As someone who was diagnosed with Coeliac’s disease at the end of last year, I’ve found the prospect of travelling abroad quite daunting. As those of you who suffer from Coeliac’s or gluten intolerance will know, it can be hard enough to work your way around restaurants and cafes in England.
From the first day everything was made much simpler by following the blog ‘The Happy Coeliac’ (link here). A quick visit to McDonald’s bagging myself a cheeky quarter pounder meal, while in slight disbelief that I could actually have bread on my burger, gave me the reassurance I needed that I would at least have one option for eating during the next three days.
I would hugely recommend using this blog if you’re travelling around in Amsterdam. As Samantha, the blogger, mentions, the employees at the café Bagels & Beans were more than helpful with all my eating worries with the menu itself offering a gluten-free bagel. In fact, when I went to order the chicken and avocado bagel Samantha recommends, our waitress actually went to speak to the chef to make sure it was 100% gluten-free before coming back and telling me that the dressing may contain gluten traces but I could opt to have it without.
However, me being the optimist I am, on our second day I decided that as a group we would try to track down our own restaurant, the aim being I could find something new to offer to the gluten-free squad. The venue of choice was Spingaren. So, after the half an hour trek from our hostel we eventually found it within the maze of canals around central Amsterdam. On arrival, I must say I was a bit gutted because the name was different to the one we found. Yet, after sitting us down our waitress quickly explained this was only their second day of being open.
After asking about their gluten-free options, a waitress explained to me that since they were new they didn’t yet have a gluten-free menu available but she would go and speak to the chefs and find out what my options were. Around fifteen minutes went by and I was beginning to think she had been shouted at and bottled it when it came to coming to tell me there was nothing for me to eat. HOWEVER, she eventually sprung to the table with 6 standard menus and a paper menu for me. I quickly realised they had printed out their standard menu on paper and highlighted every meal which contained gluten and the exact ingredients within that meal that I couldn’t have (couldn’t believe my luck). I’m not even embarrassed to say I did tear up a bit at the effort she had gone to.
I eventually went for a chuck steak with fries (gluten-free as well, almost too good to be true) and béarnaise sauce. It was an absolute solid 10/10 for me in terms of portion size, quality and for lacking the á la cardboard flavour that comes with a lot of gluten-free meals. The staff went above and beyond to make me feel comfortable and confident in what I was eating – something that I have struggled with when eating out. My praise for them extends also to their amazing fluency with English, making the whole evening a lot more enjoyable.