Sunday 3 August 2014

Lunch at 2 Oxford Place, Gluten Free Café Restaurant, Leeds

Yesterday I ventured to Leeds with a friend for lunch in a new café restaurant that I have been longing to try for several weeks. 2 Oxford Place (slightly confusing as it’s in Leeds not Oxford) is a 100% gluten free establishment that was recently opened by Victoria, who is herself a coeliac. She wanted to create a place where fellow coeliacs and gluten avoiders could to go and feel assured that everything was gluten free and safe from any cross contamination risk.

They do everything from mid morning coffee, brunch, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea. The best bit? It’s all 100% gluten free. They also have a separate Vegetarian/Vegan menu and a Dairy Free menu. Impressive stuff.

When we arrived we were shown to a table in the small but cozy downstairs dining area. Although fairly compact, the room had an air of luxury about it. The textured wall paper was streaked with swirls of cream and gold, there were impressive portraits on noble looking men on the walls and the complimentary water on each table was presented in elegant glass decanters. As first impressions go we were impressed. 

Shortly after we were seated a family arrived with a young girl. When presented with the menus the mother handed one to the little girl and said “you can have anything you like” The look of sheer delight on her face was heart warming. I have to say, I felt the same way, knowing you can have ANY of the dishes on offer is a rare treat for a coeliac. Usually the hardest thing when eating out is choosing what to eat that is safe on the menu, here the hardest thing was choosing that to eat because you wanted (and could) eat it all!

There are a wide range of choices on the menu and no jacket potatoes in sight! There was everything from banana pancakes with maple syrup, sandwiches on gluten free bread, homemade quiche, fish cakes, risottos, spaghetti carbonara, salads and meat or cheese sharing platters with crackers and chutneys. They also have some daily specials and a slightly larger menu choice for dinner.

After much deliberation we went for homemade quiche and fishcake and both opted for chips too. It’s been over a year since I’ve had chips as usually they are a no-go area due to the fryers being used for wheat based products too – not an issue here!

When our food was served, the quiche was a warm giant slice on homemade gluten free pastry. It was soft and creamy and packed with flavour. The pastry base was good, a little crumbly, but nicely crisp not grainy or sandy. The fishcake was fat and encased in a beautifully golden and crisp crumb crust. It was full of salmon and creamy mash and came with a lovely herby chunky homemade tartar sauce. We both agreed the chips were nice, but a couple were still a bit undercooked in the middle, which was a shame but nothing too serious.

Next up were puddings and what a choice! None of your usual what I consider to be gluten free cop-out desserts: ice cream, fruit salad and chocolate brownies. Instead we could choose from cranberry cupcakes, chocolate pie, rice pudding, pavlova, rainbow cake, cheesecake or shortbread. My friend went for the rainbow cake which was a 6 layered multi-coloured cake in all colours of the rainbow, sandwiched and topped with cream cheese frosting. It was nicely moist, although a little dense and I thought it was quite a mean sized slice. I know its 6 layers, but they were thinner layers than your standard sponge and compared to my dessert it looked a little meager.

I opted for the cheesecake of the day which turned out to be chocolate & lime. A lime unbaked fridge cheesecake on a thick dark chocolate biscuit base. I’m not normally a fan of the biscuit bases on desserts, but this was lovely. It had a good strong cocoa flavour and a great texture, not too sweet or buttery. The cheesecake was incredibly thick and rich but in the best way possible. The lime flavour was very subtle, and again it wasn’t overly sweet which I enjoyed. It was served drizzled with a chocolate syrup and fresh fruit which was a lovely addition to cut through the sweetness. Top marks for presentation.

To finish, we ordered tea, which was presented in beautiful china cups and teapot. It was loose leaf tea so we got our own tea strainer too. This was a lovely touch and I think loose leaf tea always tastes so much better than a powdery tea bag.

Overall we had a very delicious and enjoyable meal. The ambiance was cozy and inviting and although they got very busy towards the end of lunch we didn’t feel rushed. It was such a treat to go out and eat ‘normal’ food that I wouldn’t normally have the option of choosing when eating out. They don’t make a big song and dance about it being gluten free, it’s good food, done well, that just happens to also be gluten free. If you’re ever in the area I’d recommend it and I’m longing to go back and try their afternoon tea!

Our 2 course lunch for two, with tea came to just over £25. The place was buzzing with people by the time we left and I really hope this continues.

Note: I visited by my own choice. I did not inform the café we were coming (we didn’t even book), they did not know I was a blogger or that I intended to write a review of my experience. All the views expressed here are my own. 


Johanna GGG said...

Sounds like a great meal - shame about the serving size of the rainbow cake - but the cheesecake looks amazing - I was surprised to hear you haven't had chips for a year - I know it is often a problem when I dine out with my GF sister and niece but I am sure it is more hit and miss than that they never have them.

The Caked Crusader said...

The cheesecake looks great - and how perfect is the strawberry they served with it!

mr. pineapple man said...

You're making me hungry!

Cupcake Crazy Gem said...

Wow, what a great idea! I always feel in awe of people who have to cope with special dietary requirements/restrictions...I know I could never handle it! so it's definitely lovely you can go to a place where you can eat everything on the menu! how cute that the little girls face lit up! Your desserts look great and I love the sound of the chocolate lime cheesecake!

Gluten Free Alchemist said...

A rare treat indeed to eat 'anything you like'! Sounds like a good find!!!

Richard Gottfried said...

I like the sound of the line "They don’t make a big song and dance about it being gluten free, it’s good food, done well, that just happens to also be gluten free."

It can get really annoying when dining somewhere and because you've requested gluten free the waiting staff make a point of emphasizing its gluten free. it's either that, or the other extreme of slapdash service leading to worry!

I'm really looking forward to visiting 2 Oxford Place.