If you’re gluten intolerant, eating out can be a minefield of indigestible grains. But where once the question: “is this gluten-free?” would have had waiters rushing back to the kitchen with quizzical looks, London’s restaurants are becoming increasingly sympathetic to coeliacs’ needs – we’ve picked our top restaurants for gluten-free dining in London.
Best for Asian
Does a menu in an Indian restaurant seem like a long list of uncertainties? Thankfully, Mumbai street-food inspired venue Dishoom highlights suitable dishes, including a range of grills, salads and curries. If East Asian cuisine is more to your taste, the noodle bar chain Wagamama has a wealth of “cereal-free” options noted for the gluten intolerant.
Best for Italian
Mounds of pasta, flour-laden carbonara sauce and doughy pizzas usually lead to hours of discomfort, but thankfully some of London’s Italian eateries have cottoned on to the plight of coeliacs. Choose from the dedicated gluten-free menu at Pizza Express venues across London, including pizzas made with wheat-free dough, risotto and chocolate brownies. Or, if you fancy some pasta, Spaghetti House offers coeliac-friendly spaghetti on request as well as gluten-free gnocchi made with purple potato – but they cannot guarantee that any menu item can be completely free of allergens due to shared kitchen preparation areas. For something a little different, La Polenteria has a menu focused on Italian “peasant” food, polenta, which has grown in popularity in recent years and is full of gluten-free goodness.
Best for pub grub
Inspired by their daughter, who is coeliac, the owners of The Truscott Arms have introduced an adaptable menu crammed full of gluten-free options such as fish and chips, beef shin chips and scotch eggs. But it doesn’t stop there; this charming Maida Vale pub also serves gluten-free beer– making it the perfect place for a pub lunch or night out in the laid-back neighbourhood close to Little Venice’s canalside attractions.
Best for burgers
Fast-growing chain Honest Burgers is a welcoming place for coeliacs with its option of wheat-free buns and burgers on request; although co-founder Tom is quick to point out that a totally gluten-free experience cannot be guaranteed as food containing gluten is prepared in the same kitchen. Now on their sixth venture, having started out in Brixton in 2011, Honest Burgers mixes carefully-sourced produce and an unfussy menu with a relaxed vibe.
Best for all-day dining
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner – each with plenty of gluten-free options based on the full à la carte menu – Nopi is a great place for a plate or two, whatever the time of day. Just notify the accommodating staff upon reservation and you’ll be given a range of dishes to choose from at this eatery that’s part of Yotam Ottolenghi’s ever-expanding group.
Best for afternoon teas
When it comes to afternoon tea, it’s usually a nightmare of “musn’t have” cakes and bread. But there’s no need to miss out on these savoury and sweet treats, as many of London’s afternoon tea venues offer a gluten-free alternative. At Fortnum & Mason, for example, you can sample such delicacies as smoked salmon sandwiches with lemon dill butter, scones with Somerset clotted cream and rose-scented macarons; while The Athenaeum can serve gluten-free cakes, sandwiches and scones with a day’s notice.