Eating out can be a nightmare for anyone with food allergies or intolerances. The amount of trust you have to put in someone cooking up a meal in what is most likely a gluten infested kitchen is something I don’t ever think will get easier. There have been times over the years when I have paid more than anyone at my table to have a main meal, as sandwiches or wheat laden gravy dishes were off the cards. I have had a waiter arrive at my table holding a plate full of pasta smothered in cheese, despite me telling them I could in no way eat this sort of meal. And then there have been times in cafes when my soya milk was actually cow’s milk, leaving me feeling ill for ages after. I guess eating out is in a way like playing Russian roulette.
On a recent trip to London, I stopped off at a steak house called Steak & Co. Granted, I get sick of eating steak all the time when out and about as it’s the only thing that seems to be available with non-gluten containing ingredients, but I was in a hurry to find somewhere to eat and the restaurant actually looked quite appealing.
Upon taking a seat I was greeted by a waiter who I asked about a gluten free menu, to which I was told they didn’t have one which is very common in food establishments. However, when I asked for an allergy listing for the dishes on offer, they looked at me like I’d just asked to see a monkey riding a motorbike. The waiter then told me ‘I’m sure you probably know what you can and can’t eat’ in a polite but very unhelpful way.
Obviously I opted for the safe option and chose the fillet steak, with no sauce, no butter and no chips as these all contained wheat and dairy. Me and my friend assumed that being a steak house, chips would be included as a side dish, but no they cost no less than £2.50, and my jacket potato cost £3.50. I commented to my friend on how if I was the chef I would be embarrassed to send out a steak on its own with not even chips to accompany it. The best bit was, nearly £22 for a steak and you had to cook it yourself on the grill plates which were presented, a nice little touch for some but I don’t think it really satisfies the whole ‘let’s go out to eat dear to save cooking tonight.’
I admit, upon looking at their menu there were some really appealing dishes on offer which I would have loved to have tasted, and for normal eaters I’m sure this place would be a foodie’s heaven if looking for a typical grill house. Unfortunately, due to the staff’s lack of knowledge on food allergies and very limited options available for special diets, I can’t say I’d recommend Steak & Co to many people.