If you are a person who cannot eat gluten, dining out can be difficult to navigate. So many foods use gluten as a binding and preserving agent, and for coeliacs, the risk of cross-contamination is also a problem. That’s why we rounded up this list of gut friendly restaurants and cafés where you and your gluten-free pals can dine in peace, safe from the spectre of surprise gluten.
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Gluten-free restaurants in Melbourne
The staff at Chocolate Buddha, a restaurant specialising in Japanese cuisine, are here to alleviate your concerns about gluten in your food. They have a gluten-free menu here and all of the gluten free food is prepared in a dedicated area using separate ingredients and utensils so that there’s no crossover. Better still, all of the soy sauce is gluten free, they make noodles in house without gluten, and make dumplings with prawn, salmon and chestnuts. They’ve also teamed up with Melbourne-based Compassionate Kitchen to offer a range of gluten free and vegan desserts.
The chefs at Mamasita work hard to make sure that at least 85 percent of their menu is gluten free or has a gluten free option. They use gluten free storage containers, pans and plates to help keep every speck of flour and wheat from ever reaching their GF food. Serving up delicious Mexican cuisine in the form of tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole, fish tacos, winter veg and blue-eye tamal, you can tailor your eating experience from something light to an all-out banquet. As co-owner Nick Peters says, “We are always looking for new ways to incorporate gluten-free options into our menu, whether through different flours or other ingredients.” And if you have any new and tasty Mexican gluten free cooking ideas, they’re always open to hearing them.
There's no denying Itaian fare is a carb-heavy undertaking, and flour features prominently, so it's very good news for the coeliacs amongst us that Shop225 is serving all the classics in a gluten-free version. After co-owner Lorenzo Tron’s partner was advised to follow a gluten-free diet, he swiftly learned how difficult it was to scout suitable dining options. This experience led him to create a menu that specialises in gluten-free wood-fired pizzas without compromising on taste. They are very serious about their service too — their kitchen is divided in zones, the gluten-free pizza bases are placed on baking paper and are handled with a different pizza paddle and cutting tools to avoid contamination. What this means is that they are the first pizza shop in Australia accredited by Coeliac Australia.
They have 11 different types of risotto on the menu here, for anyone who is craving Italian comfort food but can’t stomach the gluten involved in a cuisine dedicated to pasta and bread. “All braises and ingredients for our risottos are prepared to be gluten free, a perfect match for our organic vialone nano rice. Most restaurant braises or mains include flour for dusting proteins, we use rice flour if required,” says owner, Tamara Volkoff.
At Foddies café everything is duplicated. Every appliance and utensil has a partner and half are kept in a dedicated gluten free work, service and prep area so as to prevent any cross-contamination. More so, staff are trained to minimise cross-contamination risks so that your food is always handled in the safest way possible. “All of our gluten-free burgers are really popular. We have a fried chicken burger, pulled beef burger, mac and cheese and a vegetarian option. We’ve also got bubble waffles and French toast available. But it’s hard to go past the gluten free parmigiana,” says managing partner, Luke Lucas. Foddies also caters to people on the FODMAP diet.
Saba’s offers up authentic Ethiopian food using only 100 per cent teff flour in their gluten-free, coeliac safe kitchen. All of their food is gluten free, so you can pick from the whole list. Their menu includes a range of traditional Ethiopian food such as their dinish (potato, cabbage and carrots cooked in turmeric and other mild spices), ful (spiced, stewed fava beans with boiled egg and feta), birsen (split red lentils cooked in a medley of Ethiopian spices), and tel (slow-cooked goat). Over half the menu is vegetarian friendly, with loads of vegan options, and the restaurant can also cater to fructose intolerances if you let them know 24 hours in advance with a booking.
This Ivanhoe restaurant was Australia’s first Coeliac Australia accredited restaurant. They serve classic Indian fare, like house-made naan bread, curries and lentil cakes, plus some modern riffs like pancakes and naan pizza. Desserts is a strong suit. “We offer sticky date pudding, chocolate brownies with chocolate ganache, and rice and quinoa panacotta, which can be served either with berry coulis, salted caramel or pomegranate coulis,” says the restaurant’s chef and owner, Raman Nakul. All the ingredients have been lab tested for gluten, and the suppliers are hand-picked for their understanding and respect for Delhicious Cuisine’s vision. That means that everything, even down to the transportation method, is scrutinised to ensure no cross-contamination is possible. Additionally, every team member is required to complete an online course by the Coeliac Society Australia before they start, so you know your food is in professional hands.
Café Henkel is your typical Brunswick café, but this one delivers on all of your coeliac needs. “There’s no gluten on the premises,” says Maria Stamalof, owner of the café. “We’re completely gluten free.” Most of the food is made on the premises and what’s brought in is double checked for glutinous hitchhikers. For gluten-free diners, this means it’s a free for all on pies, sausage rolls, and sandwiches. And if you’re looking for somewhere to get your hands on a coeliac friendly cake without making it yourself, Café Henkel bakes custom cakes.