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Papa's Barn First Gluten Free Day

By 20:07 , ,

In the small village of Aylesford of which I have called my home for the last 20 odd years, we have been privileged enough to live near the greatest fish and chip shop I have ever been to. No, we are not a seaside town but we can clearly do chips right! Papa's Barn have been a family favourite since forever, no chip shop truly compares. I had many a dinner with my late Grandad there, so although it isn't the original building, the layout is the practically the same so it brings back so many happy memories every time I go there. I don't think James and I would still be together if he didn't agree that the only place to get fish and chips is Papa's!

When I was told that all my problems were caused by gluten it was hard to say goodbye to their battered cod and chips and the little rolls you get on the side (which one to pick from the basket was truly the most exciting thing for me as a 5 year old!). Thankfully, I had a friend who worked there for a while who told me the grilled chicken and chips should be gluten free, just to eat at my own risk. So, I don't miss out too much but who really wants to be eating grilled chicken, chips and salad when everyone else has fish or battered sausages! Not me!

So when on Good Friday we saw a flyer for a completely gluten free day, we booked a table there and then. My four years without a real Papa's fish and chips was going to come to an end. It has been literally all I have thought about for weeks!

When we arrived we were seated and offered the standard Papa's roll, of which they were all gluten free. I picked what I believe to be the Schar gluten free roll (found in supermarkets freezer aisle) which is one of my favourites. I then took a look at the menu to find it the most extensive gluten free fish and chip shop menu I have seen. Many local places do a day of gluten free fish (although I have never tried them) but at Papa's I could choose from a variety of fish, scampi, sausage (including battered), chicken, steak and so much more. I could even have a gluten free lager if I wished. I have not seen a gluten free day so thought through and as it was their first time, I was mightily impressed.

In the end I opted for cod and chip as I really couldn't have anything else without regretting my decision of missing out on a Papa's battered cod! When it arrived the batter was so crisp and even on the fish, the crunch and flavour was incredible! The cod just fell apart and melted in the mouth and the batter was perfectly cooked with no odd aftertaste or apparent 'gluten freeness'. We ordered mushy peas and a curry sauce as sides and these were both absolutely delicious too! I don't think we have ever had such a quiet meal, barely two words were spoke as I was in gluten free heaven!

James said that he wished they would do it more as he actually preferred the batter, who would have thought! He also said it doesn't hold the oil the way the typical batter does so it gives it a crispier fresher taste. The chips were the typical award wining high standard from Papa's. If you have never tried Papa's chips, it is something I would really recommend you do! There is no way to describe how fluffy they are in the middle yet how crisp they are on the outside. They are by far the best chips around, James and I even considered how close we would be to them when we were house hunting!

As I was a little piggy and ate 99% of my dinner, I couldn't fit in dessert but there was quite a bit to choose from, from brownies and creme brûlée to banana split and sorbets. Every last detail had been thought about. If and when they do it again, I will certainly be leaving room for dessert!

Overall, I left Papas one happy lady and really cannot wait for the next time they a gluten free day! I did notice that there is a little warning on the menu to let you know that everything is gluten free but due to it being a typical gluten kitchen they cannot 100% guarantee this. If you are familiar to Papa's you know their hygiene appears to be second to none, so I had no fear of equipment being contaminated and I would more than happily eat there again and again and again!

Hannah xx

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