Review submitted by: allergymama on 7 October 2013.
Date last visited: October 2013.
“We visited Carluccio’s in Bloomsbury, Central London on 3 October 2013 – http://www.carluccios.com/
It was our first family visit to a restaurant for our severely multiple-allergic child to eat out (we’ve gone out before but brought safe food for our child). The *main* allergens we must avoid are dairy, egg, peanut, all nuts, sesame and chickpeas/ beans. We carry epipens at all times. We have had a brilliant experience with a wonderful nursery cook who is able to meet our child’s dietary needs and trying a restaurant seemed like the logical next step. I was very conscious of advice from another allergy-parent who suggested braving a restaurant (and going regularly) whilst our child was young and before fear/ self consciousness etc became a problem in order to normalise explaining the allergies and associated dietary needs to restaurant staff.
I had contacted Carluccio’s in advance to explain our dietary issue. I was given confidence to go ahead with a booking by a speedy response and a list of items which were considered suitable, along with an explanation of standard practice to avoid cross-contamination. We were advised to go early in the day which we did. On the day of the booking I went about an hour before we were to eat (without our child) to run through things with the manager just to be sure I was comfortable to go ahead. She was already briefed, had a list of our allergens sitting by the till and again went through the things she recommended as safe (with reference to a large lever arch file of allergy info for each dish on the menu) and advised spaghetti with tomato sauce as the item she was most confident as safe. She said this was because a fresh sauce could be prepared for our child under her watchful eye. I was then introduced to the chef who went through what he would do to prepare our meal. I was very reassured by the professionalism of the staff.
We then returned with our child who took delight in looking at the menu and ordering a drink. When our order was placed the manager went into the kitchen and oversaw the preparation of our meal. She brought it to our table. The meal was lovely and the staff were attentive, checking everything was ok. The chef came out to speak with us to ensure all was in order. Our child loved the food and being allowed to participate fully in the social experience.
At the end I asked the manager how I could go about arranging a second visit and what we could expect in terms of allergy provision. I couldn’t believe that they would go to such lengths for a “normal” visit from an allergy family (rather than a super-planned first trip). I was both amazed and delighted when she explained that our dietary needs were now in the restaurant booking system and that if we were to make a booking in future to explain this to the manager. A manager would then take responsibility for our order in the same way as for our first visit. She explained that ideally, some notice would help but they could meet our dietary needs with as little as 5 minutes notice. Apparently Carluccio’s takes pride in meeting all dietary needs and according to the manager the have a lot of experience providing food for celiacs and so are really aware of cross-contamination issues. In some ways the existence of a thought out procedure and routine “allergy-management” practice was what impressed me the most.
When we first entered the bewildering world of multiple food allergy eating in a restaurant seemed like something we would never do as a family. Our trip to Carluccio’s was a huge step in terms of building our confidence and supporting our child with trying new things in a safe way. We could not be happier with our experience.”
- You must login to post comments