I think it’s safe to say that gluten free vegan food is not easy to find, and I find myself planning cafes and restaurants where I know i’m guaranteed to find something to eat – sometimes the busy student lifestyle just doesn’t leave me enough time to cook , and sometimes I just need to treat myself.
Oxford is a city full of nifty little cafes and cocktail bars, yet (before I went gluten free and started worrying about shared friers), I always end/ed up eating chips. Or fries. Or fried potato products. It’s a real shame when even living in a city doesn’t leave you with much food choice!
However, I’ve found it is possible to eat gluten-free and vegan, as long as you plan in advance and sometimes have to forego a meal in order to spend time with your omnivorous friends. It’s a real shame for me to go to a restaurant and find I can’t eat anything and the chefs is not willing to sub out an ingredient (soy sauce i’m talking to you!), but not eating is much better than feeling ill for days after eating a meal that will make me ill.
Over the last few days, i’ve been taking in all the food Oxford has to offer – and it’s actually pretty good.
First, I don’t think a trip to Oxford would be complete without sampling G&Ds ice cream, and although their cafe menu is extensive, I don’t need none of that ‘large ice cream with molten brownie slices and a mountain of whipped cream’. Give me a delicious duo of sorbets and I am happy as Larry. I had a scoop each of the raspberry and passionfruit sorbets.
Next on the list is EAT. EAT is a chain of sandwich shops, originating in London, and specialising in ‘healthy food’. Although I can’t eat their sandwiches, they do offer a great little range of fruit pots and several soups per day – this is the dairy-free gluten-free vegan Thai Butternut Squash soup in small. I found that a small pot was enough and you can check their weekly soup menu online (with allergen information) before you start speeding off for their soup of the day. I teamed my soup with a Mango and Lime fruit chiller – made with fresh lime! What i’ve always loved about EAT is their ingredients and allergens are marked clearly on every item, making it a little bit of a dream for anyone with allergies and/or intolerances.
Finally, I had to sample the Gluten Free menu at GBK – finally a restaurant that provides it’s own separate gluten free menu! I had the GF Dippy Hippy burger – grilled aubergine, pineapple, satay sauce, tomato, onions and alfalfa sprouts on a gluten-free bun. I also believe the GF Veggie Classic burger is safe for vegans if ordered without mayonnaise, but don’t take my word on it! I really liked how this wasn’t just a burger with ingredients subbed to make it seem ‘meaty’, but an original burger that’s not trying to be meat. However, I thought the bun definitely tasted gluten-free and I wasn’t too impressed with the filling – although i’m sure that’s more a personal food choice rather than it being a terrible burger!
To sum it all up then, it is definitely possible to find food to eat when on the go or in a foreign city, it just takes a little forethought and luck!