Please read the end of the review for my star rating and conclusion.
For the last three days, my boyfriend and I have been on a mini-break in Canterbury, Kent. Although it was not our main reason for visiting, I couldn’t possibly go all that way without going to Oscar and Bentley’s.
If you’ve not heard of Oscar and Bentley’s before, the first thing you need to know is that they won the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards’ “Restaurant” category in 2014. They’re situated in a beautiful old building in the centre of Canterbury, not far from the Cathedral. They cater for all dietary requirements, with vegetarian/vegan and dairy free options on the menu.
I’m a chef’s worst nightmare – coeliac, vegetarian and with several foods that I have to avoid due to IBS-D (onion and garlic are my worst trigger foods) – but I spoke to the manager in advance and they were very accommodating. Sarah, one of the owners, spoke to me before my first meal and went through what the chef could make me. I instantly felt at ease and happily had no flare ups during our trip (which as other IBS sufferers will know isn’t an easy task!)
The decor was beautiful – in keeping with Canterbury’s relaxed vibe. The toilet facilities were good and seating was available both upstairs and downstairs.
We ate there four times during our stay, so the format of this post will be a little different to my usual reviews. Here is a list of some of the meals my boyfriend and I had during our visit and our thoughts, followed by my star rating.
Wild Mushroom Fricassee
As this dish had both onions and garlic in, I was not able to try it, but my boyfriend gave a rave review of this. This was actually his favourite dish – a creamy mushroom and spinach mix on a slice of garlic bread.
Bread and Oil
This may seem self-evident but I decided to include it anyway because we loved it so much. The bread is homemade and was incredible. It’s rare to find a gluten free bread that manages to be soft and tasty – this bread was both and really impressed us.
Light Bites and Sides
Being able to have proper fried chips is something I deeply miss, so I took full advantage of O and B’s delicious chips, having them with almost every meal. They were everything you would want from a chip – crispy on the outside, fluffy inside but not soggy. They really satisfied my craving.
Three Egg Omelette
Buttery, fluffy and perfectly cooked, I really can find no fault with the omelette. We had this as both brunch and dinner.
For lunch I tried the Brie de Meaux bap. The brie was creamy and strong but the bun was the real star of the show. It was almost like Brioche, fluffy and sweet – proof that gluten free buns can be just as good as “normal” ones.
I was not expecting this to be so large, so I was pleasantly surprised. The frittata has goat’s cheese, spinach, red pepper and new potatoes in it and was delicious. I love goat’s cheese and so this was probably my favourite dish.
Again the risotto unfortunately had onions in it, but my boyfriend was very satisfied with this dish. It was creamy with a nice mix of mushroom types.
Rich and chocolatey, this was not a bog-standard get-it-in-any-Starbucks brownie. Served with a dark chocolate sauce and ice cream on a biscuit base, this brownie felt far more luxurious than the usual offering in high street chains.
Upside Down Lemon Cheesecake
I’m not normally a fan of lemon desserts, but I fancied something lighter than a cake or pudding. The texture was creamy and smooth, not like the supermarket-style cheesecake that you commonly get in high street eateries. The biscuit topping had thyme piece in it, which was very subtle and complimented the lemon nicely.
Chocolate and Orange Cake
The afternoon cakes change regularly, but this was one of the cakes that was on offer on our arrival. It tasted more of orange than chocolate, but it was a refreshing taste and we both enjoyed it.
Oddly, one of our favourite items on the menu were the milkshakes. Made with ice cream, cream and milk, they were thick and creamy yet refreshing. We only tried the chocolate one, but next time I visit the Honeycomb flavour will be on my list!
Yummy, creamy, warm – everything you want in a hot chocolate.
For those of you who enjoy alcohol with dinner, O and B’s offer several gluten free options, including a local cider. Crisp and clear, it was the perfect accompaniment to our main courses.
With comparison to the other 100% gluten free eateries I’ve reviewed I found Oscar and Bentley’s to be one of the most accommodating and friendly. They happily adjusted parts of the menu to my dietary requirements and made both of us feel welcome.
It may be nice to see a pasta or pizza option on the menu, simply as another option, though this may not be in keeping with the restaurant’s current menu theme (and many high street Italian chains will do this, with CC being kept to minimum but not absolutely guaranteed). Overall we had no complaints at all, either in way of variety (within the very limited parameters of my own dietary requirements), food or service.
Five stars for safe dining out for Coeliacs, excellent knowledge of other dietary requirements, delicious food and a lovely atmosphere. I will definitely be visiting again!