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A Guide To Gluten-Free London

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A Guide To Gluten-Free London

Gone are the days of cardboard bread

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Coeliac? Gluten intolerant? While in the past eating out with an allergy was notoriously difficult, these days restauranteurs and chefs are far more clued up. The free-from scene in London has never been better, with many eateries adding gluten-free menus to their repertoire – and others removing gluten entirely. From bakeries to pizza joints, high-end eateries to creperies, here’s our guide to gluten-free London…

The Best Gluten-Free Restaurants in London

Aprés Food Co

Apres Food Co

‘Make friends with food’ is the motto for this quaint little café in Clerkenwell. Uninspired by the quinoa and goji berry-centric health food market, founders Catherine Sharman and business partner Danny set out to redefine comfort food with a nutritious spin. Everything is organic and free of both gluten and refined sugar – but magically, still tastes delicious. Aprés Food Co is open from breakfast through to dinner, with everything on the menu also available to take away. Brunches range from the light to the indulgent: maple roasted granola, American-style pancakes and bruschetta all feature, alongside the Aprés take on a cooked breakfast. Evening delights, meanwhile, include an aubergine, sweet potato and spinach Thai curry with cauliflower pilau rice; a roast chicken and butternut squash risotto; and steak with a Portobello mushroom and blue cheese pastry pie. Despite their free-from accolades, sweet treats are heavenly too – their freshly baked offering includes chocolate fondants, brownies, scones and fudge. Turns out you really can have your cake and eat it…apresfood.com

Indigo at One Aldwych

Indigo at One Aldwych

Gluten-free dining can be fancy too, proves the plush Indigo restaurant at Covent Garden hotel One Aldwych. Fully accredited by Coeliac UK since late 2015, Indigo’s Head Chef Dominic Teague curates a high-end menu featuring some of the finest seasonal ingredients from around the country, with all dishes free from both gluten and dairy. There’s a focus on meat, fish and vegetables here, with highlights including sea bream with vine tomatoes; Yorkshire grouse with butternut squash and pickled plums; and a double cutlet of free-range pork, served with apple compote, crushed new potatoes and grilled tenderstem broccoli. onealdwych.com

Le Merlin

Satisfy your crêpe cravings at Le Merlin on Lower Clapton Road, which serves up a mix of sweet and savoury French galettes all made from buckwheat flour. The space may be small but the menu promises big things. Will you go for ratatouille, baby spinach, roasted aubergines and walnuts? Confit duck with blue cheese sauce? Salted butter caramel with chocolate sauce and grilled almonds? Whichever takes your fancy, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that gluten is not welcome at Le Merlin. lemerlin.co.uk

Mommi

Mommi

On a Saturday night soujourn down Clapham High Street, you could easily mistake Mommi for just another South West boozer. But on closer examination, you’ll discover it’s actually a really good restaurant – which just so happens to be 100 per cent free from gluten. Japan meets Latin America at Mommi: the vibrancy of Miami mixes with the upbeat rhythm of Peru, the eclecticism of Venice Beach with the refinement of Japan. Dishes are designed to be shared, and packed with flavours from around the world: pan-fried king prawns with spiced garlic yuzu buter, sticky miso glazed chicken wings, crisp-fried belly pork bites with smoked corn and caramelised sweet potato, and tuna tartare with pickled ginger. Quirky flavour combinations continue into the dessert menu, which includes a salted caramel ice cream with agave syrup and puffed quinoa, a passion fruit, yuzu and ginger cheesecake, and a Pisco spiked jelly with lychee and kumquat. On weekends there’s live music, and their cocktails are especially good – we recommend the Passion Pachamama: a punchy number mixed with dark rum, passion fruit, ginger & vanilla and almond. wearemommi.com

Ardiciocca

You might think that Italian food is nothing if not for its gluten component, but you’d be wrong about that at Ardiciocca. The restaurant manages to pull off all the Italian traditions without even a trace of wheat, last year achieving Coeliac certification. Start with salami and bread and be amazed by a dense, chewiness that gives its crumbly cousin a run for its money (the secret is 12 different cereals and grains). The brave might opt for breaded and fried, while a classic pizza Margarita is a safe choice – and in this case, the crispy base made with gluten-free flour and Ferrarelle water, let rise for 72 hours, is not just safe, but delicious. ardiciocca.com

Zia Lucia

Zia Lucia

Zia Lucia translates as ‘Aunt Lucie’ in Italian, and there’s certainly a family feel at this charming Highbury pizzeria – which also has branches in Kensington and Wembley, with another soon to open in Aldgate East. A delicious 48-hour fermented gluten-free dough option sits alongside their traditional pizza base, with a striking vegetable charcoal version also available to order. It’s important to note there’s only one pizza oven, meaning cross contamination is a possibility and making it unsuitable for coeliacs, but the gluten-free base is a good option for those on a gluten-free diet for health reasons or simply looking for a more light-weight pizza. zialucia.com

Niche

Back in the summer of 2013, Marc Wade and his business partner Adrian Morgan set out to serve British food with a modern twist. They opened Niche in Islington, just down the road from Sadler’s Wells Theatre, with a focus on bakery products. Not long afterwards, however, Marc was diagnosed as Coeliac, leading the pair to turn the restaurant totally gluten-free. Niche became London’s first Coeliac UK-accredited restaurant – though the principles stayed the same: great food, all made fresh on site. A far cry from some of the dry, tasteless gluten-free food on the market, here you can tuck into everything from buttermilk fried chicken to parmesan beignets to burgers to pies. Their strap-line is ‘gluten free but you wouldn’t know it’ – and many people who visit are oblivious of its wheat-free merits, a sign that it’s a top-class restaurant in its own right. nichefoodanddrink.com

Berto

Berto

The team behind the aforementioned Zia Lucia recently opened a sister venue, this one focused on pasta. It’s named after expert pasta maker Piero – nicknamed Berto by restaurant owners Claudio Vescovo and Gianluca D’Angelo – who owns a pasta shop in his home town of Ronciglione, just north of Rome. Similar to Zia Lucia, Berto offers a range of different pasta doughs, one being made from gluten-free flours. All pasta is made on site daily, from fresh egg tagliatelle to pappardelle to ravioli, then dressed with sauces created using the finest Italian produce. berto.co.uk

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