Having food intolerances can be a real pain if you also happen to be a foodie. Over the years I have learnt not to get fixated with a particular dish on the menu as there is always a good chance that I won’t be able to eat it. Some restaurants are compassionate of our allergic needs and clearly identify the gluten free dishes on their menu which makes ordering food so much easier. I look forward to the day I see a fructose friendly marked menu.
Thankfully, my fructose malabsorption causes me much less severe symptoms than my gluten intolerance does. Provided that I strictly avoid all gluten, I can afford to occasionally be a little lenient on the fructose. We were recently invited to Foodie Craving’s Crust Gourmet Pizza store in Mount Lawley to give feedback on their new free WIFI installed in store. The event didn’t start until 8pm so the Boy and I decided to stop en route to Solomon’s Café on Beaufort Street. The concept of an entirely gluten free restaurant is one that already gives me warm fuzzies, but at Solomon’s Café it is also all organic AND dairy free – it almost sounds too good to be true!
Knowing we had an evening of pizza feasting ahead of us, we planned to have a light snack only but as is often the case we may have ended up ordering a bit more than we necessarily needed.
Maybe I should just blame it on the meal sizes? When I chose the raw zucchini pasta, I certainly wasn’t expecting the towering mountain that came to the table. Nor did I plan ahead and ask for the omission of onion. Having eaten raw zucchini pasta on several occasions myself at home, I have grown to really love the texture and will make a great effort to make sure each “pasta” strip is made from the entire length of the zucchini to give long luxurious spaghetti-like strands. For this time round I was disappointed to find my pasta was made from short, comparatively fat pieces of zucchini that would have only been about 6-7 centimetres long. It felt a bit like I was eating a grated zucchini salad. It was tasty, but not what I was anticipating.
The beetroot gnocchi was much more satisfying although that may be in part because I so rarely get to order gnocchi as most are made using wheat flour. They tasted a little doughy yet still had a light texture and matched well with the vegan pesto drizzled lavishly over the top.
As soon as I saw there were vegan nachos on the menu I had a gut feeling the Boy would order this for himself. I was quietly hoping he wouldn’t as we had only recently shared raw nachos at The Raw Kitchen the week before. I like to have interesting and different dishes to photograph and write about but he just wasn’t having it. It was a much bigger serve than The Raw Kitchen and he preferred the salsa as it was more flavoursome.
Continuing in our quest to try and abstain from alcohol for sixty days we each ordered a healthy antioxidant packed drink. I chose the “Bloody Detox” juice squeezed full of fructose friendly beetroot, carrot, celery, parsley, ginger and lemon. The Boy chose the vegan but creamy mango lassi made with mango, coconut milk, cinnamon, cardamom.
Pleasantly but not overly satiated we strolled up Beaufort Street to Crust. I was glad I had left a bit of room for some pizza as they always have plenty of gluten free options for me. The purpose of the evening was to trial run their new free in-store WIFI to assess how useful it would be for their customers and if it was easy to access without guidance.
As we made ourselves comfortable on the alfresco tables some starters were brought out including the gluten free oregano verdi and parmesan squares. All my vegan efforts were thrown out the window as I couldn’t refuse the offer of such cheesy deliciousness like this. Crust’s gluten free bases taste incredibly “normal” and fellow blogger Jacqui from Pantry in Suburbia commented how she couldn’t even tell it was gluten free.
After polishing off some starters we ran through an online questionnaire using the free WIFI. It was very simple to connect across the variety of devices everyone were using and the Internet speed was much quicker than my Optus 3G network. For the gluten free pizza option we chose the Szechuan Chilli Prawn. Crunchy spicy seasoned prawns were scattered generously over the gluten free pizza base along with fresh capsicum, bocconcini and sweet chilli, and then garnished with fresh lemon and chilli. This pizza has a bit of a kick to it and I highly recommend it for those who like a bit of heat.
Crust’s dessert pizzas unfortunately cannot be made gluten free as the gluten free bases are made off site in a gluten free environment to minimise any contamination. I looked on in envy as every devoured the Black Forest Crumble; a decadent dessert pizza layered with custard, mud cake and black cherries, topped with baked crumble, drizzled with berry coulis and dusted with icing sugar. Given that our small table managed to eat its way through two of these, I am guessing they were pretty damn good. Gluten free dessert options at Crust include their chocolate mousse and all their ice cream flavours. The chocolate mousse is by far my favourite. I love how there are numerous little chocolate nibs buried in the mousse.
Solomon’s Café is definitely worth a visit for anyone with dietary issues as the menu is designed for us. Better still they use organic ingredients without the high price tag you would expect. Whilst not all our dishes had a wow factor, I loved how I could order pretty much anything off the menu like back in the days before I knew about my intolerances. Total freedom without all the health issues that used to come with it!Solomon’s Café 487 Beaufort Street, Highgate WA 6003 | (08) 9328 7995 | Facebook Price: $$ (Mains $20-36, Sides/Small bites $5-12) Food: 3/5 (would prefer more vego options given niche target market) Service: 3.5/5 (slow to bring out meals however were packed) Ambience: 3.5/5 (noisy and vibrant) Drinks: 3.5/5 (both juice and smoothie options, fructose free options) Total: 13.5/20 www.crust.com.au