Chinese is one of the things that I, and I’m sure many coeliacs miss being able to eat safely. I had heard so many good things about Naturally Chinese in Surbiton, a Chinese restaurant that are accredited by Coeliac U.K. that they had been on my ‘must visit’ list for a long time.
The problem with it being located in Surbiton is that I live in Milton Keynes, so far from convenient! However, yesterday my brother and Paul had tickets for the NFL evening game in London at Twickenham. When I realised that it wasn’t too far from Surbiton it seemed like a good idea to turn it into a night away. The restaurant was about a five minute walk from Surbiton station so was actually quite easy from there. Surbiton can be reached by train from Vauxhall or Waterloo in just over twenty minutes so it’s not too bad if you’re in London to head out this way.
I booked a table for 2pm as I wasn’t sure how busy it would be on a Sunday but it was far from full. There were three other parties in there but I’m sure it can easily fill up in the evening, which may be better to give it a bit more atmosphere.
I had noted that I was Coeliac when I booked and I was handed the gluten free menu when I entered without having to prompt them again.
The gluten free menu is vast and includes two gluten free beers too for all the beer fans out there! As I was so excited to be eating Chinese, a cuisine my boyfriend isn’t a huge fan of he let me pick the dishes I wanted! This is where the problem begins as there is so much choice.
I opted for three appetisers, two main dishes and some rice for the two of us. These dishes were pan fried ribs, crispy squid, spring rolls, sweet and sour chicken, crispy chilli beef and special fried rice. I was also contemplating dumplings, smoked chicken and crispy duck. As the duck pancakes came with lettuce leaves rather than wraps I missed them out, otherwise they would have been a definite treat!
I absolutely love squid and it will always be a top choice if it’s available. So will anything fried or that comes with batter it seems since it’s all become pretty much off limits! I really enjoyed the squid but I prefer the squid starter from Pho, which comes with more salt, chilli and lime so just seems to pack more of a punch than the one from Naturally Chinese.
Pan Fried Ribs
Spare ribs were always part of my Chinese order growing up so I miss being able to have them as a takeaway option! I loved this appetiser and would definitely order it again.
I was gutted when spring rolls were removed from the gluten free menu at Pho so was delighted to see them on the menu yesterday. They were crispy and delicious and everything a spring roll should be, but they would have been better with some sort of dip. If you’re missing spring rolls definitely head to Naturally Chinese for some!
Crispy Chilli Beef
This was the dish I ordered for Paul more than myself but ended up being the highlight. It really felt like I was tucking into a Chinese dish that I’d been craving with the sweet and spicy chilli beef that certainly had a bit of a kick.
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Always part of my order is sweet and sour chicken. You know pretty much what you’re getting but can’t be missed! It was just so wonderful to be able to safely tuck into this kind of dish with no worry.
Special Fried Rice
Being coeliac it’s a good thing I love rice! The special fried rice came with just prawns and peas so a bit light of ingredients for what I remember for special fried rice but great none the less!
The whole meal was delicious and I was just so happy to be eating Chinese! Given that I eat at Pho frequently I think next time I’d order dumplings over the squid. The meal would have benefitted from some dip or sauce somewhere along the line as it was quite dry but on the other hand that was good in the sense that the meal wasnt greasy or heavy. I was too full though to contemplate dessert.
Prices aren’t cheap, it came to £56 for these five dishes, a beer and a lemonade but as a treat and a safe gluten free Chinese meal I’m willing to pay it. I would happily eat at Naturally Chinese again if I ever happen to find myself near Surbiton. I would recommend this restaurant to any coeliac missing Chinese as it has definitely satisfied my craving!
The Sightseeing Coeliac x