We love London. There were so many gluten free options. We were spoilt for choice. The highlights... getting specific gluten free menus at restaurants, having gluten free afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason and all the new choices in the supermarkets. Ahhh London!
We can't fault any of the gluten free eating experiences we had in London, as self-confessed lovers of food it was truly an exciting part of our holiday. Here is a run down of the highlights.
Gluten free on the Pizza Express
Dining with a friend and her children, the little tackers decided Pizza Express was the choice for lunch. Walking up to the menu to make sure we were able to get gluten free options, boy were we surprised. The menu was the most comprehensive gluten free menu we have ever set our eyes on. Not only did it have markings for the dishes that were gluten free but they had a whole spiel written on the menu about gluten free and their affiliation with Coeliac UK. They even had a gluten free beer on the beverage list! Here is the thing that we love the most though, the dishes marked gluten free were actually gluten free without specification. For example the melanzane parmigiana had gluten free bread crumbs in it - no matter who ordered it!
Gluten free at the Borough Markets
At a market like Borough there are a lot of options for delicious fresh and gluten free food but we were really interested in what we could find in the way of gluten free desserts and sweets (especially after 3 weeks in Europe with very little dessert!) We stumbled across The Free From Bakehouse stall and bought up rather big because it was all gluten free and so amazing (they even have some dairy free, egg free and sugar free options).
- gluten free pear, parsnip and sea-salted caramel cake.
- peanut butter brownie.
- rocky road.
- salted caramel fudge from which we created our own variation of this recipe that is delicious.
When at the markets don't forget to try Monmouth's perfect coffee.
Gluten free Carluccio's
Another chain restaurant, but we saw some gluten free gnocchi with pesto from Carluccio's on Twitter and really wanted to try it. Might we say chain restaurants in the UK are completely different to Australia. They are often in lovely buildings, the food is of a high standard and they do gluten free so well!
This time we were given a dedicated gluten free menu. Gnocchi was no long on it but the gluten free fusilli pasta was so melt in your mouth we could hardly believe it. If only we hadn't overstocked at the Borough Markets and been hungrier to try the other delicious sounding dishes!
Gluten free at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen
We booked this online (another great thing about the UK, online booking is pretty usual) with a note about having Coeliac Disease. When we arrived we were given a menu marked with all the yes and no dishes and any substitutes. The service was great and food was delicious, despite having a limited range of choices we thought it to be one of the best gluten free meals we had in the UK.
Gluten free breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien
We stumbled across Le Pain Quotidien when looking for somewhere for breakfast. We had a lovely smoked salmon and scrambled egg breakfast, followed by a delicious gluten free brownie and the coffee was sensational. While we sat there we read the Le Pain Quotidien cookbook and consequently bought it for its simple and fresh recipes many of which are already or easily adjusted to be gluten free.
Gluten free afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason
Well, if we never eat bread again we will die happy after this experience. The gluten free finger sandwiches were so soft and yummy. The gluten free scones were reportedly better than the gluten versions (the dried fruit may have kept them more moist) and the gluten free sweets were very refined. Although we couldn't get over the gluten free sandwiches and scones (with lemon curd and clotted cream) so were too full to eat many of them! Highly recommended and this was all fully organised from an online booking with a note about requiring gluten free options. Oh how we love London!
If you would like some more tips for eating gluten free on holiday take a look at our post on eating gluten free in Europe and the specific guides it links to.