Amid all the furore about allergy labelling in restaurants we dared to go out to dinner…it was my birthday and I like to get a break from cooking. Due to our allergies we tend to steer clear of Thai or Chinese restaurants. We just find it’s a more pleasant experience if we choose restaurants that have several items on the menu that are plain – or can be ordered without the sauce or mayo. We wouldn’t dream of expecting substitutions, but we do want to know what’s in the food we eat so we don’t get sick.
We’ve been to Roxie’s before and they were great. They mentioned cross contamination and assured us that they were very careful in the kitchen. Our allergies are very unpleasant; but not life threatening. If Molly has even a small amount of egg she will get sever stomach cramps and be vomiting for quite some time. The impact is painful and exhausting.
Straight away I asked for the allergy menu – it really does make life easier to be able to look at the menu and make informed decisions. Much better than having to ask about each item and frankly much less time consuming for the waiting staff who don’t have to run back and forth. Their menu didn’t show all 14 noted allergens and I think that’s fine. It flagged the main ones, and we then asked about the extra bits we were worried about.
The thing I liked about the menu was that it showed options – DF without sauce – for example. Leaving the sauce off a dish doesn’t strike me as hard work, but it’s lovely that they are helpful and caring enough to point out what adjustments they can easily make. Sorry about the pic quality - dim lighting and all...
We ordered squid for Molly to start; they assured us that there was nothing to worry about as the aioli was served in a separate dish so not touching the squid. When the squid arrived, Julian’s had the aioli, but Molly’s plate didn’t. Lots of places would have just expected us to remove the little pot and have that nagging doubt about cross contamination. Not Roxie’s. We’ve been served by many different waiting staff in Putney and they are all helpful and on the ball with allergies.
The food, always, is great. I had the Thai Beef Salad and the meat couldn’t have been more tender, and the dressing just the right about of zing. The squid is plain grilled (not covered in batter!) and cooked to perfection. That’s the thing about plain food – it has to be done beautifully. Julian’s steak was cooked exactly as he wanted; medium rare and he enjoyed every bite. Molly and I opted (yes again) for the ribs which were so large that we had to ask for the left overs to be packed up to take home.
It’s so wonderful to be able to relax when eating out with allergies; knowing you’re in a restaurant that cares, and takes care of its customers. It’s not about allergies, it’s about how you treat your customers. We didn’t have a reservation; didn’t think we needed one on a Tuesday night at 6:30 in Putney. Well…we were right – we got a table. But only just. There were only two tables that weren’t reserved. By 7pm the place was packed. Why? Great food and management and waiting staff that care about their customers. Talk about a winning combination! Sadly they are only in South London at the moment – hopefully they will expand!
Here's the link to their website
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Allergy UK is a great charity providing information and help for people with allergies.
Their hotline is staffed by wonderful people offering their help free of charge.
Their number is: 01322 619 898
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