Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fox in the Box: Gluten free heaven in Gardenvale

As a Coeliac, there is a special (and rare) pleasure to be had from eating at one of the few establishments around the city that run completely gluten free kitchens. To be able to pick anything - anything at all - off the menu is an almost illicit thrill for those of us used to being limited to one salad, and maybe one soup, to choose from.

More than that, though, there's such a sense of relaxation and relief knowing that there is zero chance of contamination, and that you don't have to spend a wearying and potentially embarassing  amount of time quizzing wait staff on ingredients and preparation methods, maybe also having a conversation with a busy chef, then crossing all your fingers and toes that they get it right and you don't end up in pain for days. There are some places - actually, a lot of places - where I won't eat at all, because I just can't feel confident that they understand and will respect the need I have for fully gluten free food.

All of this why Fox in the box, located in Martin Street, Brighton (or is it Gardenvale? you decide) is a lovely, lovely discovery. A cute, unpretentious little cafe, it was tagged by my good friend J as a potential lunch venue for us a while back, and today we finally got around to checking it out.

It's fair to say we were the very opposite of disappointed. The menu is a good, solid cafe menu - wraps and sandwiches, risottos and pastas, chips and schnitzel, an array of nice-sounding salads - but each dish has an interesting little twist on it. There were at least 8-10 things that sounded super appetizing to me, but at the end of the day, I couldn't go past the salt and pepper calamari with three kinds of aoli. I used to love salt and pepper calamari in the good old days before I was a mutant (or at least a diagnosed one), and I miss it very much. Besides, *three* kinds of aoli? Come on. Too good to pass up.

My friend J made the same call and we had our mains with a very pleasant house sauvignon blanc, and wow was the food good. The calamari was delicate, soft and just slightly peppery (ie perfect) and the three sauces were interesting. I wasn't sold on the orangey one to the left of the plate, which had a mustard tang that wasn't quite to my taste, but the other two were to die for, and I scraped every bit out with chips and calamari alike.

Unphotographed, but also incredibly good, was the gooey chocolate pudding with vanilla bean lactose-free icecream that I had with Darjeeling tea for afters. Honestly, I love chocolate pudding, especially the ones that lava the dark chocolate sauce from inside the middle when you break them open with your spoon. I haven't had a really awesome one since being diagnosed almost 7 years ago, and that, my friends, is a VERY long time between drinks. Today I broke the drought with the kind of pudding that leaves you with a warm chocolatey glow of wellbeing, washed down with the no-nonsense tannins of my favourite of all the plain black teas. My friend J had a chocolate tart that she was similarly enthused about, and all in all, we were very glad we waited for dessert :-)

Although not personally an issue for me, the multiply-food-challenged might be interested to know that Fox in the box also does lots of lactose-free and FODMAP-friendly dishes, and plenty of vegan options as well. No matter what your food issue is, this place can sort you out and you won't be sorry you went.

J and I were so enthused that we are planning a group brunch there in the near future to try out the breakfast menu. Two firm thumbs up from me for Fox in the box!

Disclaimer (or anti-disclaimer really): I was not asked to write this post, no inducement was offered nor accepted for doing so, and I have no affiliation whatsoever with Fox in the box or its management. Our meals were paid for by my delightful friend J as a celebration lunch for getting my new job!

No comments:

Post a Comment