With gluten-free diets on the rise, London's cafes, restaurants, and bakeries have upped the ante when it comes to offering alternative menus. Sure, there are plenty of chain restaurants catering to the masses but there are also a number of independent eateries cooking up a gluten-free storm and a growing number of dedicated 100% gluten-free dining options.
Have your gluten-free cake and eat it with our guide to Gluten-Free Afternoon Tea in London.
Beyond Bread, Fitzrovia and Islington
Beyond Bread is a 100% gluten-free bakery with branches in Fitzrovia and Islington. The intimate cafes have tables inside and out and counters laden with sourdough, brioche, baguettes, sandwiches and sweet treats including red velvet cupcakes and cheesecakes. The cafes are open all day for coffees and cakes to early-evening sandwiches. Brunch is served every day.
This laid-back restaurant between Clerkenwell and Islington serves a 100% gluten-free menu. Everything from the breads, pies and cakes to the gourmet dishes served in the evening, are made fresh on site with ingredients from local suppliers. It's just next door to Sadler's Wells theatre and the restaurant serves a great value pre-theatre menu.
Manna in Primrose Hill is London's oldest vegetarian restaurant and offers a higher quality of cuisine. There are plenty of gluten-free options on the menu and the chef's specials can often be adapted. The portions may be on the small side but you won't go hungry. And it's a real treat to see vegetarian food presented so well. Also, the ingredients used are all GM free and are organic as often as possible.
Wagamama, Various Locations
The Wagamama restaurants are modeled on Japan's popular ramen bars and there are over 15 branches in London. They feature long bench seats and food that is served quickly. Let your server know your dietary requirements and a large list of dishes can be made gluten or wheat-free. You can see the gluten-free menu options online before visiting.
St James Hotel and Club, Mayfair
I compared the gluten-free and standard afternoon tea at St James Hotel and Club and it was very hard to spot the difference.
Mildred's is a Soho institution and has been serving well-priced hearty, vegetarian meals for over 20 years. As well as offering a tasty vegetarian menu, they use fair trade organic coffee, organic milk, and soya milk for their drinks. Many of the dishes are also gluten free. Their bar also has well-chosen wines and beers. Find out more.
Whole Foods Market is the world's largest retailer of natural and organic foods, with stores throughout North America and the U.K. London's flagship store is in the iconic Barkers Building on Kensington High Street with an upstairs floor of dining options and two floors of shopping. The store stocks a huge range of gluten-free products. There are also outlets in Camden, Soho, Clapham, Fulham, Richmond and Stoke Newington.
Italian Options, Various Locations
If you really miss carbohydrate-rich Italian cuisine then you'll be pleased to discover that Pizza Express has a gluten-free menu that not only includes salads and sides but also pizzas made with a gluten-free base.
If it's pasta you're craving, Spaghetti House can prepare gluten-free pasta without notice but you need to be prepared for the 15 minutes cooking time.
Leon, Various Locations
Leon serves healthy, fresh, seasonal dishes and is popular for lunch and take-outs. It's a 'fast-food' cafe but aims to provide organic and fair-trade produce. It caters for special dietary requirements so the menu has symbols for gluten-free, wheat-free and more.
All branches of Honest Burger offer gluten-free buns so just let staff know when ordering. They do point out that meals are not prepared in a totally gluten-free environment but they do only use good quality ingredients.