We all know there are many many places that don't treat us well, and I would be here all day if I listed them. Besides - who wants to know where not to go?
I'm going to make one particular exception here as I have been asked about gluten free afternoon teas a fair bit recently, and I've had two very different experiences, and one helps shed light upon the other.
Let's start with the negative. Do not go to the gluten free tea at the Ritz. Unless you like being really disappointed. And being treated like a second class citizen. And feeling nauseous afterwards. Well, it was more greasy-mouthed. Either way. It was unpleasant. Don't go.
The "sandwiches" were not the delicate sandwiches of ye olde afternoon teas past; more tiny bits of gf bread with great lumps of (low quality) ingredients plopped on top, the ratio entirely off and quite frankly, bizarre. Who on earth wants to eat six slices of cheddar on top of one little piece of buttered bread? Or indeed, what seemed like an entire cucumber? Or several pieces of dry chicken on top, with no other ingredients to speak of?
It was appalling stuff - you would make far far better in your own home. In fact, after trying each one, odd dissapointment after odd disappointment, I stopped eating them. Not because I wasn't hungry, but because it was actively unpleasant to eat. Especially the plain (low quality) mound of smoked salmon on top of that poor defenseless scrap of bread. Please sir, may I have a lemon? A tiny bit of dill? A daub of cream cheese for the lady? Anything more than three measely ingredients?
There was the distinct air of "Aren't you lucky that we even have anything to feed you". Dreadful. My sister's vegetarian option contained lovely little sandwiches. And when she was presented with a selection of cakes I received...... A fruit plate! Oh yes, a fruit plate! Lucky me. How delightful to watch my sister stuffing scones with clotted cream into her mouth (sorry sis, just jealous) while I poke at my drab (unripe, tasteless) melon slices. Hey, I did get a macaroon (medicocre) and a cake (dry and tasteless). Again, lucky me.
It really is the epitome of what I detest in the restaurant world, when dealing with us gluten free folk. I was paying the £50 like everyone else, but I'm supposed to put up with merely "something I can eat". Yeah, that's fine on a plane. But not at the Ritz. I mean come on guys, seriously? Buck up.
And on another note; the service had the outward appearance of being smart, but was actually flawed - I was interrupted as I greeted my sister, and when I gave her her birthday gift. And they loitered. And were often confused about what food was mine and what was hers . In case you didn't have enough reasons not to go. It was a special occasion, thoroughly disappointing, and I hope that all of you avoid this fate.
Instead - may I suggest you go to Claridges!