I hate eating out.
When people ask me if I want to get some food, I immediately suggest grabbing a couple of drinks instead and swiftly change the subject.
Because I can’t deal with the eye rolls and huge sighs when I spend a good 30 minutes staring at a menu only to realise that the only thing I can eat that’s vegan and gluten-free is a bowl of leaves, a few tomatoes, some cucumber and a battered half of avocado WITHOUT the dressing. Total = £15.00
I’m not one to moan about money – I like a slap-up lavish meal as much as the next person – but I’m not prepared to pay that much for something I could a) make myself at home for £4 and b) won’t fill me up.
So now you can see why I used to avoid restaurants like the plague.
BUT that all changed when I stumbled across Stingray in Tufnell Park, North London.
This stunning little gem – owned by Ash and his uncle – is situated on the main road running from Kentish Town to Archway (you can’t miss it – it’s bright red) and prides itself on its friendly staff, delicious Italian cuisine and its incredible gluten-free and vegan options.
Now, being a coeliac, I’m always a little bit skeptical when I dine at establishments that aren’t solely gluten-free because of the possibility of cross-contamination, but Ash assured me that every gluten-free dish made in his restaurant is prepared and cooked in a separate part of the kitchen.
My condition is so serious that I’ve been admitted to hospital numerous times in the past because of cross-contamination. But I trusted Ash and I can honestly say, hand on heart, I’ve never got sick from his food.
I’ve eaten at Stingray a billion times – it’s my go-to place when I want to eat out or fancy a takeaway – and every single time I leave full up, satisfied and amazed at how much food I’ve just shovelled down my throat – especially as the portions are huge.
Usually I’m so eager to stuff my face that I forget to take any pictures until I’m mid-way through my meal, but last weekend I paid a visit to Stingray’s and actually managed to get some photographic evidence of the super yummy things they have on offer.
For a starter I had potato skins. They usually come with three dips – sour cream, guacamole and salsa – but I asked for them without the sides as they’re not vegan.
And then I made my own gluten-free pizza. The base is vegan – no egg whites or milk – and so is the cheese (really creamy and delicious). For my topping I went went for mushroom, pineapple, sweetcorn, sundried tomatoes and basil. AND I ATE THE WHOLE THING!!!!
They have so many different pizzas on offer, as well as pasta dishes, but Ash said almost everything on the menu can be made vegan – providing you ask, of course.
The staff are all well-informed and know the menu like the backs of their hand, so they can point you in the right direction if you have any allergens.
Aside from the fact Stingray has amazing food that I can ACTUALLY eat, the dishes are reasonably priced and the restaurant is quaint and cosy – perfect for dining with friends, a partner or as a big group.
If you’re in the area and fancy a vegan meal – or you’re with someone who is vegan and/or gluten-free – definitely give Stingray a go and make sure you tell Ash I sent you! Check out their website here: http://www.stingraycafe.co.uk/ where you can see their menu and address.
Disclaimer: Stingray didn’t ask me to write this review (they don’t even know I’m doing it). Everything I’ve written here is based on my own experience – I just wanted to share it with you guys because I know how hard it is to find good vegan restaurants that cater for coeliacs in the city.
If you want to hear more about my battle with coeliac disease, I’ve written a separate post on it here.