I’m sure a lot of other people who have to follow an exclusive diet will understand when I tell you that on Saturday evening, halfway through a wonderful weekend away in Cádiz with my boyfriend, a very hangry me was almost in tears after being unable to find anywhere for dinner with a decent gluten free menu.
After spending what felt like hours googling places to go, reading reviews and downloading menu PDF’s, I decided on trying UltraMar&Nos. The menu looked varied, with lots of gluten free options, and the reviews looked good. It had also only just opened for the evening (at 8:30pm), so I figured the chances of us getting a table were pretty good.
I was wrong about the table part. Even though it was just five minutes after opening time, all non-booked tables were full and all the other tables were accompanied by big, golden ‘R’s. So, we sat at the bar. I wasn’t annoyed about this at all, because we got a seat looking out of the main window and into the street, which turned out to be an excellent people and dog watching spot.
Like I said, I was hangry, so I ordered a full three courses and did not regret a single thing. We (I say we, Luke refused to try the bulk of the starter and instead filled up on the bread) started off with humous, which comes with pitta bread. But for me they also brought out an additional, hot and fresh out of the oven, gluten free baguette. No missing out here.
As well as the traditional chickpea humous, UltraMar&Nos serve up a carrot and a herb flavoured dips as well. I wasn’t a huge fan of the herby one if I’m honest, it had a very overpowering taste of something that I’m not quite sure what it was, but I definitely didn’t like it. The carrot and chickpea versions, though, were excellent.
So, we were off to a fab start: friendly staff who were very understanding about my intolerance, a great seat and some delicious food.
Next up, I went for something a little different (for me) in the vegetable curry. I know that this isn’t the most adventurous of meals, but I rarely pick the vegetarian option for fear that I won’t like it, or that it won’t fill me up as much as something more meaty would. I was, of course, proved completely wrong.
The pictures (and terrible lighting) do not do this dish justice. It was amazing. It was smooth, sweet and spicy with the contrast of stir-fried, crunchy veggies, all in one bowl. Then the rice was sticky and yummy and I was in food heaven. I have to admit, I did have to leave some of the sauce in the bowl rather than pouring it over my rice, because it had a serious kick to it. I’m not the biggest baby when it comes to spice, but I definitely don’t enjoy that tongue-burning feeling!
When reading reviews of UltraMar&Nos, so many of them said that the BBQ ribs here are the best in the city. So, of course, Luke had to test this out. Amazingly, and unusually, the BBQ ribs here are gluten free, so I could try them too, and both Luke and I can confirm that they are really damn good.
As you can see, this place really doesn’t scrimp on the portion sizes, and the presentation of every dish is so quirky but practical as well, we were dead impressed.
I was also thrilled (and no, I am not exaggerating) to see a gluten free strawberry cheesecake on UltraMar&Nos’ dessert menu. One of my all time favourite desserts is cheesecake, and it’s something that I am hardly ever able to eat nowadays, as there is rarely a gluten free alternative available when I go out to eat.
So, despite being full, I couldn’t say no. And of course, if I was going to have a dessert then Luke had to as well.
The cheesecake did not disappoint. It was sweet, light and not at all sickly, as can sometimes be the case with fruity cheesecakes. I was a very happy foodie. Luke’s chocolate coulant was so delicious that he was genuinely upset to finish it. So, that should tell you all that you need to know!
Also, how gorgeous are these desserts? The chefs at UltraMar&Nos absolutely know what they’re doing when it comes to presentation.
By the time our main courses were served, the restaurant and bar were completely full. So, if you are in Cádiz old town and looking to try out the amazing UltraMar&Nos, I would highly recommend booking or getting there early and sitting in the bar, like we did. The menu in the bar is exactly the same as in the main restaurant, so you’re not missing out at all.
I am so happy that I found this little gem, although slightly disappointed that it has happened so close to the end of my time in Spain because I would definitely be a regular visitor had I found it sooner!