Eating Out: TGI Friday’s x2

LOCATION: Westfield Stratford City, London

You all know that I didn’t have the best TGI’s experience the last time I blogged about them. I was given onion rings when I’d asked for rice, received no apology and I’m 99% sure they just gave me it all back on the same plate.

We decided to give it another try when we were in London last month. The waiter was really helpful and even said that his uncle has coeliac so he understood the importance of the diet. I asked if I could order two items from the kids menu since it’s got much better choice and it’s a lot cheaper! So I ordered chicken tenders and a hotdog with no bun, both with chips and corn on the cob, and continued enjoying my cocktail (let’s not lie, the best reason to go to TGI’s is for the cocktail menu.)

A different waitress brought the food over, and laughed when she put my food down in front of me. I didn’t think that was very professional, she clearly thought it was funny that I was 21 and eating off the kids menu. After she left, I looked down and realised that my chicken tenders – which was advertised on the gluten free menu as “chargrilled chicken breast” – was in breadcrumbs. When the waiter came to check on us I pointed this out. He apologised and went back to the kitchen, reappearing less than a minute later with the correct item. We think that the waitress just picked up the wrong plate since the waiter was able to bring the right one back so quickly.

Everything was going well, I’d eaten my chicken and my hotdog, and was almost finished the chips that were on the same plate as the hotdog, when I picked up a chip and noticed a big lump of breadcrumbs underneath the chips. Major danger signs started flashing. When the waiter came to get our plates, we made it clear that we weren’t complaining, but that I was probably going to be ill from the food and that the chefs needed to be more careful in future. If you’re advertising that your food is gluten free, then you need to take all the precautions to make sure it is.

The waiter was really apologetic, and went to speak to the kitchen about it. He took my food off the bill but we’re still unlikely to ever eat at TGI’s again. Twice I have been given the wrong item on my plate and then contaminated due to carelessness. I’m not willing to risk it any more. Maybe their staff just needs better training on gluten free dining but until things change I won’t be back.

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