Imagine walking into a restaurant where you could order a burger with a side of mozzarella dippers, sweet potato fries, bread-crumbed jalapeños or even a chocolate brownie ice-cream sundae, and know it was all going to be gluten free. Well, at The Bull and Bear in Barnstaple, gluten free is not a problem.
The sports bar is the sister restaurant of the also coeliac-friendly Custom House in Barnstaple, which offers a range of build-a-burger options, including gluten free buns. The Bull and Bear has set burgers on its menu, but each is as amazing as the other, with gluten free burger buns for all. The BCB is a favourite of mine, if you fancy a classic with bacon, gherkins and cheese. Or perhaps you'll go a little 'out there' there with the Big Kahuna - topped with pulled pork and grilled pineapple. Hungry? The Fat Matt or Double D offer twice the burger, each with its own awesome selection of toppings.
I've been to the Bull and Bear SO many times in the last few months, but it only suddenly occurred to me that I had never written a blog post on them! In the same way its easy to get caught up in reviewing new and exciting gluten free food, I sometimes forget about the staple gluten free products I just take for granted every day. The Bull and Bear is my favourite haunt, I love its laid-back vibe and the fact the food is just SO DAMN GOOD.
It's frill-free, fuss-free, food. American-inspired, the menu consists of burgers, nachos (sadly not gluten free), a few staples such as fried chicken or the chicken New Yorkers, and a whole load of fried sharers and appetisers which are simply amazing. The gluten free mozzarella sticks (pictured above) are my absolute favourite, but I also love the crispy cheese bites and the fried jalapeños. There is certainly great pleasure in finding food like this, which is so often out of bounds for coeliacs.
The burgers all come with a gluten free bun on request - just make sure you double check that some of the ingredients (for example, the Corona onions, or the nachos in the Texas Pete) are removed to make your burger completely gluten free. All of the sides: fries, lattice fries, sweet potato fries, coleslaw, chorizo beans, etc, are all gluten free too.
Owner Matt and the team have also been brilliant in coming up with gluten free desserts. Often you hear coeliacs shirk at the thought of another brownie - it's so often the go-to gluten free pudding - but this gluten free chocolate brownie is absolutely out of this world. Stacked in an ice-cream sundae it is even more heavenly - just make sure you go with a big appetite!
And when it comes to gluten free buffets, the Bull and Bear is awesome at this too. Pictured above is part of the spread we had for our Christmas party. As well as my own gluten free burger, I also got given a load of gluten free sides including 90% of those pictured above, and I was clearly told what I could eat.
If you're looking for gluten free restaurants in Barnstaple, you must pay the Bull and Bear a visit. In fact, you must also visit The Custom House, because they are both fantastic. The food is brilliant, whether you're gluten free, or a gluten eater. It's one of the best gluten free restaurants in North Devon! Matt has even sources some gluten free beer - but I can highly recommend the Old Mout cider they sell here, it's perfect on a summer day!
The Bull and Bear is situated in Mermaid Walk, Boutport Street, Barnstaple. Items are marked as gluten free on the menu, and you can easily discuss your requirements with the staff there - they have always been very helpful!