*AD – blogger night. So, complimentary food and drinks, however I was not asked to do a write-up on the blog – I’ve just done it because I loved the place so much and felt it deserved more than 1x Insta post!
If you’ve been a long-time reader of this blog, you’ll know that I love supporting a truly good independent venue, and that I also love to find places that serve gluten-free options. It’s not because I have a gluten intolerance or coeliac disease but a lot of my close family members do – and I understand the anxiety and difficulties that can arise from dining out.
So, put these two loves together and you have Clean Bean Restaurant and Bar in Seaham. Accredited by Coeliac UK and with a completely gluten-free kitchen, it offers diners an option that I’ve not yet seen in the North East.
Everything on the menu is gluten-free, and a lot of it can be vegan, vegetarian or tailored to those with other dietary requirements such as dairy/nut free. And owners Paul and Linda are VERY clued up on intolerances and what exactly goes into all their dishes which is very reassuring, so it’s the perfect place to come to when bringing families or friends together who all need to be catered for.
Paul and Linda opened Clean Bean one year ago, after quitting their jobs to travel the world. They found when travelling that they had easy access to clean, healthy food easily but when returning back home in the North East saw a niche in the market. They knew the benefits of eating in this way, and despite never having worked in the hospitality industry before – they decided to open their own place.
They wanted it to be accessible for people with all sorts of dietary requirements and, when looking into how to do this, they found the best way was to just go entirely gluten free. Bringing to Seaham and the North East the first completely gluten-free restaurant.
Clean Bean can be found on North Terrace in Seaham, with the restaurant windows looking out onto the Tommy World War One Soldier Sculpture.
I visited earlier this week on a dark, rainy evening for a blogger event where regional bloggers/Instagrammers had been invited along to sample some of the best-sellers from the menu and to find out about the ethos of the restaurant.
Arriving solo, I was happy to sit on a table with the lovely Bait Expectations who were great company for the evening. We were treated to a variety of dishes from the menu, starting with some delicious beetroot and feta sweet potato slices – so simple but so tasty.
We then also tried the very popular Booty Bowl which comes with all sorts of yumminess – smoky sweet potato, chorizo, beans, red onion, and coconut topped with red chilli, coriander & a drizzle of Greek yoghurt. It can also be served with an added protein like steak or seabass.
The Harvest Bowl was as equally as enjoyable with quinoa, avocado, halloumi, radishes, sweet potato mash, crusty croutons and a lovely oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Again, this bowl could be topped with a protein option from the menu instead of halloumi.
Our Tofu Burger Bagel was vegan friendly as well as being gluten free and served with a sourdough chia seed bagel (sourced from a gluten-free artisan bakers in London) and chunky poppy seed coleslaw. The bagel, though slightly denser than a normal bagel, was still delicious with the right amount of chewiness and I was really impressed that it was gluten-free.
All the cocktails are served in sharing cafetieres which I loved. The base of all the cocktails are made from fresh fruits and fruit infusions, and then you top them up with the alcohol of your choice e.g. Prosecco, gin, vodka. Because I’m teetotal – I got my own little cafetiere with a delicious fruit infusion of oranges, limes and lemons. It was gorgeous and it just goes to show that there are many tasty options besides a J20 or lemonade for non-drinkers!
For dessert, we were treated to a sharing board of a selection of sweet treats: raw Bounty bar slices, raw Snickers bar slices, avocado cake with lemon cream frosting and peanut butter loaf. Wanting to give a fair review – I tried one of everything (and even got some to take away for my husband at home!)
My favourite was the avocado cake. It might be an unusual option, but like beetroot cake and sweet potato brownies – the addition of the avocado didn’t add much flavour but a lovely texture to let the lemon flavour shine through. If you like lemon drizzle cake, you’d like this.
The raw bars were also good, the Bounty one especially was really rich with chocolate and Linda confirmed it’s made with 73% dark chocolate!
As well as the normal menu, Clean Bean is also open for breakfast and Sunday Lunch and do special fortnightly menu that focuses on the cuisine from a certain country in the world. They’ve already done about thirty countries in the time since they’ve opened! Keep a look out for the next menu which will be revealed soon!
Also, if you wanted to come in just for drinks – there’s a beautiful bar area, and out the back there is the Clean Bean Secret Garden which is a hidden gem during the winter months and is dog friendly.
Clean Bean is a gem of a place for those local to Seaham, but worth the drive for those a little further afield whether that’s to enjoy a completely gluten-free menu or to support a fantastic independent establishment.
Oh, and they’re also on Just Eat too!