You’ve been online. You’ve found a match. It’s looking good so you decide to arrange a date. This would be the moment I would start to get nervous, not because it’s the first time we’d be meeting, oh no. I’d be nervous because this would be the moment I would have to share my list of what I feel are awkward dietary restrictions.
It’s not uncommon to have food intolerances or allergies and although in the past it’s not something I would have shouted about.
“These days a number of restaurants have really stepped up to the mark and started to recognise the need to provide a menu suitable for all types of eaters.”
But when someone like me comes along with the following list: Halal, gluten free, dairy free (cow’s milk), non-alcoholic, it does limit the options drastically. For anyone in Manchester, you need not worry, there are many eateries fighting to fulfill those requests. In my experience, you won’t find a place more perfect than Dough.
Nestled in the heart of the super trendy Northern Quarter, accessible by all means of transport, this simple pizza kitchen is a first date dream dinner option. Housed in a beautiful period building, the furnishings are simple and modern, nothing too fussy or extravagant. Candles flicker softly on each table creating a warm intimate glow and the restaurants colour of choice is the rich red colour of love. A popular spot with young professionals and couples, there’s no dress code here so you can never be too casual or too glamorous.
Not only does Dough provide the perfect date night atmosphere, but the menu is one of the best I have ever come across for anyone with specific requirements. Each dish is labelled clearly and there’s a variety of suitable starters, mains and even desserts. Although the restaurant changes its menu on a regular basis, it never forgets its vegan and coeliac loyal customer base. My perfect meal would start with a goat’s cheese and caramelised onion on gluten free focaccia bread, followed by either a feta cheese fatayer pizza on a gluten free base or if I was feeling brave, I would attempt a gluten free tagliatelle (a no-go if white was the outfit choice of the evening). Whether you choose a vegetarian, gluten or dairy free option, one thing you can also count on is it tastes just as good – sometimes better – than if you were to order the dish as standard.
- Do your research. Nearly every restaurant these days has some sort of website or online menu. Have a quick glance before deciding, and if you’re not sure give them a ring and see what they have. There’s nothing worse than choosing somewhere that looks fabulous but all you/ they can eat is rocket.
- Think about the type of cuisine you’re choosing, for example, if you have a serious allergy to peanuts, Thai cuisine is one to be careful of as a number of dishes can contain nuts.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutes. There’s no harm in asking the question. Most restaurants will try to make the effort if you are up front about your reasons.
- If you’re concerned, just keep it simple. Sometimes the greatest of dishes are created from just one or two ingredients.
- Last but not at all least, don’t be embarrassed. The most important thing is to not dwell or become anxious about it, instead concentrate your efforts on the matter at hand… having an enjoyable and relaxed date and building the foundations of what could turn into a wonderful relationship.
For more Manchester dating advice, head back to our Manchester dating section.