Living in Kent (but not the pretty part, the crappier part where the closest to an English Garden you get is the Gillingham strand where there’s an outside pool that I’m almost certain is 87% wee), there’s not quite as many options for eating out when you have a perky handful of intolerances. HOWEVER, I will not be defeated and refuse to spend my money on anything else but food and ASOS deliveries so I’m collating a lovely little list of my favourite places to eat near home, including some menu recommendations and tips to help ensure you can eat there safely even on a gluten free, low FODMAP diet…
*Note: where possible I always call ahead to let them know about my dietary requirements, but all of these places I’ve also eaten without doing so and have always been fine
The Leather Bottle, Cobham
This cosy pub on the outskirts of Gravesend (the nicer part!) is one of my all-time faves. The manageress, Sara is coeliac and extremely passionate about food; meaning 90% of the menu is either gluten free, or can be adapted to be gluten free. They make everything fresh and are super flexible so lots of the dishes can be made without garlic or onion. I would absolutely recommend their seafood platter to share (I promise it’s big enough) with a side of chips and a big slab of sticky toffee pudding cake to finish – it tastes even better in the summer when eaten next to their outdoor gin shack. Visit their website here.
This was the first place I ever left a TripAdvisor review, and I’m still just as in love with this place as 20 year old me was. Not only has Mumus been home to some of my favourite girls nights out (their pornstar martinis are another level) but their food is also fantastic. I’ve been for bottomless brunch, my bridal shower, birthday dinners, afternoon tea (their gluten free afternoon tea is INSANE), my “I said yes to the dress” celebratory lunch, family roast and date night – basically completed it all. Everything from their salmon and avo toast to spitroast chicken and steaks are 10/10, and the snazzy vibe makes me feel way edgier than I am. The staff are also brill with allergens and can’t do enough for you. Also, if you’re after a few drinks and lighter meal at the weekend, their new Laundry Room Bar is the one! Visit their website here.
Ela Kendro, Gillingham
Now this authentic, family run Greek restaurant is on my favourites list for a few reasons:
1) It’s a fiver in an Uber meaning we can spend our money on more important things like their £20 Melbec
2) It’s ran family-ran, meaning even after one visit the staff remember who you are and it gives you all sorts of happy feels
3) Everything is cooked fresh so the no garlic or onion situation is pretty easy – even the chicken kebabs are safe!
4) They give you a local shot at the end which is very delicious
5) If you forget to book you can sit at the bar with a glass of wine and if you shut your eyes you’ll think you’re on holiday (minus the police sirens outside the chicken shop opposite)
I recommend the fried calamari (has no batter so is gluten free), greek salad (minus the onions) and either the chicken of salmon kebab with a side of halloumi. Sadly the chips and rice contain gluten but you won’t go hungry. View the menu here.
Oad Street Food and Crafts, Sittingbourne
This one holds a special place in my heart, as being on the way to our wedding venue it became a tradition to eat a brie, bacon and cranberry sandwich every time we went to visit, and minus the wedding breakfast, was the first place we ate as husband and wife. A super cute converted barn with homemade cakes and local produce, and a very enticing gift shop. We’ve only ever been for lunch but would definitely recommend! Visit the website here.
The perfect spot for casual dining (who do I think I am). Located towards the bride-end of the high street this place is fantastic for allergies and intolerances. One of the best moments in my foodie explorations to date was when the manager came over and showed me a picture of the two separate fryers he uses for gluten and non-gluten products; not because I asked, but because he obviously understood the anxiety of cross-contamination. My absolute favourite is the chicken, brie and cranberry burger (I might have off-menu’d that, but it’s definitely doable) and sweet potato fries. Their breakfasts are also 10/10. View their menu here.
The Potting Shed, Maidstone
This place is an absolute MUST in summer. It has one of the most fabulous pub gardens around; featuring giant deck chairs, a hut serving pizza (although not GF) and other tasty treats, and of course cocktails, along with service from their full menu. They have a pre-marked up gluten free menu including the most incredible sweet potato fries I think I’ve ever eaten. They’ve always been very happy to adapt to fit other dietaries where possible, however I’ve always gone for their steak as it’s a classic winner. View the menu here.
*Since writing this post The Potting Shed launched the most gorgeous accommodation styled like little hobbit huts and we have were invited for a gifted stay with dinner and breakfast. We had the most chilled, lovely time and the food was amazing. I’ll be doing a full write-up soon so keep an eye out!
Avenue Tennis, Gillingham
So this is an unexpected little number, given that it’s a tennis club (funny that). Just a short walk from the business park it has become a favourite for a “working lunch” i.e. I need to get out the office but don’t think we’ll get back in an hours; shall we have a meeting over a tuna and avo salad?? It has a build your own salad option (a fun form where you tick all the boxes and end up doubling the price with over-excitement), but is also great for dinner. We had Ross’s 30th birthday there and they catered for 60 of us perfectly; making pretty much any dish gluten, garlic and onion free if requested. Find out more here.
The Swan, West Malling
A bit further out for us but worth it for the cool vibes, delicious food and moreish cocktails. We’ve been here for breakfast, dinner, Christmas day, 30th birthdays, private dining for a baby shower with afternoon tea, and even a wedding, and never have they dissapointed. The past few times I’ve called ahead just to check about the intolerance situation, and have been greeted with a personalised menu, annotated with how they can adapt the majority of the menu. 100% recommend for any occasion and their crab toast is the best I’ve ever had! View the menu here.
This has been a favourite since they opened a few years back. Being a steak and lobster restaurant, you can’t really go wrong; and they don’t! Make sure you ask them about the steak as some come with a garlic butter so you’ll need to get them to leave this off. The blue cheese salad is fantastic and their regular chips are gluten free. So are the pornstar martinis (obs, but they needed their own shout-out). London prices but London quality, without the train fair. View the menu here.
If you know of any other gluten free and dietary friendly restaurants in Kent please do leave them in the comments below. And if you try any of these based on my recommendation I’d love to know what you think!