Posts reviewing places I eat or things I eat or places I shop gluten free.

Organic Produce (Review)

We arrived in Sydney on Friday 1st March and after some time sorting out our hostel booking we decided to scope out the area. We had heard Surrey Hills was a beautifully chic area so we trotted on down. It was raining heavily, I needed caffeine and a toilet. Hard luck … virtually no cafes in Sydney have toilets, the majority are hole in the wall stop-offs or Seven Elevens purely for convenience.

Then we stumbled upon this beautiful little miracle with a friendly gluten free sogn o the door, it really was the best find ever. Inside is small and as you walk in there are shelves upon shelves of organic and allergy friendly produce. There is also a deli counter at the front with an array of gluten free items, there were wraps, cakes, muffins, sandwiches and banana bread. I was literally spoiled for choice.

We sat toward the rear near the open kitchen and we could see the staff frantically preparing the fresh wraps, it was nice to see a venue take pride in their food preparation for a change and not hiding behind closed doors. This was where we realised that the delicious looking wraps up front were not made with tortillas but with wafer thin savoury crepes. The atmosphere was cosy and the free water and table service made a rainy day brighten up a little.

We ordered a flat white and a slice of banana bread each and at a total bill of just under $20 I thought it was slightly expensive, however, I am a backpacker and local prices are high for anything that has a special edge. The coffee was smooth and the banana bread was served warm with butter and it really hit the spot.

For the service received by the friendly and welcoming staff and the choice available to little old celiac me it is worth the price and the effort to find … I could not complain and I will return!

Website Here

Facebook Page Here


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City Rail, an experience! Melbourne to Strathfield (Sydney)

I have to appologise for my lack of posting and I realise it’s somewhere near a week between posts, however, in my defense (and I write this as I have a very bad cold) it is proving rather difficult by phone. Also we have been using all of our free time to look for work…and getting a little tipsy, well we did come here to meet more people even if it is over a box of cheap wine!

So, for a quick update to our family/friends and anyone else who is interested, I’ll tell you what we have been up to (starting with our transportation). We had been in Melbourne for a few days and needed to make our way back to NSW, we had plans arranged for the Sydney Mardi Gras so needed a quick and cheap way to get back. We decided to go by night train, it would take 12 hours and save us some money on accomodation. We used our student cards and paid $136.88 and we had 20kg of checked luggage and 7kg of hand luggage. Now you’re probably thinking the same thing as I did, checked luggage? I thought that kinda rubbish was for planes only…well no it’s not.

Trains that go through different states do this. When we arrived at Melbourne Southern Cross station we went worriedly to check in our bags, hoping we weren’t over weight, then we weighed them and used our old suitcase luggage straps to secure them. Our bags weren’t the most expensive and the secure straps aren’t designed to be used for lifting the full weight of the rucksack. So I used my Magic Marker to write on my luggage strap “please lift using this strap”. The man at the desk was a little impatient but he did pass my bag through using the strap…he should have because he watched me faff about with it for long enough. We were worried where our bags were going to end up as we had to leave the train at Strathfield not Sydney, so when the baggage guy was putting luggage on the train (the same guy who checked them in) we watched him load the luggage. He pointed to a bag and mouthed to Anita “your bag” then launched it onto thw train. Anita turned to me worried and claimed “I’m sure he didn’t use your strap!”

We got on the train and the seats had plenty of room and other than inconsiderate passengers and constant air con it wasn’t such a bad journey. The food car operated throughout the night except for one hour at staff changeover, they even had a range of gluten free cookies, muffins and sandwiches. How awesome!



The problem arose when we had to switch trains at Strathfield, our bags were thrown onto the platform and true to our suspicions one of my clips had been broken on the secure strap to the front of my backpack. I was so annoyed What made it worse was that there are luggage compartments on in the carriages big enough for backpacks and suitcases. In actual fact we didn’t need to book our bags in at all, we found that out later on from staff.

So travellers who use these train services because they are cheap and convenient, I have two tips:

1- take your luggage into the carriage with you and use the rack;

2- if you must check in your luggage, use a rain cover (if your bag has one) and a luggage strap to remove the option for them to lift any other way.

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Sea Salt (review)

After a hard day touring Melbourne we got a little hungry. We walked past many restaurants and nothing jumped out at us. That was until I saw this little restaurant serving sushi and advertising tjat gluten free options were available.

I was a little doubtful at first but went in to speak to the young guy behind the counter. He was really helpful and told me that all fish that came battered could be served without and that all sushi rolls were made gluten free.

There were other interesting looking sides I liked the look of he quinoa salad but as usual when faced with so much choice I panic. We decided on 2 packs of 8 sushi rolls one plane salmon and the  other salmon and avocado. The restaurant even sold gluten free soy sauce at 30c a portion.

It was the first time I have had sushi since being gluten free and it was delicious. The restaurant is down an alley with a great al fresco vibe and it really was the perfect end to a hectic day.


Categories: Australia, Gluten Free, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Yum Sing Express (review)

Yesterday Anita and I decided to wonder around Glenelg in search of two item, one of which a new bikini for me :). Shopping all day is hungry work and we started to look at the restaurant boards, a lot of which offering gluten-free items. Anita fancied Asian food so we checked a few out…none offered gluten-free. Opposite the last one we checked I completely missed the big sign that I could have tripped over or walked in to (anyone I know will tell you I really am that clumsy) that boasted “All stir-fried dishes are Gluten Free”. It’s not as if the writing was tiny either … I so need new glasses!

It was a fast food Asian called The Yum Sing Express and in terms of fast food I really can’t say it was that bad, the inside of the restaurant was typically a fast food diner and we were served our meals in polystyrene containers and given only a plastic fork. I would’ve liked a spoon for the sauce on my beef and black bean stir fry because it was simply delicious and I can’t complain about the crunchy vegetables either, all for just over $14.

The food was prepared in less that 7 minutes, the staff were helpful and it really hit the spot. I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed my meal and would recommend it for on the go Celiacs.

Find their location on my Gluten Free World map.


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Cafe Prego!

After a 7.5 km walk we were in need of a well deserved cup of coffee and breakfast and he temperature was rocketing. The ladies we were walking with suggested Cafe Prego because they do this walk often.

I needed to refuel and I noticed that the main menu stated GF next to many of its items so thought we would be ok to eat there, there was just one problem … it was breakfast menu. I asked the waitress if there were any gluten free items on the main menu assuming that because they offered gluten free pizza bases and pasta that they may substitute the bread as I have had done before. She returned following a visit with the chef who said there were no gluten free options on the breakfast menu but named some items that I already knew were gluten free and stated that they “may contain” … in other words eat at your own risk.

I was hungry but didn’t wat to risk being “poisoned” so I chose to have the gluten free orange tea cake in the cake cabinet, it was beautiful!!! It was a good choice and who can really complain with cake for breakfast, certainly not me when I don’t care what type of food I have for any meal.

IMG_20130208_190716Gluten free orange tea cake

Overall a generally nice cafe and in a prime spot near to the water front with extremely helpful staff. I would like to try their evening meals such as the gluten free pasta yet I was disappointed with the lack of gluten free bread as a breakfast substitute when they offered so much on their main menu. However, it certainly got me refuelled for the 7.5km walk back!

See my Gluten Free World page for the location.

Categories: Australia, Gluten Free, Reviews | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Tin Shed (review)

So came lunch time today, blistering hot and stuffy in McLaren Vale. We came to The Tin Shed (facebook page here) because my Auntie suggested it and again I was delighted to find gluten free food on the menu.

The venue had a very shack like appearance and even had old scrubbed tin cans to hold the sugar sachets on the table, it was too hot to site inside so we sat outside. We had to collect our own menus from the bar and take them to our tables to browse and we had to go to the bar and pay first, there really isn’t a great deal of waiter service here but all in all that doesn’t bother me.

Firstly we ordered our drinks and received a complimentary bottle of chilled water for the table, I really do love this practice in Australian eateries so far. The menu was reasonably priced and had a range of brilliant gluten free options such as the substitution of bread rolls and pizza bases (for a surcharge of $3.50) which is less that others I have seen. Those in the world of gluten free know that these luxuries are hard to come by when eating out so imagine my complete and utter surprise when my main of Salt and Pepper Squid came out CRUMBED … I think I was in a state of shock! The squid was beautifully cooked and incredibly fresh and all for $18.90.

PhotoGrid_1360125645167Salt and Pepper Squid

After a mammoth portion of squid and sides we checked out the desserts (again order at the bar), I have not had a dessert here since we made our own polenta cake and I was so pleased when I walked up to the cake counter and saw a covered gluten free fig and orange cake … I mean, really, WOW! It was a large portion of moist tasty cake and wasn’t as heavy as some of the GF cakes I have tried in the past. We were offered another bottle of complimentary water after our meal, but it never came and the heat became too much to bear so we decided to walk to the local bottle shop. 


Gluten Free Fig and Orange Cake

Overall I liked the place, I loved the menu but I feel that the staff are just a little too laid back because it didn’t really feel like they were interested as we didn’t get asked once while we were eating if we were ok or needed any more to drink.

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Carmel’s Cafe Bar and Grill! (review)

Tonight we ate our “last supper” with Nan before her return to the UK at Carmel’s Cafe Bar and Grill … and WOW what a meal!

Again, before we set off to this restaurant we checked the menu online to see what gluten-free (if any) meals they offered. I was stunned by the choice and my mouth was watering before I even left the house.

Upon arrival I noticed that the layout of the restaurant had a really relaxed vibe, it was warm, cosy and welcoming.  We were greeted by Carmel herself who worked the floor with her staff and were all extremely attentive to our needs throughout our meal.

At the table, the staff brought complimentary bottles of cold water which was just what we needed after a super hot day. The family then ordered some platters to start, they weren’t gluten-free but I had a few cheeky pieces of chorizo and some olives and even that was amazing.

For my main I ordered the Argentinean Grill for (Lamb cutlet, chorizo sausage, scotch fillet, prawn skewer served with Carmel’s own tomato,
onion chilli relish. Comes with gourmet side salad and rustic cut chips)
$29.90, I thought it was more expensive that I am used to being such a frugal girl but for a spiced up version of a mixed grill (something I never get in the UK) I was willing to give it a shot.  I was a little surprised I wasn’t asked how I would like my meat cooked (usually a touchy subject who has their meat very rare), however, when my meal came it didn’t disappoint. The meat was charred beautifully, medium-well done, the chips were chunky, the salad with pumpkin and feta was simply divine. The mixture of flavour on that plate made me melt … literally!

I really recommend this venue, another good reason to go being that they have Koppaberg 🙂

Overall, great venue, great staff, great atmosphere and great mood … simply a great good bye meal to Nan.

Thanks Carmel!


Argentinean Grill

Check out more the location on my Gluten Free World page.

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Pancakes at the Port (review)

So we were wondering around port Adelaide after going for a 2 hour dolphin cruise and by this time we were hungry. I said my usual “I’ll be fine until later, you guys go where you want” when I found out that they were going for pancakes. In the back of my mind I’d decided that I’d sit it out as usual and just chill.

It wasn’t until my Aunty looked at the menu and loudly informed me that they provide gluten free pancakes for a surcharge of $2.50. So I ordered a gluten free short stack for $7 plus surcharge…then sat and waited impatiently.

The restaurant is pretty small yet well laid out to fit plenty of people inside and out onto the waterfront which is always a nice backdrop to any meal. The walls have art (that I presume is from local artists) for sale and it really is nice to look at. The staff are an eclectic blend but are friendly and helpful.

The rest of our party had a range of different toppings and the restaurant really does offer a wide variety, theirs came out before mine and they had to start eating to prevent them getting cold. Ordinarily that would have annoyed me, but just knowing that my gluten free pancakes had been done separately from the rest and reduced the contamination risk made me a very happy girl.

Truth be told I’d never had real pancakes like this with maple syrup so I had nothing to compare them with I just know that with a knob of whipped butter … they were to die for! I need more!

I did struggle to find a website and online menu for the restaurant but I will keep trying.



You can find the location of this hotel on the map on my Gluten Free World page, as well as other eateries.

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The Seaford Hotel (review)

Before we decided to eat at the Seaford Hotel (31/01/2012) we checked out the menu online (here) and we were pleasantly surprised that it boasted some gluten free meals, I say some because they have three (which is more than I get at home in most places that aren’t La Tasca). So we booked a table for 7 and headed for the door.

Initially the appearance of the hotel wowed me with a sculpture and water feature but once inside it resembled any ordinary funpub in the UK … with the exception that the menu was not as drab. To eat at the Seaford Hotel you must chose your meal and order at the bar, again like a UK funpub. The place was clean and tidy and well laid out, clean and tidy so it really is a pleasant environment.

We were all deciding on a drink and I am a bit of a fussy drinker, I can’t have lagers or ales or bitters for obvious reasons and there are very few wines I like. I usually drink sweet flavoured ciders or alcoholic ginger beer (unless I’m on the spirits) … they had neither and I found that disappointing. So we opted to share two bottles of house wine (dry Sauvignon Blanc and medium sweet Chardonnay), although not really to my sweet taste the Chardonnay was drinkable.

There were some items on there that I would have loved to try if they were gluten free, however, the gluten free choices were not that bad either. The menu is reasonably low priced and most meals fall between the $15-25 mark up, at my exchange rate it works out around £10.08 – 16.80 I was torn between the Mediterranean Lamb Salad or the Risotto of the day and I settled on the lamb, and boy am I glad I did. It came out looking beautiful and tasted better than expected, I wasn’t asked how I wanted my lamb cooked and although I usually have red meat as rare as possible the lamb being medium-well done really did not stop me enjoying my meal.

Overall the venue was clean and well presented, the staff were helpful (even when they had no onion rings for my uncle they offered an alternative or a refund) and the prices were low. All in all I had a really good meal and would go back again.



Mediterranean Lamb Salad

You can find the location of this hotel on the map on my Gluten Free World page, as well as other eateries.


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Gluten Free in New South Wales

So I thought that I would have an absolute nightmare getting gluten free food, either in supermarkets or out and about, but I have to say … the Aussies have it down.

My first day here I got some GF cerial, pasta and some packet meals from Coles supermarkets, a couple of days later I got GF wraps from Woolworths and they even have massive GF frozen section and just today I got GF bread from the IGA. I have literally self catered like a queen and even if the stuff isn’t in the GF area it will often say “contains gluten” or “gluten free”.







We even got some ingredients to try out a nectarine polenta cake…worked a treat.



How could I complain about any of that?!

So supermarkets have it sorted, well what about eating out. Truth is a few days ago we went to Newcastle NSW and we got a bit peckish. We were walking along Wharf Road and spotted the Queens Wharf Kitchen, it was still breakfast time so I was thinking I wouldn’t have a chance…how wrong I was! The waitress was fantastic and I got gluten free toast!


We walked a little further down the wharf and I saw a restaurant menu in the window of Blue Water Pizza, they offered GF pizza for a surcharge of $4.50.

Since then I have craved pizza. So tonight I got one…from The Supreme Pizza in Kincumber and it was TO DIE FOR. There was just one problem, it’s near the Dragon Paradise Chinese takeaway offering GF … it’s only a problem because I’ll end up eating too much and needing new shorts!




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A gluten free, coeliac-friendly blog by Sarah Howells covering gluten free recipes, reviews, and living a healthy life - with plenty of gluten free pizza!

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