If you’re reading this blog, then you’re probably already aware that it’s coeliac awareness week – the focus for Coeliac UK’s campaign this year is eating out, and they’re encouraging people to share their experiences dining out, both good and bad. Getting into the spirit of things for the first time since being diagnosed coeliac three years ago, I’m taking part with a review of my recent meal out at Ed’s Easy Diner, who are Coeliac UK accredited and in possession of an extensive gluten-free menu. It’s always exciting to be able to eat somewhere that you know is safe, and I had high hopes for this meal out.
Moreover, as it happens, it has long, long been an ambition of ours to go and eat at Ed’s Easy Diner – long before I got diagnosed coeliac. It has just always looked so fun. The number of times we walked past its red booths in the Birmingham Bullring and cutesy retro wall signs, and vowed to go there to eat next time – only we never did. Our problem was that we loved Handmade Burger (another amazing burger place – I’ll be writing more about it soon) so much that we never went elsewhere. And then I got diagnosed coeliac. Ed’s Easy Diner, with its casual vibe and burger-heavy menu, didn’t seem like a place that would be good for that.
Nevertheless, you’d be surprised, and pleasantly. Their gluten-free menu is very extensive, encompassing not one but three choices of chips to go with your meal, a variety of burgers, hot dogs and a couple of surprisingly meaty salads. Puddings consist of either a gluten-free brownie or – the more unusual option – a peanut butter & chocolate sundae!
However, If you’re coeliac and vegetarian, like me, you’ll be pleased to know that there is exactly one main option on the menu. This is the gluten-free halloumi burger. Hence, I will be reviewing the single option that was available to me. 😉 We were served by a waiter with a lot of pep in his step, and a very sprightly and enthusiastic manner, which we were both fascinated and kind of baffled by until he handed us a little card at the end, asking us to leave feedback on his service and therefore revealing the comforting core of cynicism at the heart of his act. I immediately liked him much more; no one is quite that peppy by nature.
Gluten-free milkshakes are also on the menu at Ed’s, with a delightfully full choice of flavours, including Nutella and Reese’s Peanut Butter! Greg went for strawberry, and I tried a little bit – ’twas lovely! If you’re finding this all a bit rich-sounding, you can opt for frozen yogurt instead of ice cream in your ‘shake, too.
Much like at Cote Brasserie, if you’ve ever eaten there, food ordered off the gluten-free menu comes with little flags in them. This is genuinely the most reassuring thing – I actually was having a little worry that the waiter didn’t know or convey to the kitchen staff that the waffle fries were for me, and that care should be taken to avoid cross contamination. All fears were instantly assuaged by the appearance of a little flag in the chips, too.
The halloumi burger was really very tasty, and the accompanying salad was nice and fresh. The gluten-free bun was also one of the better ones I’ve had out, too; it was soft and yet firm, with no detectable crumbling. However, it just didn’t feel like a ‘proper’ burger like a veggie patty does. Now, don’t get me wrong, halloumi is delicious and absolutely the bee’s knees. But it would be nice to have a gluten-free vegetarian option that felt more like a burger proper, to go alongside the halloumi burger.
But Ed’s absolutely get a pass for the amazingness that was these waffle fries. Soooo good. The only other place that I’ve found gluten-free waffle fries out and about so far is Leon. I would come back to Ed just to eat waffle fries, tbh. They were delish.
All in all, on a gluten-free front, Ed’s Easy Diner was really very good. They have a dedicated gluten-free menu, clear controls in place to prevent cross contamination and excellent methods at communicating that to reassure the customer. In terms of the food itself, it was very tasty, if limited in vegetarian options; it was all very meaty and ‘fast’ in style, but that’s what you’d expect. I’d still not put it on quite the level of Handmade Burger (what in life is though), but the waffle fries are some serious business. Throw in a few more decent veggie GF options and we’d really be talking.
Overall, we had a nice meal, in a place with fun decor and atmosphere, and efficient (if peppy) service. We enjoyed it!