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There is a vague possibility that you will remember me writing about (or at least writing about writing about) Morgan Spurlock’s thought provoking film Super Size Me. If so, you will probably have guessed from the title that I am owning up to having eaten “under the golden arches”.

However, while I am pleased to say that the experience has left me with even less residual hankering for McFood, it was neither curiosity nor the sudden abandonment of my eating principles that drove me there. Instead, it was because I was up in Central London last night, taking the opportunity to spend some time with Tim, who was in town for a course. Tim, as part of maybe as many as 1 in 100 of the UK population, suffers from Coeliac disease (or celiac disease as it is sometimes spelt) and, according to his research, McD’s is one of the few places he can safely eat out.

I think it is a sad indictment of one of the most prestigious cities in the world that its most popular areas, around Leicester Square and the West End, could not yield any other safe options for ad hoc dining. The Wetherspoons pub we found almost got a rave review here, as their menu clearly noted suitable choices for the gluten-intolerant, but fell short because they were too busy and had no tables clear. Apart from that, the menus gave no information and enquiries at several places failed to give any assurance of food that wouldn’t poison Tim.

So, McDonalds it was. Next time I will do some extra research, or ask Tim to check with CoeliacUK (their report on eating out is in a members only section), or just have him come down to my house (where a delicious and gluten-free slow-cooked leek stew was dish of the day) rather than showing him the sights of town. Meanwhile, if the restaurants who had vacant tables could give a bit more thought to the information on their menus, perhaps they might find themselves with a few less empty seats.

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