OUT AND DRINK EATING
BY the magic of journalistic fastforward I can tell you there will be a slightly strange conversation at the end of my first visit to Wild Flours. It will go like this. Me:“The pastry on that pecan tart was really crisp and nice. What kind of flour do you use?”
“Hmm,” the lady behind the counter will say. “I think it’s rice flour, umm, and potato flour … and …”
To be entirely fair here the place will be kind of going like a fair. She will be distracted. There will be a family paying at the till, a customer who was sitting on the window bench-seat beside me with her son handing over card details to be put into an iPad. Yes, an iPad.
There will be a chubby chap with his dog asking daft questions. Oh, hang on, that’s me. Actually, it will be the iPad that is slowing everything down and causing level-one chaos.
Funnily enough, a few weeks ago I was in a restaurant where when it came to paying the bill they asked me to input my card details into a waiter’s iPhone. Seriously. His iPhone.
The weird thing is I did it. I keep checking the bank every day waiting for that unauthorised purchase of a speedboat to show up. It hasn’t.
I did it anyway because I kind of have sympathy with small businesses trying to find a leftfield way around these exorbitant card-handling fees that banks charge. The smaller the business the more you get whacked.
Anyway, the cutting-edge iPad payment system isn’t going particularly well today and the lady is distracted. But I kind of need to know about the flour.
Wild Flours? Gluten-free comes of age. A whole bakery and cafe dedicated to wheat-free baking.
But this place looks great. It used to be a Chinese takeaway. A strange little box, set just a bit too far back from busy Kilmarnock Road on the south side of Glasgow, a burn trickling by it into a deep gully, before disappearing under the road. It wasn’t the most attractive place.
Now that moat area at the front has been filled with plants, tables and chairs, there’s another wide seating area at door level and a big bold sign over the door. It’s small town in a good way. In the city.
Inside, the decor is crisp, clean and modern. A long table in the far corner. A picture window too with a bench running along it. I sat there and ate that tuna melt toastie, noting that it may not have been bread made with wheat – but whatever it was, it was a perfectly acceptable substitute. Not too dry. Held together well. If I hadn’t thought about it I wouldn’t have noticed it was gluten-free.
There was a cookie too. But I gave most of that to the dog. Not because there was anything wrong with it, but because Rocco was tied up outside and staring at me. The oohs and aahs from everyone coming in shamed me into it.
It’s an interesting venture this, though, in a city where vegan and vegetarian restaurants are opening up in large numbers, where even mainstream restaurants are putting vegan options on their menus. Gluten-free is a logical next step. If it tastes right. So I press on. “The bread on that toastie I had,” I say to the lady. “Surprisingly soft considering it wasn’t wheat flour. Er, what was it?” “Oh … Chestnut … Potato.” The lady turns to a woman in the back
shop who is visible through a hatch. She’s wearing baker’s whites and leaning over a tray of baked stuff. She’s not 100 per cent sure either.
I’m kind of thinking it’s not for me to tell them how to run their business but I think people want to know this stuff. It’s probably even good to boast about it. But then I look at their Facebook page and see one of the owners is away for the weekend. And they are mobbed.
I’ll find out next time.
Wild Flours might be small but it has a great feel and the absence of wheat flour in the baking is impossible to detect