As you know, I love to share information on the best places to eat if your gluten and dairy free. I’ve already blogged Part 1 of my Gluten and Dairy Free Birmingham guide (with part 2 on the way!) so decided to turn my attention to a gluten and dairy free London. It is here that the free-from scene is really thriving and businesses are starting to listen to what those with allergies, intolerances and coeliacs disease patients really want. Because, although the gluten-free scene has exploded; knowledge and awareness has not. In fact, a recent survey by FATC showed that when using a gluten-free menu, 59% of customers still felt restaurants had poor awareness of cross-contamination. In other words, many restaurants are quick to offer a gluten free menu but less to quick to offer reassurance and the confidence we need to eat out (I know not all chains are like this by the way, for example, I recently did a review of Pho, a Vietnamese chain, whose knowledge of allergens was excellent and had received Coeliac UK accreditation). In this gluten free London guide, however, I’ve decided to feature restaurants that are exclusively ‘free from’. Restaurants that are really committed to providing a safe environment for their free-from customers and providing delicious, healthy food too!
Tucked away behind the bustling streets of Piccadilly Circus is La Polenteria: London’s only completely gluten-free Italian restaurant. Originally beginning as a Polenta themed restaurant, owners realised the potential this Italian superfood had for the free-from market. They are fully Coeliac UK certified and don’t allow any gluten into their kitchen; offering plenty of dairy free options to boot. All foods are based around polenta (which inspired my recent polenta recipe) or gluten free ravioli made from a mixture of gluten free flours. Yet, the restaurant insists it is not only for free-frommers as it’s emphasis on natural, wholesome Italian cooking means it’s suitable for everyone. We tried the beef ravioli, which my gluten loving husband said it was the best he had ever tasted! For desert, the gluten free vegan crepes are amazing- sweetened with natural agave and Macadamia nuts, rather than sugar.
The amazing dairy free, egg free gluten free ravioli- needs to be tried to be believed!
This crepe is the ultimate ‘free from’ desert: It’s completely gluten free, vegan and uses no refined sugars.
Nearest Tube: Angel
Located minutes from Angel tube, Niche is a completely gluten free restaurant (with lots of dairy options) offering traditional British food made from scratch-without the allergens. Think smoked salmon and gluten-free bread; plenty of burger choices and everything from cheesecake to Tiramisu. In other words- the foods you desperately want to eat but couldn’t find since ditching the gluten.The atmosphere is bustling and the decor is modern with contemporary art. What’s more, the waiters are extremely knowledgeable about all things free-from. If you are looking for a trendy hotspot with plenty of safe foods, then this is the best choice for you. What’s more, keep your eyes peeled: Niche’s owners have big plans to expand the restaurant to more sites across London and offer free-from ready meals .
It doesn’t get much better than gluten free homecooked chips and onion rings. Images courtesy of Matthew Burlem.
Romeo’s Sugar Free Bakery (with gluten free and dairy free menus)
Nearest tube: Highgate and Islington
Romeo’s Sugar Free bakery started out as a traditional local bakery; until the owner noticed a growing need for healthy deserts- free from sugar, gluten and other allergens. The bakery has quickly become a hotspot for the health-conscious folk on the hunt for a desert fix; queues were out the door on our visit. If you are craving Pancakes or even a free from full English, there’s no better place to spend a Sunday afternoon than curled up with a good book and one of Romeo’s inventive creations. Interestingly, Romeo is always on the hunt for ways to develop the free-from market and is currently working on a low carb bread to replace the many high-carb gluten free brands on the high street.
We need to talk about this Crepe menu- simply delicious!
You can even get a free-from full English!
Have you ever seen so many cakes- all are sugar free, with the majority gluten and dairy free!
While I can personally verify how amazing all of the above are, there are a few more restaurants on my visit list the next time I’m in London.
- Cookies and Scream (Nearest tube: Camden Town) An all gluten free, vegan bakery in the heart of Camden.
- Yorica (Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road) ) which offers free-from fro-yo, shakes and ice creams.
I’d love to hear whether you’ve tried any of these places and how important it is to you that a restaurant is completely ‘free from?’ It is so great to see that the many restaurants are learning how to do things right- hopefully the more we talk about this, the better range of restaurants we’ll have to eat out safely at.
Enjoyed reading? Checkout all my other gluten free posts here.