On a good day, or for other people a normal day, going out for a meal is my favourite thing to do. I love, love, love going to a good restaurant. I love all kinds of cuisine. I enjoy getting dressed for dinner, I enjoy a wine assisted lunch, a pre-theatre dinner, a late night supper; a meal for me can be my whole night out. But there is only so much running out of restaurants you can do before all of the pleasure is sapped from the experience.
At the beginning of a Fodmap diet eating out seems an impossibility due to the list of foods we cant eat, particularly wheat/gluten, onions and garlic, which are heavily peppered on all restaurant menus. But, its down to making new choices, retraining your brain to learn new favourites, and speaking up in restaurants to ask about ingredients and what the chef can do.
On Saturday night I had a delicious, indulgent meal with my sister, that was illness and stomach disaster free. (And I ate all my dinner, whilst staying in my seat, and not leaving the restaurant until it was time to go home - it was a marvel)
Our meal was at The Grill on Newgate Street - Chester, part of the Blackhouse restaurant and bar group. I have actually had a few good meals in this group of restaurants, but this was my first time at The Grill on Newgate Street and my first time choosing my meal as a Fodmap Intolerant.
The welcome at The Grill was lovely and we had a quick drink at the bar to work up an appetite (a divine mixed vodka and tonic, seen as you asked).
My sister started with the Oysters which were presented beautifully, it all felt very special and, according to my sister, they tasted sublime.
I had the calamari which was cooked brilliantly and was served with a lovely fresh lemon mayonnaise.
Next was the bit I had been looking forward to for days, the steak. The Blackhouse Grills really know how to serve their steak; they let the quality of the meat do the talking.
We both went for the 310g rump steak, which the menu stated was the 'the leanest cut with a big, bold flavour, at its best medium rare
and not recommended beyond medium', as medium rare is how we both like our steak cooked this seemed like the obvious choice. On arrival at the table the steak appeared, to the untrained eye, to be overcooked, but how wrong could we be. The outside of the steak was dark and smoky from a hot griddle, but on the first touch of the knife underneath the dark exterior was a soft, meltingly pink middle. Just perfect.
The home cut chips were the ideal accompaniment, think skin on chips with a rustic taste that compliments the smoky steak. We also ordered a portion of French Beans, sweet and with a crunch; and it was the perfect low Fodmap meal.
It was one of the best meals I have had in a long time, both down to the restaurant, food and service, but also I felt good, I felt well and was able to make informed choices that ensured my evening stayed that way.
I felt so good it would have been rude not to finish the evening with......
A delicious, sweet amaretto on ice (Oh, ok then I had two but shhhhh don't tell anyone).
So if you are looking for a low Fodmap friendly restaurant, look no further. There are many more options than just the steak too. A Sunday option is a roast for two, which I may have to pop along to one of The Grills to indulge. Eating out does not need to be a chore, it can be a wonderful and pleasurable experience.
Well, The Grill on Newgate Street made it one for me.