Continuing on from Part 1 of the best places, in my humble opinion to eat in London, particularly, but not only if you need gluten free meals. Writing this from India, Indian food which is brilliantly and naturally gluten free, is also a good option in London,
Tandoori Nights - One for the south east London crowd, this local tandoori has featured here before... check out why I still love it so much.
Masala Zone – Chain, yes but reliable one and a bit different when you are in the centre of town and want to avoid the grimness of Angus Steakhouses or Pizza Express. They have a range of great regional based dishes based on Indian home cooking and street food and have a handful located conveniently across the city – my regular is just off Carnaby St, perfect when you want to escape the crowds of Oxford Circus.
Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecôte – The original in Paris which is more than 50years old, this no reservation no choice menu restaurant came to London and has had queues round the block since the day it opened. For me this is now part of the charm in going to this restaurant. Crammed Parisian banquettes inside, the curt waitresses tell you the deal - Walnut salad to start, followed by Steak Frites, with a basket of fresh baguette and ask how you would your steak cooked. Never say medium rare – “one or the other” they say as they scribble on your paper tablecloth. Since the only thing being cooked is perfect French fries, and grilled steak, it is perfectly gluten free (without the bread of course). The steak comes with their “signature” sauce, the ingredients they never reveal, but have informed me that is is gluten free. And the best thing about this place... you get seconds. To serve the dish at its best you get half your steak and frites and when you have finished they come round again. No reservations, no choice, just perfectly cooked steak frites... being gluten free ain’t so bad!
The Providores – It’s not even worth trying to keep this place a secret, and like Vinoteca in my last post, is a well know pit stop on London’s foodie trail. We go for brunch, as the New Zealand style breakfast menu caters naturally for gluten free consumers with incredible and creative dishes which is refreshing for breakfast menus. Whilst some of the combinations can be a little perplexing, trust in Peter Gordon’s creativity... his food is divine, well sourced and complemented by the awesome Monmouth coffee. Upstairs now takes brunch reservations to save queueing.
Foyle’s Cafe – Often my place of work amongst other freelance and entrepreneurial souls the cafe at Foyle’s, this brilliant independent bookstore Tottenham Court Road, is where I often spend too much money on food books. The cafe which has expanded serves my favourite Monmouth coffee alongside the odd gluten free cake. Whilst they have always served salads, the gluten cross-contamination is sometimes an issue, but they now stock a range of pre-packed falafel and salads which are gluten free, so I now sometimes stick around for lunch!
Sally Clarke’s – Credited with beginning the focus on uber-seasonal foods in the 1980's when it wasn't so cool, my evening at this stalwart on the London restaurant scene was possibly one of my best meals out, since being gluten free. A real special occasion place, we were treated like royalty...
Canteen – Seasonal British fare with sourcing as much as they can from well known quality British farmers and producers, Canteen is a showcase for how good traditional British food can be. They always cater to my requests competently, know about gluten cross contamination and the poached haddock with mash, spinach and homemade hollandaiseI had on my last visit was the ultimate in comfort food. A couple of branches across the city, they also serve a great all day breakfast menu, perfect when you fancy a bacon sarnie at any time of the day.
Balans – Introducing my friend to the wonders of Soho, one of my favourite areas in London, we nipped into Balans, a place I used to go for brunch when I lived in Chiswick, for a late night supper. A huge modern Brasserie style menu I asked about gluten free options and they demonstrated a good knowledge of the options, even talking about how the chef uses tamari in place of soy to open up gluten free options. I like the one in the heart of Soho in the thick of the action.
So there's plenty more where they came from, but let me know if you have been to any of these... what did you reckon? Are there places I should try out? Are there places, dare I ask, I should avoid? Let me know I’d love to hear your thoughts.