Hi, I’m Zoe. I grew up in Melbourne but currently live in London. I was diagnosed with coeliac disease two years ago, just a week before I moved to London to start a new job. So, while I was navigating a new city, I was also learning to manage my new gluten-free diet. I started @londonglutenfree
to share my discoveries and to learn from others in the GF Instagram community in London and around the world. Food and cooking have always played a central and very happy part of my life and, luckily, I have found that London is a wonderful place to be gluten-free.
Specialist GF providers
London is home to a number of specialist gluten-free providers and fellow coeliacs know how relaxing it is to eat somewhere without any risk of cross-contamination. Beyond Bread is one of my favourite places for lunch or a snack – a range of tasty sandwich fillings on crusty bread, quiches, cakes and pastries – they recently opened their second branch in Upper Street, Islington. Upper Street is also home to the Artisan Gluten Free Bakery, which offers (among other things) delicious pizza slices and great bread. Mannadew is a GF bakery on Battersea High Street, which I am yet to visit. Craving a donut? Order a box from Borough 22 (they are also vegan) or you can pick one up from the Selfridge’s food hall on Oxford Street, which also stocks a number of other specialist brands.
Lunch from Beyond Bread
Borough 22's gluten free vegan donuts
On Saturdays, I often visit Broadway Market in Hackney – it's my favourite food market in London. Eat ‘n’ Mess, a bakery based in Sevenoaks in Kent, has a stall there and their raspberry brownies are one of my favourite sweet treats. Broadway Market is also home to Floris Foods. My favourite lunch from this market is a box of curry from the Gujarati Rasoi stall.
At Borough Market, you will find the Free From Bakehouse. Pop into Greenwich Market to pick up a treat from Ruby’s of London (they also deliver throughout Greater London). If you have time for a mid-week market lunch, visit the Whitecross Street market in Islington and try one of the savoury galettes (my favourite is the Provençal – spinach, chicken, cheese and mustard) or a Buddha bowl (a box filled with a delicious combination of brown rice, massaman curry, carrots, greens and haloumi).
Food on the go
For meals and snacks on-the-go, keep an eye out for Leon, Itsu, Pod and Pret a Manger. Pod, Leon and Pret have clear shelf/menu labeling. At Itsu, ask to see the allergy list and avoid the soy sauce. Pod’s mango quinoa pot is my favourite take-away weekday breakfast and Leon offers a wide range of GF options, including falafel, meatballs and salads. If you are looking for a quick sandwich or a pre-made dinner to take home, pop into Marks & Spencer – their expanding “made without wheat” range comes in green packaging – pies, sausage rolls, lasagna, quiches, desserts. There are also GF items available outside of this range, including curries and soups, so it's worth checking the label.
Craving a burger? Honest Burger (their chips and onion rings are also GF and delicious). Pizza? Rosso Pomodorro. Vietnamese? Pho. Recent arrivals on the London GF scene are La Polentaria (Italian – Soho) and Niche (British - Angel), both of which are on my ever growing ‘to visit’ list! [Editor's note: WE've been to Niche and it's fantastic!] I have had lots of lovely GF dinners in London over the last couple of years. Some of my favourite meals (and places where the staff and kitchen have been helpful and knowledgeable) have been at Honey & Co (Warren Street), the Modern Pantry (Finsbury Square), Morito (Hackney Road), Salon Brixton (Brixton Market) and Ottolenghi’s Nopi (Soho).