So as you will know by now from my previous posts I am a mum of five and I breastfeed. Well the small boy child I often speak of has 25 …. yes 25 allergies and intolerances. As I am feeding him I have to follow his strict and rather annoying diet, but I do this because I am not willing to sacrifice our breastfeeding journey for the sake of a cheese sandwich on normal bread, or milk in my tea (although there have been times that cheese sandwich has been extremely tempting).
Eating out for us is a huge and I mean huge issue. All the searching the internet for allergy menus, the researching safe places to eat, the recommendations from friends (few of whom actually can relate all be it they’re trying to be helpful) , all the cross contamination risks, the fact a little boy at 19 month old has to be followed around while walking around chosen restaurant incase he picks something up he shouldn’t, having to sanitise tables and highchairs down. It’s exhusting physically and mentally. So it seems it’s just safer to stay in and eat. It means putting off lunch dates, going to soft play areas and kids parties because any one of those events could potentially make the small boy child extremely poorly.
On the rare occasion you find somewhere reasonable for allergy information and a decent menu that suits or can be adapted to your needs. They rarely take you seriously as a lot of very selfish people decide because they don’t like mushrooms they will tell staff they’re allergic which a lot of companies have caught on to meaning us that are genuine could potentially severely suffer. So hey you person that dislikes mushrooms or bloats with gluten tell the god damn truth you will still be catered for but won’t ruin it for the people that are genuine!
There are a few places I have learnt the hard way to avoid for multiple allergy sufferers the first being harvesters obviously not all are the same but I distinctly remember once going to the harvester local to me to be told I couldn’t have the steak, which is normally safe because cows make milk, and beef is cow 🙄. I also couldn’t have egg with a chosen meal because it’s dairy.. heads up people eggs aren’t dairy. That’s not to say they are all like that obviously, but I shan’t be going back.
The next being frankie and bennies now a lot of people have raved about them and I’m sure they’re great with the odd allergy don’t get me wrong but multiple allergy suffers as ourself not so much. We went for our daughters birthday and once we got seated I asked for their allergy information to which they told me they will go get it. They then came back saying they didn’t have it nor did they have anyone that could give it to me so “could you use your smart phone to get it up online” when I did finally find it we had to questsion a few things and it turned out basically I could eat bacon and avacado and that was it. It had been a recommendation from a good friend to go there, so maybe they were just having a bad day who knows .
There are a few other places but none stick out as much as those in my mind.
Then there are the good places .
Toby carvery – they will make you fresh veg if required and provide pretty good allergy information, the staff are helpful and happy to accommodate.
Nando’s- their allergy folder is truly brilliant and most foods there are safe for multiple allergy sufferers plus it tastes really yummy. The only thing I will say is when you order your meal with corn on the cob and you explain an extreme reaction to milk you don’t expect it to come out with a butter packet on the plate and it does make you question how seriously they have taken you.
Beefeater- Also an amazing allergy folder the manager takes your order, and helps you browse through and work out what’s safe and what’s not they will also cook your food separately to prevent cross contamination.
Then you have the down right amazing and the only place I have ever eaten where I have felt 110 percent safe with the food provided. Not only is their allergy folder brilliant, but the manager takes your order and works through the menu with you. They ask lots of questions like , how severe is the allergy, what are the reactions like and lots of other stuff. I only went to this place recently for the first time and I cannot praise it enough. TGI FRIDAYS, tower park branch to be precise. We were invited for a big meal with a friend there was a huge group of us and the manger Rich could not of been any more helpful or accomidating, he came and sat with me listening to the confusing list of allergies and suggested an order for my milk intolerant daughter. Then he was able to point me on the direction of something for my self and something for the small boy child. He took the order and explained the sanitise the kitchen so our food may take a little longer, I was fine with that infact I was over joyed with it. He went away and came back about ten minutes later explaining it would be a little longer as someone had put their hand on the surface they were using for our meals and so they had to start the process again. He explained our food would be cooked separately and checked we were ok with the oil he even said “if you’re not I can go to Tesco and get some safe oil for you” – how amazing is that!! It was safe anyway but still the thought was there. We then had a chat about allergies and how awful they can be , he told me he thought I was amazing still feeding and changing my entire diet for my son (if your reading this Rich thankyou so much that meant an awful lot especially from a stranger I don’t hear it often) I thought that was that and waited for my food , five minutes passed and he returned to say he was asking the chef who normally with allergies would still use clean bare hands to wear two pairs of gloves because of how severe the boy child’s allergies can be and he wanted to make sure there was no allergies to the material they used. I seriously have so much appreciation for Rich right now. Then our food came out and was bought out by a seperate waiter to the ones that bought everyone else’s out. With little notes on from the chef Harvey.. Harvey you are also amazing. It was so nice to have a personal touch and to know the name of the person that had given to all the hard work of making sure our boy didn’t get poorly. A few minutes later Rich came back to check everything was ok with our food and informed us he would stay on over his shift change to ensure everything was correct- this man is one of the best people I have met in a long time. A little while later He introduced us to the manger taking over also so we could go to either if we had any issues. Once we had finished our meal he came over again to check everything was ok before going home.. this experience was the most amazing I’ve had since feeding the boy child and finding out about his allergies and for that I’m massively grateful and will definitely be heading back. Infact I think TGI FRIDAYS will be our go to place for dinner from now on.
I do hope that this gets back to Rich so he can see how amazing he is and how amazing he made our experience. I am truly greatful.
I will leave you with if you’ve allergies and eat out it can be great with the right research and staff :).
Until next time