Those of you that follow me regularly know that I have spent a fair amount of time in Bermuda since marrying my other half fifteen years ago – who happens to be Bermudian. As my in-laws and many of our friends are still there we go back pretty regularly. What many people do not realize is how close Bermuda is to New York City – just an hour and a half or so and you are there – easy peasy. It makes for a great long weekend when you feel like something different and nest of all you pre-clear U.S. customs in Bermuda so you arrive back in the States as a domestic flight.
Over the years I have been amazed at how gluten-free has gained momentum in Bermuda. When I first started visiting Bermuda gluten-free options were few and far between – I actually used bring snacks and nibbles with me. When dining out I would carefully have to research in advance where I would have few issues finding something to eat. Thankfully my mother-in-law is a great cook so we would eat in vs. going out. You are probably saying but Michael, Bermuda is known for great fish and shellfish which are good gluten-free options. Yes, this is true but I am also hyper-allergic to all seafood and since the allergy happened later in life, I do not eat any fish (which can also be prepared with or in the vicinity of shellfish. Well, my how things have changed.
Gluten-free options are widely available now and I have even compiled a Gluten-Free Guide to Bermuda which I am updating with this post.
Last month I had the pleasure of finding a great new restaurant that caters to both gluten-free and Vegan diners as well as visiting some old standbys. Let’s start with the new…
Elbow Beach Hotel (a Mandarin Oriental hotel) Lido restaurant really wowed me this trip. We decided to head over with some friends for dinner one evening and I was most definitely not disappointed. From the moment I mentioned to our server that I had Celiac disease and asked if they had any gluten-free items and he responded Why yes, we have a gluten-free menu and handed it to me it was one of those great gluten-free moments when you hear angels singing in the background.
First, the location of the Lido is stunning. Perched just above the rocks you feel like you are eating on the beach but without having to actually sit outside (remember it was December, and while still warm during the day, evenings are a bit cooler). Second, the service is impeccable but not intrusive – it just happens in the background as it should and from start to finish you are well looked after. Servers were extremely knowledgeable and offered great recommendations. Third, they mix a mean cocktail and have an extensive wine list (which we of course partook of and enjoyed a great Umbrian red). While all of those are important, the food is really where the Lido shines.
The gluten-free menu offers a range of options for a variety of appetites, tastes, and meal preferences (breakfast, lunch and dinner). The gluten-free menu is not on the restaurant’s website but the Mandarin Oriental was kind enough to source one for me and send it along.
I started with the Bib lettuce salad with caramelized walnuts, orange segments, shredded red radishes in a yogurt dressing and it was huge (and delicious). Everything in the salad was fresh and crisp and the addition of the orange segments gave a nice acidic kick to the salad and played perfectly against the sweet nuttiness of the walnuts and spice from the radishes. The dressing balanced out the flavors without overpowering – just giving it a light creamy finish.
I knew exactly what I would be having for my main course as soon as I looked at the menu – the Veal Scallopine. The veal was perfectly tender and the sauce was just what you would expect – a perfectly balanced lemon butter sauce with a subtle saltiness coming through from the capers that was rounded out with a hint of chives. The veal came with wilted spinach and roasted new potatoes both of which were prepared simply and perfectly complimented the veal.
My favorite part of any meal is dessert and the gluten-free options made for a hard choice. After going back and forth, I finally landed on the Fruit Mousse served with miniature fruit on the side. The mousse was in a word decadent. Rich and creamy but still light and airy. Best of all it was not a heavy finish to the large meal.
The main menu also offers non-gluten-free diners a selection of options and those that were not gluten-free also raved about the food. There is truly something for everyone.
If you are in Bermuda do not miss a visit to the Lido at Elbow Beach – you will not be disappointed. I know that I am looking forward to going back on my next visit.