Edinburgh’s art galleries have such good cafes they are destinations in themselves. The two modern art galleries on Belford Road and the Portrait Gallery on Queen Street have great cafes that are certainly food allergy aware.
A Sunday afternoon visit to view the brilliant “Two Roberts” exhibition (visit before it ends!) was accompanied by a light lunch at Modern One. This café is my favourite as it has a lovely garden and in the summer, you can sit outside on the terrace in the sunshine and enjoy the gorgeous herbaceous border. Some people were even braving it in March.
Eating with two gluten eaters, I and they were very happy with our choices and praised the food, service and surroundings. The service is buffet style, but there is pretty good information around to demonstrate awareness of allergies – including a clear sign saying to ask for details. The cakes are laid out beautifully on a table and the little signs on the cakes have details written on the back. Those that are gluten free (of which there was a choice!), were clearly marked. The savoury service buffet area could maybe do with a little more similarly helpful signage to help with choices.
However, the staff are so well educated on gluten free options and so helpful, that I was quickly informed what I could and could not have. And I was never made to feel odd or difficult and choosing was really easy.
My chosen main course included strips of roasted butternut with pomegranate seeds, spinach and a balsamic dressing, plus a delicious salad of chickpeas, aubergine, red onion and beetroot leaves, all jumbled together. The colours of the food were art in themselves – it was deliciously appetising and looked beautiful on the white plate. It did not disappoint as the flavours were as punchy as the colours.
For pudding I felt compelled to try the gluten free carrot cake with cream cheese frosting – I am writing reviews on gluten free eating, so I must try the cake. It was made using GF substitute flour, but there was not a hint of that residual grittiness – it was light and seriously moist. There was a really interesting base of cranberries, which brought some zing against the sweetness of the icing. My gluten eating friends were as thrilled as I was with this carrot cake – so it was a real hit.
These cafes are very good and I highly recommend them for a coeliac friendly stop-off while in Edinburgh. If I have only one tiny gripe it is that the gluten free cakes are very close to the glutenous ones and I might only wonder if there was a risk of cross-contamination. However, as I felt fine after my delicious lunch, clearly they do not stay on the cake table long enough for those pesky bits of gluten to reach them!