Saturday, July 18, 2015

Disappointing Lunch at Harrods

Harrod's department store in London is nothing short of amazing.  From the grandiose Egyptian Escalator to the glittering jewels and haute fashions (4000 British Pounds for a hat!), the place is practically a museum in and of itself.  Up to 300,000 people visit the store on peak days.  Fortunately for me, our visit was NOT on one of the peak days.

Egyptian Theming at Harrod's Department Store

There are a number of restaurants inside Harrod's, as well as a "food hall" selling gourmet cheeses, pastries, caviar, and charcuterie (but the food hall is primarily designed for take-away, with no seating available.) Restaurants include a Disney restaurant for kids, a steakhouse, pizza, Chinese, a burger joint aimed at teens, and sushi.
Food Hall goodies.  NOT gluten free.  Sigh.

Despite the variety, I hadn't planned on eating at Harrod's, as my internet research only turned up one thing known to be gluten free -- Afternoon Tea at The Georgian, one of Harrod's most elegant restaurants.  So I planned our Harrod's excursion to happen away from meal times.

Life gets in the way, however, and when the book store near the British Museum proved a disappointment to the kids, they begged to be taken back to Harrod's to peruse the bookstore there.  That took us in the opposite direction from where we planned to eat lunch, and thus we ended up hungry at Harrod's.

The Terrace Restaurant was near where we happened to be standing when our stomachs made themselves known, and I asked the maitre d' if they had any gluten free selections.  He asked the chef, and came back to tell me that the steak and fish were both GF as is, and that he could work with me if I was interested in something else.  So I sat down, and a waitress took my order; and here is where I made my big mistake.  I DIDN'T mention that I was GF when I told her my order (though a few minutes later, my husband said I was GF and asked if there was GF bread -- there was! --  so she did know I was gluten intolerant.)

A little while later, the steak arrives with little fried crispies on top.  I ask the waitress to double check for me that these really are gluten free.  She assures me that it's "just potatoes."  I insist again that she double check with the chef.

Sure enough, they have to remake my steak and again I end up getting my meal just as everyone else is finishing up.  On the plus side, the lemon, mint, and cucumber drink I ordered was fantastic.

The terrace, at The Terrace, is beautiful.  Unfortunately we sat inside.  There was plenty of seating on the terrace, but the children were whiny and wanted to eat inside, even though the interior seating was rather boring.  All in all, I found the menu to be limited, the gluten free awareness shaky, and the price too expensive.  The price for the five of us came to $239 American dollars.  Yikes.


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