Gluten free fish and chips at Starfish, Barnstaple

Gluten free fish and chips at Starfish, Barnstaple

UPDATE DEC 2014: Since my last visit, Starfish has come under new ownership. And the good news? They now do gluten free EVERY NIGHT! I had a gluten free cod and chips from there recently and it was delicious. Crispy batter, perfectly crunchy chips – I can thoroughly recommend them!

Original post

When I posted this photo on social media last night, it caused a lot of excitement among the gluten free community. But possibly not as much excitement as it caused me when I discovered the new fish and chip shop in town, Starfish, was going to be offering gluten free options…every Tuesday.

Yes, that's right, it's ALL gluten free!
Yes, that’s right, it’s ALL gluten free!

Starfish, which unfortunately does not have a website I can link to, caused a lot of interest when it first appeared on The Square in Barnstaple, North Devon. This was no regular chippy, oh no. With its stylish interior and branding, including quotes from Oscar Wilde brandished across the wall, this was a step up for our sometimes a little backwards town. Starfish was clean and classy, something a little bit fresh, yet offering decent, English grub.

And so when one of the sales reps at my paper came rushing down with an advert stating Starfish would be offering gluten free nights on a Tuesday, well I was first in the queue. Braving the rain, I rushed down there and quizzed them on their offerings.

It would seem they have a whole range for both eat in and takeaway – and they keep a fryer separate to ensure that nothing is contaminated. I had a browse of the menu, and all the options marked with a cross below will be available from next Tuesday (Jan  21, 2014) gluten free:

X marks the spot for gluten free customers!
X marks the spot for gluten free customers!

Being a newbie on the fish and chip scene, I asked what I should go for, and opted in the end for a regular cod and chips – a good starting point – with some mushy peas on the side. I was also told Starfish have sourced gluten free burgers, and will be offering gluten free bread rolls that have been made in the town.

Dessert wise, there are two options on the restaurant menu – chocolate Sundae or pineapple fritters, though they are hoping to add another option. It seems they have really thought through what they can offer those with coeliac disease, and I think it’s a move which will pay off in a fast-growing market.

After browsing through the menu my meal was ready and I hastily sped through the door, eager to get the wrapping off and see what surprises were in store. It was a pleasing sight – the portions were generous and it had just the right amount of salt. The fish looked golden and crispy, and the chips were that brilliant consistency where they’re slightly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.


The fish itself was beautiful – a delicate flesh with a crispy, crunchy batter. Every bite was satisfying, and I really enjoyed my fish and chip experience. Unfortunately, the portions were so generous I only managed just over half of mine – even PT Steve was defeated three-quarters of the way through his portion – a rare sight!

If I’m honest, I don’t think I’m the sort of person that will be visiting the chippy every week – after eating such a clean, unprocessed diet for so long (one of the benefits of having coeliac disease!) I find it hard to eat heavily processed foods such as this. However for a treat, this will be the perfect end to what’s normally a busy deadline day. I can just see myself swinging by on the way home and grabbing something quick for those rare occasions where I simply cannot be bothered to cook.

If you miss fish and chips, you simply must get to Starfish. There is no excuse not to – their range is impressive and their knowledge is brilliant – get down there or miss out!



  1. Katie Albury
    January 18, 2014 / 12:41 This has to be the best THE best news I’ve heard this year! Gluten free fish and chips from a real fish and chip shop sounds amazing! But I know what you mean…if all the fast food chains started doing GF versions, I can’t say I’d be too happy as I quite like the fact that I have a really good clean diet and wouldn’t want any temptations to ruin that! It’s the one good thing about being GF, but it is lovely to have a little more choice. More GF sandwiches on the go would be good enough for me!

    Great post! 🙂
    Hope you have a great weekend!
    Katie x

  2. kelvin
    January 21, 2014 / 18:34

    Don’t forget that (local business, not chain) Pilton Fryer chippy does gluten free on Mondays.

    • Sarah H (GF Blogger)
      January 21, 2014 / 18:35

      Hi Kelvin, I have heard this but am yet to try it! Hoping to test it out this year and will blog about it when I do 🙂

  3. Bob Squire
    April 30, 2014 / 06:54

    We had lunch at the Starfish yesterday, it was excellent, best fish, chips and mushy peas ever. The owners were very professional and giving great service. Wine was a little strong ( 14% ABV ) but very drinkable. Well worth the journey from Exeter.

  4. Mrs B
    July 1, 2014 / 12:57

    The Pilton Fryer has a gluten free night on a Monday and has done for years. My daughter is a very sensitive coeliac and has never been remotely poorly here. On a Monday we all go GF because it tastes lots nicer than the wheat batter. Wonderfully scrumptious chips too :0)

  5. John Collins
    August 12, 2014 / 21:36

    Most awful fish and chips ever! Over the years, I have learned how best to get fresh F&C by never ordering in advance so not to get your freshly cooked food spoiled by being kept warm! I arrived and asked about their gluten free batter ingredients which they showed me willingly (but not my wife when she phoned earlier as they said they were too busy!!). So far so good. I ordered freshly cooked cod (no Haddock available) gluten free and Plaice (not gluten free); not unreasonably assuming would be at least 15 minutes to wait. However,, was advised 10 mins max?? I should have gone with my gut instinct as it usually takes longer – Very fishy!! When I got home, the food can best be described as cooked many hours earlier and reheated in microwave! Overcooked, soggy, tasteless. Awful! Never again. Beware!!,

    • paul
      August 17, 2014 / 13:44

      Hi John
      my name is Paul we bought the starfish on 14th aug 2 days after your visit .We have been in the business for a lot of years and completely agree with your comments .We have Changed so much including useing fresh fish we get delivered over night from either Scotland or Fleetwood from our old suppliers . We will be doing gluton free 6 days a week mon-sat inclusive .please come down and see the differance . i won best fryer of the year for 3 years in a row also landladys best fish and chip shop in blackpool award also for 3 years along with other awards from the industry , In a nutshell we know what were doing. Come down give us a try and if you dont agree our food is a lot better than the last owners i will refund your money.Thats how confident we are ,,regards Paul & Marsha

  6. paul
    August 17, 2014 / 13:31

    As from 14th AUG 2014 starfish has new owners. ,Paul & Marsha who have been in the fish and chip business for a number of years owning and running a very busy fish and chip shop in Blackpool .Im sure every Coeliac will be please to hear you dont have to wait until tuesdays for fish & chips as we will be making Gluton free fish and chips 6 days a week so when your ready come and and meet Paul & Marsha and there team and have your fish & chips whenever you want them .

    • Sarah H (GF Blogger)
      August 17, 2014 / 19:16

      Hi Paul and Marsha – this is great news! I look forward to popping in to say hello at some point 🙂

    • Sarah H (GF Blogger)
      November 30, 2014 / 22:46

      Hi Paul and Marsha – I visited last week and my fish and chips were absolutely delicious! I have put a little update on the post above – do you have a Facebook page? Thanks, Sarah

  7. Pingback: My gluten free 2014 highlights- and what’s to come in 2015 | Gluten Free Blogger

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