eating out

A gluten free meal at the Boathouse Restaurant in Instow, North Devon.


Exciting combinations, a wealth of choice and a beautiful, coastal setting await when you dine at the Boathouse in Instow, North Devon.

I’ve always heard good things about this beautiful, if a little pricey, restaurant, and when a group of us went for my friend Kay’s birthday, it was the perfect chance to test their gluten free offerings.

At first I felt a little overwhelmed – having been given a menu, I then looked around me to see at least three giant blackboards covered in the day’s specials!

It was great to have the choice, but as nothing was labelled gluten free or not, it was difficult to know where to start!

I asked the waitress what I could eat, and was told to pick a few options and she would check with the chef.

I guess this was probably a sensible way to do it, but a little annoying as there is nothing worse than choosing something you want and then they say ‘no can do’.

Luckily the starter I was pining for – smoked trout wrapped in parma ham – was GF, so I delightfully went for it and waited with anticipation.

My smoked trout and parma ham starter.

My smoked trout and parma ham starter.

As it turned out, I ended up waiting longer than expected, because even though I had been told it was gluten free, my meal still came out with bread on it and had to be remade!

However, I was pleased that instead of just taking the bread off, the staff were extremely helpful (it was a rather large group of us!) and remade the whole thing.

And, I can honestly say it was worth the wait – it was absolutely delicious!

It was also a rather large starter – everyone’s looked huge – so definitely value for money there.

After the amazing start to the meal, I had high hopes for my main course – Mariner’s Chicken with chips and peas.

Confusingly, despite the name, the chicken bore no resemblance to anything fishy, and was infact a chicken breast wrapped in bacon, with a creamy mushroom sauce.

Mariners Chicken for my main

Mariners Chicken for my main

It was, however, extremely filling and delicious. The chicken was cooked to perfection – tender and moist, and the smoky bacon complimented the rich, creamy sauce perfectly.

I was absolutely stuffed after my meal and unable to manage a dessert. I spied a few options on the menu which looked like they may have been gluten free, but didn’t ask as I couldn’t even think about eating any more!

It’s not the cheapest restaurant in the world, but the prices weren’t unreasonable for such a high standard of food, and noone had any faults with their meals at all – Steve’s steak looked absolutely beautiful.

I would definitely recommend the Boathouse for a special occasion or a romantic meal in a beautiful setting.

The staff are friendly, the food is fantastic and they seemed pretty clued up on what I could and couldn’t eat, so if you’re ever in the area, definitely check it out!

For more info on the Boathouse or to view their menus click here.

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