Seeing as it’s Coeliac awareness week (13th – 20th March 2018), I thought I would dedicate a post to a specific country inn/pub called the Rose and Olive Branch in Virginia Water, Surrey, serving a completely dedicated Coeliac menu. I visited here recently and, apart from eating at a completely 100% gluten free restaurant, I have never felt so safe eating out! Down a cute country road, it was a hidden gem to most certainly be visited in future.
First of all, I’ll start by saying that the owner and chef is Coeliac too, also a lovely and welcoming woman. So immediately felt safe being handed the menu by them. Sat down, looked at it and was already amazed by the options such as gluten free toasted sandwiches/rolls with pretty much any filling, jacket potatoes, omelettes etc. However, once I finally made my mind up about getting a jacket potato filled with bacon, salsa, guacamole and cheese (with a salad), I NOTICED ANOTHER WHOLE SIDE TO THIS A4 MENU. Result. My friend was just happy for me, as even finding a pub with remotely safe gf food is a rarity, let alone being marketed at people with Coeliac Disease. I noticed more delicious-sounding specials, dinner options (aubergine bakes, steaks) and a variety of starters. Including gluten free garlic bread with mozzarella, so obviously I just had to get that too!
When being asked for what drinks we wanted, I asked about bottled ciders as thought it would be nice to have one with my meal. However, the options on offer were Bulmers or Koppaberg. I don’t drink Koppaberg so I went for a Bulmers with blackcurrant juice (my back up option, always)! When first diagnosed, I remember looking into all the different alcohols, particularly cider, and noticed Koppaberg was the only one out of them all that contained 5ppm. So, if you are Coeliac, then Old Mout and Rekorderlig are great if you love the fruitier ciders. Do any other Coeliacs not drink Koppaberg? What about the ‘made in a factory’ or ‘may contain wheat/gluten’ warnings on products? Please comment and let me know, I’m very interested!
The food arrived and I was in gluten free paradise. The garlic bread was soft, like ciabatta rolls and really garlicky – which I loved! Although jackets are something that’s pretty much always gf, the fillings I chose were so different and very yummy! I hadn’t ever seen such a big and perfect potato before, it was so satisfying and filled me up for the rest of the day.
A couple of fun facts for you for if you ever get the chance visit, or are simply just interested now you’ve started reading:
- The chef has been Coeliac for 40 years btw. So she knows EVERYTHING.
- On the restaurant’s website, it has some history about the building itself and it’s actually considered to be haunted. Yes, haunted (eek!) by a ghost who frequently visits a disused stairway. Once an old beer and cider house, it’s 200-250 years old so you can understand why it’s believed to have a little friendly – I hope – ghost friend.
- They had a wide range of gluten free desserts also on offer including rhubarb crumble, winter berry cheesecake and chocolate brownie. But also, on a non-gluten note, the strangest selection of homemade pies ever! (see photos below for more).
I absolutely adored my experience here and highly recommend taking a visit for yourself. If you’re interested in more information or to find a selection of gluten containing menus, you can find the Rose and Olive Branch website here.
If you do decide to visit, please let me know what you think!