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Gluten Free Gem – Restaurant Review

2 Oxford Place, Leeds

A couple of colleagues & I went out recently to celebrate the launch of the new ilumi noodle pots – all our hard work in the design, recipe development, overcoming production issues and tight deadlines. And where better to go for lunch than a gluten free restaurant! As the brand manager of ilumi, I’m not personally gluten intolerant but this restaurant had such good reviews it was a natural choice while I was working in our Leeds office for the day.  I called to book the table and was asked if I had any other dietary requirements “besides gluten free” – I thought it was refreshing to be asked before even arriving at the door.

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A little quirky place just next to the Town Hall, 2 Oxford Place was a welcome sight full of delightful British eccentricities and cosy décor. Dainty teapots, mis-matched tea cups and crystal glassware decorate every available space. My colleague and I got a table near the window which was a treat, (especially in the Autumn sunshine) – I’m not sure the larger tables at the back of the restaurant would have such a bright and airy mealtime.

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The menu was wide and varied with a good selection of everything from salads, sandwiches, pies and sharing boards. And all gluten free of course! Alternative dairy-free and vegan menus were also available, which was again, refreshing to know specific dietary requirements were catered for (without the customer having to ask).

I selected the BBQ pulled pork burger with Monterey Jack cheese, while my companion had the Risotto of the Day – a beetroot risotto which (as you can see by the pictures!) was a plateful of pink perfection!  They also featured a soup of the day (Mushroom) and a Quiche of the Day (Tomato and Goats Cheese). My burger came literally oozing out of its’ gluten free “English muffin” (a bun) – you certainly wouldn’t have been able to eat this with your hands! The roll was nicely toasted with a floury appearance (although it obviously wasn’t …!) The burger was a real treat for a Thursday afternoon.

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The great thing about this restaurant was the fact that a customer wouldn’t even have to ask or blink twice about ordering something that traditionally would have been unavailable to them – (I’m sure) giving coeliacs and those with a gluten intolerance a sense of freedom and spontaneity when ordering. The other thing about my meal is that I ate a massive burger on a sunny lunchtime without that heavy, sleepy, sluggish feeling afterwards (and I’m writing this about 2 hours after I left the restaurant – and I’m just comfortably full!)

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I’d heard on the grapevine that getting a table at this place can be tricky so we were lucky to get a booking – particularly this is meant to be difficult at the weekend. I would suggest this is a great place for a bite to eat at lunch and the afternoon teas would be a relaxed place to get together with a friend or two. If you’re in the Leeds area, it’s definitely recommended – and currently as the #6 best restaurant on Tripadvisor in Leeds, it obviously appeals to more than those with dietary requirements.

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