So in my very long diatribe about my food allergies originally posted in 2007, I stated that when one discovers that they have a wheat allergy that it will be very hard if not impossible to dine out in the future. My how things have changed in the space of a few years! When I first discovered my allergy I was always having horrible reactions when trying to dine out. Not so now! Food allergies are on the minds of a lot of restaurants these days and they are doing their best to help us not only to dine out, but to dine out WELL. Here’s a few of my faves in London.
1. Pod (fresh seasonal food for breakfast and lunch)
This place is brilliant. They have very nice gluten and wheat-free selections and a focus on the ecological. The food is gorgeous and you can even enjoy a nice dessert! Dig in!
2. Wagamama (japanese)
Did you know that Wagamama actually has an allergy menu? if you ask when you arrive they’ll be happy to accommodate you. Just don’t ask for an avocado to feed your baby, but that’s another story! I usually get the Yasai Itame, a delicious spicy soup with tofu, veg and a coconut and lemongrass broth. It’s HUGE and delicious. *note* do NOT eat the edamame at Wagamama if you are avoiding wheat. They cook this in the same water as the noodles which takes away it’s wheat-free status. A stupid move on Wagamama part I think, but what can I say? I do have some issues with this places despite loving the food here I can eat.
3. Leon (Good Food, Fast)
Yes, lovely Leon cater to us wheatnayers. Brilliantly in fact. There are so many things on the menu that you can have, including desserts…that you’ll actually find yourself with a choice. Yes, it’s true. A dilemma I can’t say I usually have when dining out! If you are in there in the evening, try the wheat-free brownie a la mode. !!! My favourite main is the Quinoa Superfood Salad. It’s perfect.
4. Cotto (delicious Italian)
I don’t go here too often because it’s a bit out of my way but the lovely owner of this restaurant is himself in fact a Celiac. There’s a special gluten free menu and this includes pizza, gnocchis, and pastas. All delicious and even gluten free bread as a starter!
5. Tortilla (mexican burritos and tacos)
This is the only place on my main list that I go that doesn’t actively cater to wheat-free patrons. They are very nice when you ask them to wrap the corn tortillas for tacos in foil before putting them on the grill and to change their gloves. But if your allergy is severe, you need to be careful. I keep meaning to write them a note asking if they have plans to train their staff on wheat-free preparation. I’ll keep you updated. Also you can get what it called a ‘naked’ burrito, which is everything but the wheaty tortilla in a bowl. It’s delicious and very fresh.
Other places to try Ooze Risottoria, Kondidor and Cook (desserts), Mildred’s (vegetarian), Hummus Bros (big delightful bowls of hummus), and Vitaorganic (lovely organic veggie food served from copper cauldrons)
I guess as in all things, if you are not sure of something when dining out…ASK. If the staff don’t know then you probably need to be a bit wary. Most chefs are willing to tell you every ingredient that is in a dish to help you know what you can and cannot eat, but remember that many places have not trained staff on how not to cross contaminate food. Eating out is always a bit of a risk for the severely allergic…but you can be pretty certain that if a restaurant has an allergy menu that they will have addressed these issues. Please let me know great places I haven’t mentioned and your experiences in dining out wheat-free in London. Enjoy!