Nut-Free, Gluten-Free Dining at Honest Burgers in London
Before leaving for my trip to the United Kingdom I researched the best allergy-friendly spots in London where we would be arriving first before our 10-day adventure. I kept seeing the same place pop up on many lists: Honest Burgers. Upon visiting their website, I noticed they had an entire allergy menu which clearly outlined each of their dishes alongside with allergens that may be present.Â In addition to clearly labeling all allergens, their menu is inspired by “simple British produce” and is all organic. Brownie points in my book! After visiting Honest Burger in person, I can safely say it was one of the most delicious, pleasant dining experiences I’ve had in a while. Stopping into Honest Burgers for an incredibly delicious gluten-free, nut-free meal was the perfect warm welcome to London.
Prior to dining at a restaurant, I always take a close look at the menu and ingredients of all dishes to see if nuts are present in many dishes, as well as what gluten-free options are available for me. When looking at the Honest Burgers menu, their chicken burger with a gluten-free bun immediately caught my eye, and I immediately spotted a few menu items I knew my husband would love. In the spirit of being overly cautious, I sent an email asking to Honest Burger asking what items to stay away from with a nut-allergy and gluten-intolerance. I received this reply within twenty minutes:
We do offer gluten free buns and when ordered with any burger on our menu you can have a gluten friendly meal. Unfortunately due the presence of gluten in our kitchens (our standard bun) we cannot guarantee the absence of it in any of our meals.
However, our chefs do take every precaution available to them to prevent cross-contamination, for example, we use a separate toaster for the gluten free buns, separate utensils when ‘building’ the burger and gloves are worn at all times when handling GF buns.
Regarding your husbands allergy, we have no nuts on the premises.
We do however, buy our bread from Millers Bakery and although there are no nuts in our bread, and they have incredibly high standards of contamination control, I would much rather you were aware of the full situation so you can make your decision accordingly. They have no peanuts onsite, but they do have walnuts onsite.
Thank you Honest Burger for being so honest! Rarely when I ask about allergens am I informed about the specific cross-contamination that may occur from product suppliers. Typically the response I get is something along the lines of “we aren’t sure about any possible presence of nuts in our buns because they come from outside our kitchen.” Honest Burgers not only flagged a possibility of cross-contamination, but also clearly identified the type of nut that their bakery supplier used in their other recipes. I really appreciated the transparency I received before even setting foot into their restaurant!
During my research I discovered that there was a Honest Burgers location on Portobello Road in Notting Hill about five minutes from where we were staying. Feeling confident with the information about the ingredients, my husband and I set out for our first meal in London. Upon arrival, I mentioned our allergies and intolerances again and our waiter was extremely knowledgeable and make us feel secure that the dishes we were ordering would be safe.
I ordered the Free Range Chicken Breast Burger on a gluten-free bun with a side of their house dressed green salad (girlfriend needs to eat her greens)! My husband ordered the Beef Burger, and a side of onion rings. Let’s talk about these onion rings for a minute. Typically I’m not able to eat onion rings as they are usually battered and deep fried in flour. Not at Honest Burgers. Their onion rings are coated with a rice and garbanzo bean flour which makes them 100% gluten-free. Amazing! In addition to our extra sides, our burgers came with rosemary chips (french fries) which were incredible. I asked about the frying oil as many places in the United States use peanut oil, but at Honest Burgers they use rapeseed oil for frying.
After we finished our meal, in celebration of the first day of vacation, I ordered The Honest Cup Cocktail which was made from Vodka, Apple, and Cucumber Puree served over ice. It was refreshing and the perfect cocktail for a summer afternoon.
Instead of a cocktail, my husband ordered The Honest Pale Ale (obviously not gluten-free), Honest Burgers’ own beer from Beavertown. Another reason I love the United Kingdom is the are strict rules about labeling ingredients not only on food, but also on alcohol. This labeling isn’t currently required in The United States (read my post “This Alcohol May Contain..Nuts!” for more about this), although I wish it was. Before drinking a new craft beer, my husband often looks up the ingredients as nuts have found their way into more beer recipes, but he was totally safe with The Honest Pale Ale. All in all, an amazing meal!