Coeliac disease, an auto-immune disorder caused by a reaction to gluten, is much more common than you might think. One in every hundred people in the UK is affected and as a result can’t eat dietary staples like wheat, barley, rye and other grains. This can make choosing a restaurant a bit of a nightmare, even in a city like London, as pizzas, pastas and most breads are a big no-no. Yesterday (1 May) marked the beginning of Coeliac Awareness Month, so we’ve rounded up the best places to eat gluten free…
The Truscott Arms W9
This recently revamped pub and dining room, in Maida Vale, features a menu of well-sourced, seasonal fare. It also has one of the most wide-ranging gluten free menus in town. Head there for GF fish and chips, burgers and Sunday Roasts. There’s even gluten free beer!
“A real change from most Indians”; this “vibrant” Covent Garden café – a superb “recreation of the numerous Parsi cafés in Mumbai” – has many fans for its unusually “cool” ambience, and “delicious contemporary cuisine”; now in Shoreditch too. Both sites have a huge selection of gluten free dishes.
Thanks to Yottam Ottolenghi’s “wonderfully colourful, fresh and inventively-flavoured small plates”, this “beautiful” Soho two-year-old has quickly become a major destination; sceptics, though, can find prices “ludicrous” – but for coeliacs the dedicated gluten free menu, and helpful kitchen staff who don’t mind adapting dishes to make them GF, may make the expense worthwhile.
Pitt Cue Co. W1
“I actually enjoyed the queuing!” – such are the “happy” vibes at this tiny and “crowded” Carnaby Street BBQ – a “meaty-licious” heaven, where the pulled pork in particular is a “must-try”. Most of their food is naturally gluten free and the head chef also happens to be coeliac, so you’re in good hands.
Peckham Bazaar SE15
A short walk from the hustle and bustle of Peckham’s Rye Lane, this place is slightly off the beaten track – but rest assured, there’s nothing off about the place itself. It’s a tastefully converted townhouse-turned-taverna with a sizzling outdoors grill, serving up much-praised gluten free dishes of Greek, Turkish and Iranian cuisine. Currently closed for refurbishment, but they hope to be back this month.
Honest Burgers (group)
“AMAZING” burgers and fries “to which the word ‘chip’ does not do justice” – the original Brixton branch of this growing small chain serves London’s No 1. burger; the queue, though, is “a total pain”. The folks behind this growing operation have taken pains to develop a very tasty ‘gluten-friendly burger’ with specially made GF buns from Yorkshire.
Fortnum and Mason W1
“A splendid venue for a sumptuous afternoon tea” – this “light, airy, spacious and very comfortable dining room” is proving a tremendous addition to the store…“fresher and more serene” than the nearby Ritz! And if you’re thinking you can’t eat all those scones and finger sandwiches, never fear, they do a gluten free afternoon tea too.
Social Eating House W1
On most accounts, Jason Atherton’s latest “buzzy” baby is “a really great addition to the Soho scene”, offering “inventive” British fare that’s both “excellent” and “artistic”; the occasional report of “bland” cuisine, however, slightly undercuts its ratings. If you’re looking for slightly more upmarket GF fare, Social Eating House is a safe bet.
The Banana Tree (group)
“Always popular and busy” – these pan-Asian canteens have a “pleasing upbeat” style, and offer food that’s “decent for a chain”; “a recent revamp has improved the SW11 branch”. Asian food can be tricky for celiacs, especially when it comes to soy sauce in dishes, but Banana Tree has a dedicated gluten free menu.
“Delicious” ceviche and other “interesting” Peruvian dishes help make this “bustling” Soho yearling “a great place to meet friends for casual eats”; it can, however, seem “pricey” for what it is. Most Peruvian food is naturally gluten free – corn, quinoa and, of course, plenty of that zesty seafood ceviche.
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