Pizza Express – could it be…?

UnknownBIG excitement among Coeliacs in recent months over the new Pizza Express gluten free pizzas, and rightly so. But so far I’ve held fire.

The company is among the best in providing allergen information on its website but, somewhat oddly, while it mentions garlic and mushrooms among them, sesame and lupin – two of the top 14 under EU guidance – are not listed. For obvious reasons Sid’s (relatively rare) allergies to chickpea, lentil and green pea are also not on the list. So I wanted to find out for sure the full list of ingredients in this new gluten free base, not least because chickpea flour, lupin, psyllium husk and all sorts pop up in many non gluten offerings. Continue reading “Pizza Express – could it be…?”

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Allergy-Friendly Eatery: Don Fernando, Richmond

This one comes courtesy of the lovely Gemma Morris of Sky News fame… She’s allergic to tree nuts and recently stumbled across Richmond tapas joint Don Fernando, where the staff told her they never cook with nuts nor nut oils.

As she says: “It was great to have such peace of mind when eating my dinner.”

While I haven’t yet made it across the river to sample the fare, I gave them a quick call to see if they do indeed operate a nut-free zone. The answer? “Nope, we never use nuts or nut oils in our kitchen.”

Fair enough, they buy in some desserts and these may contain nuts or ‘traces’, while some breads are produced outside the premises in an environment where nuts may be present.

But every item on the menu, they tell me, is clearly marked with potential allergens – specifically nuts, dairy and gluten.

Why, when so many other places fail to do the same? “It’s just something we get asked quite a lot,” I’m told. “Certainly with nuts it’s potentially dangerous so we decided to label our menus more clearly. And if there’s the slightest possibility of any traces then we say so.”

Co-owner Edoardo Izquierdo adds: “We still believe the customer is always – well nearly always! – right and listen to all suggestions. Hence we try to welcome and accommodate all customers including those with allergies.”

This is a neighbourhood eatery, owned and run by the Izquierdo family since 1990. It occupies an unassuming position on the corner of The Quadrant, slap bang by Richmond tube and mainline stations.  Take a browse of reviews online and you’ll find the same comments: “friendly”, “authentic” and “lively”.

Add to that a big cheer for being allergy-aware and there’s a lesson for every restaurant in town.

Don Fernando, 27 The Quadrant, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1DN, 020 8948 6447, info@donfernando.co.uk, www.donfernando.co.uk