The Austin Madras Pavilion is a vegetarian Indian restaurant. The vast majority of their menu items do not contain gluten. Only their breads, dosai crepes, and Uppuma entrées contain gluten. They are familiar with our type of food handling due to periodic kosher certifications and audits. It is easy for people with additional allergies (dairy, soy, eggs) to eat at Madras Pavilion as well, along with those interested in a vegan diet.
Richard Paulraj, the manager, is only somewhat familiar with the gluten/celiac situation. However, because of the kosher certification and auditing, they are very aware of overall cross-contact issues. His staff has been with him for 6 to 7 years, with extremely minimal turnover, so they are very dependable and willing to learn more about our gluten-free diet.
For dinner, each plate is made to order by the main cook, and the bread and dosai are served on separate plates. When ordering, tell them that you do not want any bread or dosai.
The lunch buffet varies daily. Most dishes are safe for us, but there might be two or three that contain gluten. Be sure you talk to Richard so he can walk you through and explain which ones they are. He is very attentive and will be glad to explain all the ingredients.
The restaurant has separate, clearly defined areas in the kitchen for preparing gluten-containing dishes. The two types of gluten-containing flour are kept low and apart from other ingredients. The bread, which contains gluten, is prepared once a day on a separate table by a person away from the main cook. A dedicated oil fryer is used for the gluten breads. After the once-a-day bread making the grill is thoroughly cleaned.
They don’t typically make many salads, but when they do, all fresh veggie and fruit salads are prepared in a gluten-free area with its own cutting board and knives. They don’t have salad dressings per se, but one might get a cucumber yogurt or lemon to go with a salad. Their soups have no gluten, and they know not to mix ladles.
Rice and potatoes are cooked in plain water, with no broth added.
The spices at Madras Pavilion are almost all freshly ground into powders on site from real chilies, seeds, etc. The label of the Chef’s Quality brand curry powder they use shows the ingredients as “spices, turmeric, red pepper.” They make their own yogurts and chutneys.
They know to wash their utensils and to have separate utensils for different food items in the buffet line. It is unlikely that bread crumbs or croutons will be an issue because they don’t use them.
The kitchen staff uses latex gloves all the time. They know to change gloves after making breads and dosai.
At this time Madras Pavilion in Austin does not have a gluten-free menu or GF icons on the regular menu, but Richard said he was likely to consider it at the next printing.(JW 02/09)