Since starting my new job I’ve been working away quite a lot, which has meant indulging in hotel food, but sometimes it’s nice to try local restaurants, but this is often difficult for a coeliac. How do you know that the restaurant serves good food let alone cater for a coeliac? Well, this is where the wonderful Twitter community comes in!
Following an appeal on Twitter for suitable restaurants in Worksop, the wonderful @paddyrathmines recommended Papa’s Fish & Chips. I have had gluten free fish and chips before, but I’ve been feeling quite in the mood for some of late, especially since discovering that my local chippy had stopped offering the gluten free option do to the costs involved :(.
If you haven’t heard of Papa’s here’s a little bit more about them, taken from their website:
We are one of the UK’s longest serving fish and chip establishments. From humble beginnings in 1966, Papa’s has become an award winning establishment. Below is the history of the world… well, only the tasty bit.
1966 – The first Papa’s opens in Margate, Kent.
1973 – Papa worked hard perfecting the same ‘Secret Recipe Batter’ we still use today.
1990 – Papa’s vows only to use local produce and sustainable fish.
2003 – Papa’s hit a landmark – 25th Award across all its branches.
2009 – http://www.PapasFishandChips.com is launched.
2011 – A company record is set: 4,296 Fish and Chips served in one day.
Having looked on their website, I was very reassured about their awareness of coeliac disease and their actions to address any risks of cross contamination. Here’s an excerpt from their website:
Gluten Free fish and chips is available all day, every day in both the restaurant and the takeaway.
At Papa’s we want everyone to enjoy our delicious fish and chips, this includes 1 in every 100 people, who suffer from a gluten or wheat intolerance.
We take preparing Gluten Free meals very seriously. The health and safety of all our customers is of paramount importance to us. To ensure our preparation is of the highest standard we thoroughly train our employees in the rigorous steps taken to produce a delicious gluten free meal. Each day one employee will assume responsibility for preparing all Gluten Free meals, this employee is the only employee who is allowed to handle any of the ingredients or cooking utensils. To avoid any cross contamination, all the cooking utensils and equipment are kept completely separate. To fry the Gluten Free meals, we use separate, state-of-the-art fryers which are not used for any other meal.
Our Gluten Free menu is always expanding, please contact your local store to find out what is available.
Having briefly looked at their menu online, I used the straightforward online booking system on their website to book a table for Wednesday evening at 7.30, as I wasn’t sure what time I’d make it to Worksop following a visit to Immingham.
The first positive thing to note about this restaurant is their flexibility.
I arrived in Worksop earlier than expected so I called them and asked if it was ok to arrive earlier than my booking. They were very accommodating with this request and I arrived at the restaurant 20 minutes later, an hour and a half earlier than my original booking time.
As well as having a restaurant, Papa’s also has a takeaway service which appeared to be very popular, as lots of people arrived to use this service whilst I was sat in the adjoining restaurant.Upon my arrival I asked what the gluten free options were and the first thing they said was onion rings, yes you heard that right, onion rings! One of my favourite accompaniments that I haven’t seen in a gluten free form anywhere since my diagnosis, so obviously I was ordering these, at a cost of £2.99 for 8 large onion rings!
In addition I ordered their regular size cod and chips for £5.99, although other options are also available – I just felt like being traditional! I did ask to have baked beans with my meal, but they advised that their baked beans are unfortunately not gluten free :(.
It didn’t take long for my meal to arrive and it looked just great. The batter was thinner than the previous gluten free fish and chips I’ve had, but that is in no ways a bad thing. It was perfectly cooked and the portion size was great, I even managed to eat all of the rather large onion rings… ;).
My only negative about the entire experience was that the onion rings were quite oily so if you eat them with your hands, they will get greasy very quickly.
Papa’s Fish & Chips can be found at a number of locations throughout the country (Canterbury, Castleford, Folkestone, Gainsborough, Mansfield, Rochester, Sandwich, and Warrington, as well as Worksop) and if you get the opportunity to go to any of these restaurants then I thoroughly recommend that you do – you will not be disappointed!
For more information about Papa’s including their exact locations and other menu options, you can check out their website (www.papasfishandchips.com) and you can also follow them on Twitter (@PapasFishNChips).