Gluten is the protein found in wheat and alternative grains like spelt, barley and rye. With many Sydneysiders declaring a sensitivity to the protein or the more serious coeliac disease, the city's restaurants are quickly adapting menu items to suit their needs and some are even tailored specifically for the problem.
Gluten intolerance sufferers are mostly diagnosed as adults, so they have all had a taste of the good stuff. When you've sampled the fluffiest, tastiest, most gluten-filled pizza in the world, you're hardly going to be impressed by a rock-hard buckwheat option with the same toppings, now are you? For this reason the best gluten-free dining is about alternative ingredients being themselves, rather than trying to emulate the off-limits protein.
It's across the road from Time Out's meaty, wheaty fave Porteño and Nourishing Quarter couldn't be further from the popular Argentinean joint. Vermicelli noodles, chia seeds and quinoa (best friend of the gluten intolerant) feature heavily and there is no meat in sight. Miss Chu, the self-proclaimed queen of rice paper rolls, should watch her back – the ‘Quarter's rolls ($13.50 for three) are tastier and the service is a helluva lot more smiley. The buckwheat noodle salad ($16.50) is a light and flavour-filled must, but the slightly soggy lemongrass vegetable dish is less appealing ($16.50).
Other gluten-free good times
Mad Spuds Café, 479 Crown St, Surry Hills 2010. (02 9698 8108 www.madspuds.com.au).
Healthy Feast Bakery, 157 Norton St, Leichardt 2040. (02 9569 6326 www.healthyfeast.com.au).