I’m currently enjoying a much-needed week off from work, so yesterday my mom and I went down to London for a little day trip. We visited The Royal Observatory, Cutty Sark, had lunch at Byron (not as great as it has been made out to be, but ok), had a boat trip, bought some overpriced M&Ms, stopped in at The Porterhouse (where they sell Celia, a delicious gluten free Czech pilsner that I won a case of recently!), and then had dinner at La Tasca.
La Tasca is a favourite of mine and my mom’s. I’ve heard a lot of bad things about them, but I can genuinely say I have never had a bad meal there, and I’m quite picky! Yes, you’re not going to like it if you don’t like incredibly strong, garlicky flavours, but if you fancy some tapas at a reasonable price with the best sangria I have ever tried, then you may as well give it a whirl.
Unfortunately, all the La Tascas near us have closed down (apparently there is one opening up in the NIA in Birmingham sometime soon), so whenever we go somewhere with a La Tasca, we jump at the chance. Yesterday, we visited the one in Covent Garden.
As I’m sure many people know, La Tasca is one of a few places currently accredited by Coeliac UK. As you can see, getting accreditation is no easy feat, so it pleases me beyond words that a big chain restaurant like La Tasca has gone for it.
So, what did I have? Well for starters, I had one of these bad boys:
Since I haven’t been gluten free that long, I had yet to try this. It’s ok, but to be honest I prefer gluten free Pilsners (Celia, Greens, M&S). This was a touch sweet for my liking, but the novelty of being able to drink beer was just too great a chance to pass up!
I then had a starter of gluten free bread and oils! It was a cooked white baguette which was genuinely delish. I believe they may use Newburn Bakehouse rolls, but don’t quote me on that! (For what it’s worth, their brown seeded rolls are divine and actually taste like bread. They make fantastic burger buns).
For our main, my mom and I had 3 tapas each, and shared two of each other’s dishes. The dishes we had that I was allowed to eat were as follows:
- Vegetable Gratin (A creamy potato gratin, with baby spinach and blue cheese.)
- Pollo Marbella (Chicken breast, cooked with chorizo in a white wine & cream sauce.)
- Pollo Con Crema (Marinated succulent chicken thighs with a creamy spinach and mustard sauce, with toasted almonds.)
It was so good! My favourite was probably the Pollo Marbella, the sauce was super tasty.
After all that, I didn’t think I could manage anything else. But after a couple of sangrias, my mind changed! Their dessert menu has an amazing five gluten free choices, and they’re not fruit! I went for the Fondant de Chocolate:
I was absolutely not expecting that! It was a warm little chocolate cake with a gooey chocolate centre, with ice cream on the top. I actually had to check the menu after trying my first bite of this to make sure it was gluten free, but it is! As a connoisseur of all things chocolate, I was blown away by this. It’s not on a special menu, just a regular dessert that they have made gluten free; if La Tasca can do this, why can’t everywhere? I’m so bored of fruit or ice cream for dessert and this was an amazing surprise. Upon perusing their allergy menu, I can see that this dessert was made with chocolate powder, no flour needed.
This pudding was really what topped the menu off for me. Coeliacs and gluten-freers have such little choice when it comes to eating out that when a restaurant caters for you so effortlessly, it makes everywhere else look lacking. So get your acts together, other restaurants!
The total bill came to £45 thanks to our Gourmet Society card, which knocked a very healthy £15 off.
In terms of gluten free friendliness, I would have to rate La Tasca five out of five. Other places have a lot to learn.
You can check out La Tasca’s menu here – all the gluten free options are marked with a little GF, Coeliac UK’s trademarked symbol: