What should be expected if a Café promotes itself as 100% gluten free? This is the question that the new Healthylicious Café on Keilor Road in Niddrie raised recently. Located at 332 Keilor Road, it is conveniently located just up from the route 59 tram stop and there is ample parking around the shopping precinct. But is it really 100% gluten free?
Promoting a 100% gluten free menu the café seemed like a dream come true to local and travelling Coeliacs alike, however upon questioning it appears that they use products that are possibly contaminated from the manufacturer and are therefore not technically 100% gluten free. The owner, when questioned about it likes to state that the café is not dedicated for those with Coeliac Disease. So, does this mean we, as those with Coeliac Disease, can’t safely eat there?
Knowing that the café did use products with may contains, I took a different approach than usually when querying the food. I asked what specifically had may contain statements and what would be the safest for me to consume to avoid any contact with these ingredients. You definitely need to ask this, because I heard the waitress tell the other customers they were all certified gluten free a few times, which means they won’t openly let you know the food isn’t 100% gluten free or Coeliac safe.
Unfortunately for those who really wanted a burger, the house made bread is made from ingredients that have a may contain. Under the Coeliac Society recommendations, I cannot suggest that anyone eats the bread or burger buns knowing this.
After my lengthy discussions with the waitress, she confirmed that the breadcrumbs they used are labelled gluten free with no may contain and that their chips are cut in-house and do not share a fryer with products that could have a may contain, therefore the chicken schnitzel was a safe option. They were pushing their avocado chips, which also used the same breadcrumbs and was cooked in that fryer. They are also considered safe. We decided to give in and get a helping of these to start with.
They were decent avocado chips. I don’t actually remember how much they cost. If you can’t be bothered making them at home then this is a good option. These were served with a sauce that I forgot to ask about, so I left it to the side. Based on my estimate you probably got a full avocado in this bowl. It was quite filling. For those who’d prefer to make them at home, you can find my Avocado Chip Recipe here.
I’ll start the mains review with my Coeliac Safe dish of Chicken Schnitzel and chips. The first thing I do want to say is that the portions at the Healthylicious Café are anything but small. In fact, I didn’t even finish mine. The schnitzel was served with a side of hand-cut potato and sweet potato fries. Then topped with a slice of lemon and finished with a sauce on the side. I forgot to ask about the sauce, so I erred on the side of caution and didn’t try that. However, dad tried it and mentioned that it was a mustard mayonnaise hybrid and delicious with the chicken.
If you do try it be sure to ask the ingredients to ensure it is coeliac safe. The chicken itself was well crumbed and moist; the lemon definitely added the freshness it needed since I couldn’t use the sauce. The fries tasted clean and earthy. The fires were definitely the perfect accompaniment. While it was a delicious dish and something that I would eat again, the plainness of the Coeliac Safe option was extremely disappointing. Especially with all this other food that is marked gluten free.
Dad opted for the ‘gluten free friendly’ spicy chicken burger. He said the bun itself was nice, a little dense and he could tell it was gluten free but he did finish it all. The chicken was again moist and the feta cheese added creaminess. However, dad thought the sauce was the winner of the dish. Instead of chips, he got a side salad which was filling but a bit plain. He was definitely impressed with the meal and service.
I was going to get a latte, however; I didn’t feel like interrogating them about their ingredients further. Instead, we paid the bill and I left a Coeliac Society training card. Hopefully, that pushes them to achieve a full 100% gluten free establish that can cater for those who really need it.
At this time, Healthylicious is definitely not the Coeliac haven that many were hoping it would be. Do not expect to be able to sit down and enjoy a 100% safe lunch without asking questions. Many do this in other promoted gluten free cafés, but it is always good to check. However, if you are in the area and willing to explore their coeliac safe options just make sure that you’re completely comfortable eating the food.
I probably wouldn’t return until they can back up their 100% gluten free claim. Despite that, this cafe could be just the thing for a gluten intolerant local.
For more restaurants and cafes that are promoted as 100% gluten free, click here.
Until Next Time;