There's something special about sitting down in a cafe or restaurant and being able to choose from an entire menu and know there is no chance you'll be sick.
You needn't worry about reiterating your needs as a coeliac over and over again to wait staff and forget double checking if it really is gluten free bread that's delivered to your table.
This is the joy of gluten free cafes - a safe heaven for us folk for whom dining out often poses so many risks.
Here is a list and mini review of Melbourne's host of 100% GF eateries:
Red Robyn 393 Camberwell Rd, Camberwell
Can you believe I first visited this café without even knowing it was allergy friendly? I sat down, ordered a peppermint tea and asked for a menu, nervously awaiting that sense of guilt when you go out for lunch with a friend and suddenly realize you can’t eat a thing.
But the exact opposite happened, the menu’s arrived they said 100% gluten free and my heart skipped a beat. I think the waitor must have thought I was a little crazy because I would have honestly asked about 4 times if everything was actually gluten free, like for a coeliac, as in is there really no gluten in anything, so I can order everything on the menu?
A 100% Gluten Free Bakery with every treat you could ever dream of. This place is simply heaven on earth. They were able to satisfy all the cravings I'd had since diagnosis. Crusty bread - check. Pastries like danishes and croissants - done. Pies, sausage rolls, pasties and pizzas will keep the savoury camp happy. While eclairs, lemon meringue pies, cannoli, brownies and tarts of all kinds will have the sweet tooths smiling. They also cater for many others dietary requirements including nut free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, vegan and fructose friendly. Due to popular demand, this bakery has no grown to three stores across Melbourne with hopes to expand nation-wide.
Fox in the Box 169 Martin St, Brighton foxinthebox.com.au
Coeliac? Fructose Intolerant? Stressed about finding a restaurant that will cater for your needs? You are in luck. Fox in a Box is the perfect place for you. They vow to never let garlic, onion or wheat even enter the building- HOORAY! They serve up delicious options for lunch and dinner and can cater for any allergy (they are especially good with gluten free, dairy free, and fructose free). In addition to a restaurant they also have loads of takeaway meals and treats to stock up your fridges with. Be careful, they aren’t open everyday and opening times have varied over the past few years so be sure to check their website before heading off.
Another 100% gluten free café. The dream dining destination. No allergens, no crumbs, no worries, and so much choice! Simply, heaven.
To make this Ivanhoe institution even more ideal, they built up a bakery onsite dedicated to baking up gluten free bread and baked brilliance every day for the last three years.
And I’m telling you; the boys baking in the back are bloody good.
After devouring my breakfast of light, fluffy blueberry pancakes topped with lemon myrtle and maple syrup.
Dedicated gluten free environment, best bread i've tasted since diagnosis, light fluffy pancakes for breakfast!
Thr1ve Emporuim Shopping Centre, 26/287 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC
If you're in the city and after a gluten free AND healthy feed, Thr1ve is a perfect spot to perch for a bite. The food is paleo-inspired meaning it's free of grains and sugar, but certainly not free of taste. It espouses the real food philosophy so you're find no nasties here just fresh produce, nuts and seeds and grass-fed meat. The menu is also designed by a nutritionist so you can eat eat with the peace of mind you're nourishing your body. They offer a number of salad bowls, breakfast options, rolls, toast and smoothies. And because they're no gluten in min - their is no worries for us!
Pure Gluten Free Bakery & Treat no Wheat – Cheltenham
13 Follett Rd, Cheltenham
A 100% GF bakery with an on-site cafe to enjoy all their yummy fare - aka coeliac heaven! They bake and sell an extensive range of baked goods including bread, rolls, bagels, foccaccia, pizza bases, cakes, slices, muffins, and other desserts. You can also order whole and speciality cakes in advance. Over at the cafe, you can enjoy any of their baked goods and well as choosing from a breakfast and lunch menu.
Various locations state-wide City locations: 398 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, Emporium Shopping Centre, Level 3, 287 Lonsdale Street & Bourke Place, 600 Bourke Street, Melbourne
This eatery is all about jacket potatoes filled delicious ingredients that are all gluten free. You can select from a menu of tried and tested ingredients combos or get creative with your own favourite toppings. You can dine in or takeaway from any other their locations, knowing that there's no risk of CC. Plus - they're delicious! My favourite? Chilli bean, cheese and corn chips followed by the pulled pork (pictured) MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM...
Yet another 100% gluten free bakery offering up yummy goods. They also cater for fructose and lactose intolerances as well as vegan diets.
Just yummy GF bakery Shop 13 Meadowgate Drive, Chirnside Park, Vic 3116 http://justyummyglutenfree.com/
One of the first 100% gluten free bakeries to arrive in Melbourne - Just Yummy advertises itself as a place " where living with food allergies and intolerance's does not mean you miss out on traditional bakery treats and good tasting bread". It offers the typical (and amazing) range of GF products the others do - savoury pastries, cakes, bread, rolls and the like. But what separates this bakery from others is its guaranteed nut free status (as well as gluten free of course).
The newest entrant to the 100% GF bakery scene which is (evidently) BOOMING in Melbourne. Admitedly, given this place opened just a fortnight ago, I'm yet to visit it, however, it's had glowing reviews to date. Like Pure Bakery, it's a storefront for their onsite bakehouse which also offers dine in options. Their range also seems extensive with numerous desserts, pastries and baked goods available. You can also order whole and speciality cakes in advance.
Pana chocolate 491 Church St, Richmond
Chocolate that is healthy. No you are not dreaming, it is true. The clever chocolatiers at Pana Chocolate have made every chocoholics dream a reality. But how you may ask? By only using raw organic chocolate handmade in Melbourne, And thanks to these natural ingredients it's all gluten free!
Healthy chocolate that doesn’t taste bitter and well, healthy, is the result. Great texture, no refined sugars, dairy free and vegan. If you haven’t already started running around like a headless chook looking for your keys, WAIT! There’s more. Although their chocolate is available at all good health food stores (now in a growing number of countries worldwide), the real treats are waiting at their shop in Richmond. Raw, organic, GLUTEN FREE cakes, that are so delicious you will not believe they are healthy. Now you’ve heard the good news, grab those keys and get going!
It's a good time to live in Melbourne - particularly, if like me, you have a penchant for baked goods! Please let me know if I've missed any 100% GF eateries in the comments below!