Express's strictly anonymous and hard-to-please food reviewer recently ventured west to try a gluten-free pizza spot he was recommended - but it was another menu item that he ended up going 'Off the Rails' for.
Here's what Harry Smiles had to say...
Thanks to some lovely people’s recommendations, I recently found out that Off the Rails serves gluten-free pizzas and that they are very yummy – although some did mention that they had been warned the team cannot guarantee the absence of cross-contamination, a warning repeated on their menu.
Ever the adventurer, I recently took my little family for a trip out west to sample the pizza I had heard such good things about, to check whether their reputation was warranted.
I am sorry to say, I can only partly agree with the reviews of my fellow gluten intolerants and coeliacs.
Pictured: The décor gave me all the cosy feelings
It will not surprise you that I went for the cheesiest pizza on the menu, with mozzarella, goat’s cheese and parmesan.
I cannot fault the taste of the pizza for one thing, the tomato sauce was delicious and complemented the cheese, which was equally scrumptious, to perfection. It was the perfect blend of flavours.
However, I was not as satisfied by the dough. It was chewy and crispy at the same time and seemed to glue my teeth together so much so that for a second, I thought it was a trick à la Willy Wonka.
Although I enjoyed the taste of the dough, its texture really wasn’t that appealing.
Pictured: Lovely toppings, disappointing dough.
I would have blamed it on the gluten-free dough (if you have ever tried making anything with gluten-free flour, you know how much it changes the texture of cakes, breads and anything else it touches), but my dining partner, who had the ‘regular’ version, made the same kind of comment.
I cannot say too much on the starters - I wanted to save myself for the pizza, so I only ordered some Nocellara Olives… and sampled my dining partner’s Calamares, which were possibly the best I have ever had!
Before you start throwing breadcrumbs at me, I am fully aware they were not gluten-free, but as I only have an intolerance to gluten I can, from time to time, have a little gluten-loaded treat… and the Calamares were more than worth it.
As for the olives, they were delicious, juicy and fleshy - yet, I still haven’t gotten over the fact I paid £4.50 for just about a dozen of them.
Pictured: A bit pricey for my taste
Having seen a chocolate brownie on the menu, I couldn’t pass the opportunity and I wasn’t disappointed.
Some brownies can be a bit sickly, and you can never quite finish them but this one had the balance just right.
The taste was on point, and I could have easily been fooled to believe it was not gluten-free.
Remember what I said about gluten-free flour affecting the texture of the food? Well, it certainly didn’t affect the brownie and after a couple of bites, I thought best to check that there hadn’t been a mix-up and was genuinely surprised to hear I was indeed eating a gluten-free brownie.
Pictured: The perfect GF brownie
All in all, we had a lovely evening. I loved the cosy feeling of the restaurant.
The mismatched furniture, the little candles and fuzzy blankets make you feel like you are in someone’s home, and it was just what we needed on a cold, blustery evening. The team couldn’t have been more welcoming, and they went out of their way to make sure we had as lovely an evening as possible.
Whilst I wasn’t entirely happy with my pizza, I’ll definitely go Off the Rails again at some point to try the rest of their menu, they had several gluten-free options and given the standard of their brownie, I can’t wait to try the rest!
This review first appeared in Connect Magazine. You can read all previous editions of Connect for free HERE.