or take out. No need to phone ahead and pre book the gluten free batter either. I ordered the gluten free haddock. I missed the bit on the menu that noted it was large. Large is an understatement. Ginormous, bigger than your head, enough to feed a small army, these would all have been better descriptions of this enormous piece of fish. And yes, it did defeat me. The batter wrapped around the fish was crispy and certainly more like a regular, more dense fish batter than I’ve tasted elsewhere. I could’ve ordered gluten free curry sauce to go with my fish and chips but on this occasion declined. If it’s the one I tasted recently at Olley’s in Herne Hill (and I suspect it would be), then it’s delicious. They even had gluten free vinegar. However, Coeliac UK say barley malt vinegar is safe for Coeliacs to eat. But that’s up to you which you’d prefer, the good thing is there’s a choice. Weymouth itself is very much a typical British seaside resort. Even down to the weather which was murky before we had lunch….. And then broke to beautiful sunshine. A great day for a cloud spotter like me. Cost: £28.50 for 2 (enormous) adult portions and 2 children’s meals plus 2 drinks. Fantastic value. Location: 16 St Edmunds Street, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8AR Website: www.theoldharbour.co.uk Would I go back? I’d love to. But next time I’ll order a smaller portion of fish and will go for the curry sauce Are you a fish and chip fan? Have you found any great (and safe) gluten free fish and chip restaurants which you’d recommend?
More places to enjoy coeliac-safe gluten free fish and chips in the UK:
- Gluten Free Fish and Chips at Shakey Shakey, Herne Bay, Kent
- Gluten Free Fish and Chips at The Boathouse, Seaview, Isle of Wight
- Gluten Free Fish and Chips at The Happy Haddock, Shanklin, Isle of Wight
- Gluten Free Fish and Chips at Wolfies of Hove, West Sussex
- Gluten Free Fish and Chips at The Seine Rigger, Surrey
- Gluten Free Fish and Chips at Rick Stein’s in Padstow, Cornwall