Does the industry really understand?

If you’ve been following my Facebook blog, you’ll have seen me make reference to a chain restaurant whose gluten free knowledge seemed to fall short of expectation. The chain was Pitcher & Piano.

When I visited their Bristol bar a couple of months ago for my work leaving ‘do’, I thought it was a good place for everyone to meet and from there we could decide where to eat, as I wasn’t sure if Pitcher & Piano had gluten free options themselves.

Once everyone had arrived we thought we may as well look at their menu, as we were starting to get settled. My boyfriend went to the bar and asked if they had a gluten free menu. He was handed a standard menu, which had some options highlighted with a marker pen if they were gluten free. This seemed a good starting point, however on review of the menu I noticed some things that didn’t seem right.

Onion rings are not normally gluten free due to their batter and indeed they weren’t shown on the menu as gluten free, however they were an accompaniment to another meal which was marked as gluten free. If they were suggesting that the main meal could be made gluten free by not including the accompaniments which contained gluten, they certainly didn’t make this clear.

Also, the meal I really wanted wasn’t shown as gluten free, but I couldn’t work out why as all the ingredients seemed ok. I probably shouldn’t have, but I gambled and got the meal I really wanted. I’m very glad I did as it was stunning and I had no reaction to it at all.

This certainly begs the question of ‘how does the industry interpret gluten free?’, as it doesn’t always seem to be the same way as everyone else.

My party stayed in the bar for the entire evening and enjoyed great service, food and drinks for the duration, but I would be interested to find out more about Pitcher & Piano’s allergen menu from their head office to see if this is standardised across all of their bars and if they’re sure that their staff are aware of the implications of the menu being incorrectly labelled.


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