Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Lunch at Starbucks!!

Despite the warnings of snow, we had to go the other Saturday. It was somewhere we knew well, so we were fairly confident that we could get something to eat. But, following a tip-off on Twitter, that week, we headed to Starbucks.

Now there's been a lot of bad press about Starbucks recently, and I'm not saying I agree with the way they've been running their business in the UK, but I am a huge fan of their coffee (not to everyone's taste, I know) and, as of yet, they're the only cafe on the street that we visited that day, that sold a cake that was both gluten and dairy free.

My 'usual'
This time, though, we were not in search of cake, but something a little more substantial. 

I could have had their Ham Hock Box. I've had it before, and it's not bad, but half the salad contains Edamame beans, which are basically soya. As I can't eat soya, I don't see the point in spending the money on a box that I'm gonna fish half the contents out!

No, what I was after, was their Tuna Nicoise Roll - made with Genius gluten free bread. It turns out that it's also dairy free. It does, however, contain egg, mustard and fish. It also carries a warning about nuts. The bread roll doesn't actually contain any nuts, but it does contains seeds which may have been packaged in a facility handling nuts. And here it is:

My pre-packaged roll

I have to say, it didn't look all that big, and the contents weren't exactly oozing out the sides, but the roll did keep me going all afternoon... with the help of half a pack of ready salted crisps, that is!! The roll was a little dry and crumbly, but, funnily enough, still tasted quite nice. 

Baby's lunch consisted of a Bacon Butty. These are sold cold, in sealed packets, but Starbuck's staff can heat them up for you, if you like. We opted for Baby's to be heated, but, stupidly, I didn't check to see that they avoided cross-contamination in the grill. The Hub thinks they line it with something. You might want to err on the safe and side and check, just to be sure.

Baby's Bacon Butty
Baby washed her lunch down with water (she could have had juice) and I had my usual - black decaffeinated Americano. 

One mistake we didn't make today, though, was to offer Baby a soya milk Babyccino. No, we stay away from those now, having made that mistake in the past. I know they clean the frothing spout - but with the same cloth that they've been using all day (by the looks of it) which will of course have picked up milk proteins, along the way. I'm guessing that's how Baby ended up with a tummy ache and sore bum anyway. Baby can, however, have a cup of their soya milk (un-frothed) as that has never caused her a problem.

So, we came, we ate, and we didn't have any nasty consequences. Result!! Well done, Starbucks!! Come on the rest of you!! It's not that difficult, surely??

My dream lunch would be a gluten and dairy free BLT with a Kara hot chocolate. Anyone out there listening??

What would you like to see on the menu of our high street cafes??

P.S. A little note to all those dairy free peeps who'd like a bite of this - from time to time the menu changes slightly and the gluten free option reverts back to cheese and pickle, so just be warned!!

Update November 2013:
Starbucks have discontinued the chocolate and hazelnut loaf. I'm very disappointed. We also no longer let 'Baby' have the bacon butty - she began reacting, probably due to the fact that they use the same equipment to heat sandwiches etc. leading to cross-contamination. In fact, I now believe that 'Baby' is sensitive even to the tiny particles of steamed milk floating around in the air. If I nip in for a quick takeaway she's fine. If I linger, a tummy ache follows an hour or so later :(

Update June 2014:
The gluten free rolls are now discontinued. Starbucks have replaced these with 'Veggie Good Wraps'. They are not made with dairy, but may be unsuitable, due to the place where they're made. See packets for further details.

At present, It isn't possible for us to eat out at Starbucks. I gather their fruit bread is dairy free (without the butter), but I can't eat that and 'Baby' won't - shes' not a fan of dried fruit.

Update: 2016
Good news!! Starbucks now offer coconut milk as well as soya milk, as an alternative to cow's milk. However you'll have to pay extra for it! Also, be aware that if you're allergic to milk and are sensitive to traces, having a frothy drink would be tricky unless they can guarantee making it using a steam arm that is only used for dairy free drinks - an explanation of this can be found here

Other posts about Eating Out:


  1. I'm still trying to track down the elusive falafel panini which apparently I can have as it's Vegan. Glad you found something good to eat :)

  2. Y'know, it did cross my mind as I was writing this post, that it was all a bit carnivorous and I was wondering what on earth there would be on the menu for Vegans, like yourself.

    Must admit I've not seen that panini available anywhere either, although to be fair, my main focus is on the gluten free option, otherwise it's a non-starter for me!