Increasingly, people are wanting to eat gluten-free food, or at least know about it. Some can’t tolerate gluten, but others just prefer not to eat it, so luckily, there are a range of cuisines that cater for such a dietary requirements, and it means that gluten-free food can be eaten at restaurants right next to gluten-laden dishes.
That said, gluten-free foods have in fact been easy to find in Melbourne for some time now, if you know where to look. Most cafes and restaurants serve dishes that are without the gluten protein (found in wheat, rye, barley, triticale and oats), but some better cater to these needs than others. We thought we’d let you know about a few places – be it a busy restaurant, cosy suburban cafe or city lunch spot – where gluten-free food is more the norm than the exception.
Here’s is our guide to dining out in Melbourne and hitting the G(F) spot.
Mamasita offers authentic Mexican cuisine that is 100 per cent gluten-free. Kick off your meal with the Elotes Callejeros, street-style char-grilled corn doused in queso cheese, chipotle mayonnaise and lime. Then try the goat's cheese and spinach-stuffed tortillas with green mole, which are full of vibrant, tangy flavours. Be sure to order the tender and aromatic Chipotle-braised goat for main course. Wash it all down with some tequila.
Madame Sou Sou
A classic French bistro, the menu is designed with flair and all dishes offer a commitment to flavours. Highlights include freshly shucked oysters and a well-balanced Salade Composee with beetroot, witlof, goats curd, raspberry and hazelnut dressing. The choice of mains is broad, from a confit duck leg to roasted barramundi fillet served with a fragrant ragout. Oh, and order a side of pommes frites – they’re gluten-free. To finish, the chocolate fondant is the perfect parting note.
231 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9417 0400
Sacs Gluten Free
This gluten-free cafe is in the heart of Westgarth and is a safe environment for all coeliac and health-conscious diners. Whether you’re after a coffee and cake, long lunch or organic wine, you’ll find it all here. Sacs specialises in simple but satisfying dishes and offers a selection of freshly baked cakes, muffins and slices. Look out for the crumbly caramel slice! Sacs is fully licensed and serves gluten-free beer and a range of organic wines too. 105 High Street, Westgarth
(03) 9482 3999
Tue to Sat 8am–5.30pm
Borsch Vodka & Tears
A polish restaurant and bar with a seductive panache, Borsch Vodka & Tears has an entirely gluten-free menu with a variety of options. Start off with some Polish tapas, including dill cucumbers, pickled mushrooms or gypsy ham and then move on to potato blintzes with smoked salmon and sour cream, lovingly garnished with fresh herbs. Order the Russian Honey cake for dessert. There is also a weighty vodka list with over 100 varieties to choose from to wash it all down.
In the heart of Canterbury lies a cafe with a fiercely loyal following. Cafe Eden is a consistent package and sets the tone for casual weekend dining from breakfast or lunch. Canadian pancakes are light and spongy, but if you’re feeling a bit patriotic, tuck into the Outback Australia breakfast. The waiting staff here are highly knowledgeable about gluten-free food.
78 Maling Road, Canterbury
(03) 9836 4818
A quaint brunch spot in the blue stone pocket of the CBD, the menu at Hardware Societe has French and Spanish-influenced dishes, most of which are gluten-free. Start your day with the Spanish milk rice topped with stewed quince and chopped almonds served in a jam jar, or the potato tortilla. Don’t forget to try one of the colourful macarons as you leave. The butterscotch is our favourite.