Pub restaurant wows judges with its dairy and gluten free catering

Celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson presents the award to Brandon Kirby and Mark Snelling of The Alford Arms
Celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson presents the award to Brandon Kirby and Mark Snelling of The Alford Arms

A pub restaurant which caters to those with allergies and special dietary requirements has scooped a top award for being the UK’s most allergen-aware eatery.

Frithsden’s The Alford Arms was judged as serving the best allergy-friendly food – both in the pub dining category and overall – in the country at the inaugural FreeFrom Eating Awards this month.

The venue, one of a small chain of Home Counties pub restaurants,was commended for its gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and soya-free options, after one of the prestigious competition’s judges ate at the Alford Arms as a mystery diner.The incognito customer said in his report: “I am hearing heavenly choirs!

“As someone with multiple serious allergies, I have never been so well fed and cared for.

“They prepared me a special menu with multiple choices of excellent fresh, imaginative and delicious food, and checked it with me three times, yet on the night I was treated like any other guest – absolutely no embarrassing fuss.”

The Frithsden pub even beat off stiff competition from national Italian chain Pizza Express, which offers a full, Coeliac UK-accredited, gluten free menu with dairy and soya-free options though out their 400 nationwide restaurants.

Claire Chidley, trainee manager at The Alford Arms, explained their restaurant offers a dairy-free and gluten-free menu to guests, each with a wide range of tasty options.

She said: “The main thing for us is to make it a nicer experience for customers who may have difficulties with their diets

“Having dairy-free and gluten-free options makes eating out a hassle-free experience for some of our customers, who don’t have to be made to feel uncomfortable when ordering in a group.

“If there is anything more specific in their needs, we will always help them with it.

The awards coincide with the new allergen declaration regulations coming into force this December.