The executive chef at one of London’s top restaurants has revealed how he made his à la carte lunch and dinner menus gluten and dairy free months ago — and nobody has noticed. Dominic Teague, from Indigo restaurant in Covent Garden’s One Aldwych hotel, told the Standard that he worked on his new menu over several months after noticing a “massive uptake in guests who wanted gluten and dairy free dishes”.
Mr Teague, formerly of the Lanesborough Hotel and Marco Pierre White’s L’Escargot, added that he had “experienced first hand” how difficult eating out could be for those with dietary requirements as his wife is intolerant to gluten and his mother to dairy.
The chef launched the menu three months ago, becoming one of the first in the city to have their entire lunch and dinner offerings free from gluten and dairy.
So far, he said, nobody has been able to tell the difference. “No one has said anything. We have regulars who have all given great comments about the new menu but not about it being gluten or dairy free,” he added.
“A few people have been told after, or when they ask for gluten-free food. Most can’t believe it. We have had loads of people coming back.”
Mr Teague, 43, who lives with his family in Blackheath, said a particular challenge on the menu was bread, which is made in-house. Over several weeks he developed a samphire and onion bread made from buckwheat flour — one of his proudest creations.
He said: “The most challenging items were the bread, the fish and chips and the chocolate mousse. But they get the best comments — especially making a chocolate mousse dairy-free. It is made with coconut oil instead.”
His team didn’t announce the menu to avoid alienating those without dietary requirements.
He added: “One of my priorities was not to make it out as a fad. We didn’t want people to think I was doing this just to be different. I did this for real reasons and it fits into the hotel’s philo-sophy of health and wellbeing.
“We were subtle about it. But we are still a luxury hotel. If someone wants a béarnaise with their steak, we’ll do it for them.”