Caravan, Kings Cross

Caravan, located in the beautiful Granary Square near Kings Cross station, is another great option for the gluten-free (especially when the queues for Dishoom are too long). Caravan does tapas style small plates, hearty but interesting mains and pizzas.

I asked for the gluten free menu on arrival and was pleased to see that I had plenty of options amongst the ‘small plates’. Pizza is obviously out and most of the mains I sadly couldn’t have, so on the advice of the waitress I ordered 3 of the smalls.

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I went for the burrata with ancho chilli, pan-fried mackerel and the brown shrimp with grits.

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Having recently enjoyed some amazing burrata when I was in Italy and at the Camberwell Arms, I was very excited about this plate. Unfortunately it didn’t quite meet my expectations. It wasn’t as creamy as I had hoped and the salsa didn’t pack the punch I was after. It was still nice, just not as nice as I wanted it to be.

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The mackerel on the other hand, was delicious. The pine nuts and sultanas worked perfectly with the fish, which was fresh and juicy. My one criticism is that the skin wasn’t as crispy as I like it to be.

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Another dish which came with high expectations after my New York experience, but again left me a disappointed. Shrimp and grits are always a winning combo so I shouldn’t really complain but…the grits were a little sloppy rather than fluffy and the shrimp was a bit too sweet rather than salty. I still ate and enjoyed it all with a spoon though!

Even after 3, not so small plates, I still had room for a pudding. So I ordered the coconut panna cotta with passion fruit coulis, which was fabulous.

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I feel like I’ve been a bit harsh on Caravan purely because I got my hopes up. It’s actually a really lovely restaurant, with great food, loads of gluten free options in an awesome location. Judge it for yourself, booking is necessary because they are always busy!

Caravan has three locations now – Kings Cross, Exmouth Market and Bankside.

Busaba Eathai – Deliveroo

Every Sunday hangover deserves a takeaway, so this week having noticed Busaba Eathai was now available for me on Deliveroo, I decided to treat myself to some Thai food.

Busaba handily indicates which dishes are gluten free on their menu, which makes it very easy – helpful when you’re feeling a little worse for wear.

I ordered the fish cakes with cucumber and peanut relish, green chicken curry, steamed jasmine rice and prawn crackers. It arrived about 25 minutes later, still piping hot.

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As I served up, I was a disappointed with the curry’s sauce to chicken ratio, it was so wet the rice completely drowned and it only had about two pieces of chicken in it.

The fish cakes were average at best – greasy, rubbery and the dip was just sweet chilli sauce rather than the cucumber and peanut relish promised.

The curry itself tasted really good despite being mainly sauce, creamy and rich with a mild spice and the chicken was tender and juicy. Supposedly it should have contained aubergine as well but there was no sign of any.

Overall it did the job and helped me on my way to recovery but it’s weird that I can get Busaba in my area because there isn’t a restaurant anywhere near. I have a feeling they are letting a local kitchen cook on their behalf, which would explain why corners were cut and ingredients missed.

Again, if you want to try it for yourself you can get £5 off your first Deliveroo order by using my invite link: 

Theo’s

Before being diagnosed with Coeliac disease, I was a Theo’s regular even attending their opening night, so I absolutely was gutted when I had to stop eating there. Then a few weeks ago, my friend and I were discussing how great it was and he mentioned they’d developed a gluten free dough!!!

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I promptly gave them a call and ordered a pizza for collection and voila, 10 minutes later I was chowing down on honestly the best gluten free pizza I have ever had.

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I went for the Napoli Salami with added aubergine on a gluten free base. The ingredients they use at Theo’s are of the highest quality, including the dough which they’ve clearly spent some time developing as it tastes just like the regular stuff. The salami was peppery and crisp, mozzarella creamy and aubergine perfectly cooked. Finished off with spicy chilli and the freshest of basil, I was an extremely happy customer and am in danger of developing a pretty severe pizza habit to make up for lost time.

Choosing to have your pizza on a gluten free base will cost you an extra £3, which is a little steep but I’m very happy to continue to pay it so they keep doing it! Occasionally Theo’s pops up on Deliveroo, so if you live in Camberwell you can get £5 off your first order with my Deliveroo link: 

Peter

This week I was away for work in glamorous Loughborough, so as always I went to Google to research potential dinner venues. Not much was coming up other than the usual Pizza Express, Nandos etc and a few cafes that closed too early. Then I stumbled across Peter, a cool looking pizza place that does gluten free bases.

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The menu had a good selection, nothing too out of the ordinary but thankfully not a pineapple chunk in sight!

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I ordered the Diavola on a gluten free base and a glass of house white. I’m always relieved when you order gluten free alternatives and the waiters don’t flinch or look confused, it’s very reassuring. Thanks Peter staff!

The kitchen was open and I was sat next to the pizza oven, which was lovely as it was 0 degrees outside and all the regular pizzas being cooked looked delicious, so I had high hopes.

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It arrived with the look of a high quality gluten free pizza, however when I cut in to it I was disappointed. I’m not sure if the base was under-cooked or it just wasn’t very good but the centre of the pizza was very dry and gritty.

I probably would have complained if I wasn’t so hungry, so instead I ate the outer edge and the topping, which was actually very good.

I think Peter just suffered from a bad base because all the other customers were happily dining and the ingredients they used for the toppings were clearly great. If I were to find myself in Loughborough again, I’d give Peter a second chance and actually say something if I found the base under-cooked. Plus, your bill is delivered by a cute little dragon which is worth a repeat visit alone.

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Peter also has a branch in Leicester if you are an East Midlands resident and fancy giving it a go.

Motu Indian Kitchen – Deliveroo

I’d heard great things about Motu Indian Kitchen from other food bloggers so when I was faced with another freezing night, I thought I’d give it a go.

Indian food tends to be pretty good for gluten free options but it’s rare to find the allergens shown on the menu. Motu does though and all of the mains and most of the sides are gluten free – hurrah!!

I went for the Madras Prawn Masala, plain rice, poppadoms and a side of Kachumber Raita.

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It arrived really quickly (big thanks to the very cold Deliveroo cyclist) so was still piping hot. At first I was a little worried about the portion size as it looked a bit small but I was just being a pig, once I plated it up it was the ideal amount for one.

The curry itself was amazing! Rich, flavoursome with just the right amount of spice. The kachumber raita was lovely – fresh and cooling unlike the usual bright green crap you get at bog standard takeaways.

Honestly this was one of the best Indian meals I’ve ever had, from a takeaway or a restaurant!

Motu is delivery only using Deliveroo and has kitchens in Camberwell and Battersea. So if you live in the area, I’d highly recommend you try it out. If you’re new to Deliveroo, you can get £5 off your first order by using my invite link: . Enjoy! 

The Hanbury Arms

Before going to see the wonderfully funny 2 Become 1 at the Kings Head Theatre back in December, my friends and I headed to The Hanbury Arms for a gluten free pizza.

When I arrived and asked about the gf pizza bases, the bar staff looked slightly perplexed and disappeared out the back to check the freezer. Not an ideal start to an evening. A few minutes later, they came back with the happy news that they had 1 gf base left. Thank god!

The Hanbury Arms offers a large variety of pizza, including my favourite – spicy salami with aubergine and basil. I love aubergine, so I had high hopes for this one.

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As with all gluten free pizzas, it arrived much smaller than regular ones, what I didn’t expect was just how stingey they were with the aubergine! You might just be able to make it out, it’s the tiny brown bits in between the salami. Gutted.

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Lack of aubergine aside, the pizza was really tasty, around about the Pizza Express level of quality. So if you’re looking for a decent, reasonably priced, gf pizza to fill you up, I’d definitely recommend The Hanbury Arms. If you’re looking for quality toppings, then it might not be for you. Sadly, there’s also no gluten free beer here.

The Athenian – UberEats

The on-set of freezing winter nights has meant less eating out and more ordering in! Armed with a money off code, I downloaded UberEats (use my code eats-35bnp to get £10 off your first order) and began looking at my options as a coeliac.

First up, The Athenian a souvlaki restaurant in Elephant and Castle.

Traditionally souvlaki is grilled meat, halloumi, salad etc. served in pita bread. However The Athenian also do gluten free boxes!

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Just a small selection of the large gf range!

I ordered the GF box with chicken and halloumi, sat back and waited for it to arrive. Less than 30 minutes later it was at my door!

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The portion size was so big, I had to transfer it from the box to a plate just so I could reach all the goodness!

Unfortunately the chicken was a little dry on this occasion but I put this down to how early I was ordering! The addition of fries and a ton of tzatziki made up for the chicken, so I’ll definitely be ordering from The Athenian again.

They also have branches in Shoreditch and the City so you don’t have to live in the South East to enjoy it!

I Sea Pasta

Last week the lovely people at Seamore sent me some I Sea Pasta to try out. So this weekend, with no idea what to expect from pasta made out of seaweed, I rustled up a sauce from stuff I had in the fridge and tested it out.

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Just like regular pasta the seaweed comes dried, so to cook it you can either pop it in boiling water for 15 minutes, or soak it in hot water for about 20. I decided to boil it for ease.

I wasn’t sure about the quantities so I just cooked it all, hoping to save some leftover for lunch.

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At this point I was feeling a little sceptical about the whole thing as it didn’t exactly look appetising but I persevered and made up my sauce. Here’s my recipe, should you want to have a go yourself:

Protein Packed Pasta Sauce

  • Bunch of spring onions (sliced)
  • 1 clove of garlic (crushed)
  • 2 rashers of bacon (diced)
  • 1 can of tuna
  • handful of frozen peas
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • a couple of slices of mozzarella .

In a large pan, heat a dash of olive oil and sauté the bacon, onions and garlic until cooked. Stir in the tomatoes and tuna and leave to simmer for about 7 minutes (or for as long as it takes for the pasta to cook). Throw in the peas and continue to simmer for another 3 minutes. Season with pepper (I didn’t add salt because the tuna and bacon are naturally salty) and you’re ready to plate up. Once the pasta is done, drain it and top with the sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top for a cheesy finish.

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My sauce aside, I LOVED sea pasta. It’s firm and tasty, such a pleasant surprise. A really great alternative to gluten free pasta and the endless volumes of rice us coeliacs have to endure. It keeps excellently too, I managed to get 2 days worth of lunch out of it and it was great cold.

You can buy it directly form the Seamore website or at Whole Foods (London), Planet Organic and The Grocery (Kingsland Road). So now I have an amazing excuse for a lunchtime trip to WholeFoods!

Arepa & Co

Ahead of a trip to Draughts with some friends, I was finding it really difficult to source a suitable place to eat around the Haggerston/Kingsland Road area. As much as I wanted to peruse the lovely Vietnamese restaurants of Kingsland, we only had an hour to eat and I didn’t fancy having to work out what I can and can’t eat and risk being hungry for board game fun.

After multiple failed ‘gluten free restaurants in Haggerston’ searches, I turned to trusty Google maps to check the menus of the restaurants nearby and that’s when I came across Arepa & Co, a Venezuelan restaurant right on the canal.

It was the first place I’d found that actually indicated allergens on the menu including cereal containing gluten, celery, eggs, fish, milk, mustard, nuts, and soya beans. Best of all, it turns out Venezuelan food is naturally pretty coeliac friendly so I booked a table straight away.

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We arrived at the small, waterside restaurant and were greeted by friendly waiting staff who seated us and quickly took our drinks order – wine for me and Venezuelan beer for everyone else.

Having never eaten Venezuelan food before I wanted to go for something authentic, so I ordered a starter of Yuka and an Arepa main.

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Yuka – Cassava fingers with granny’s recipe of garlic and parsley sauce

Cassava is a South American root vegetable, which tasted like a cross between potato and celeriac. The Yuka starter is deep fried cassava with a rich garlic dip, essentially like having some chips as an appetizer, which is all good in my books.

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Arepa with shredded beef, cheddar, black beans and plantain

Arepa is like a corn bread patty that is traditionally eaten in Columbia and Venezuela and as it’s made for maize is gluten and wheat free. I opted for the ‘Pabellón’ arepa which contains shredded beef, cheddar, black beans and plantain.

When it arrived I initially thought it was a bit on the small side but once I got started I realised just how packed full of meat, beans and cheese it was. I was completely full afterwards.

The shredded beef was incredible and the beans and cheese obviously went very well with it. The plantain was an interesting addition, adding a little sweetness to the rich beef, which I loved but I imagine might not be for everyone.

Another similar gluten free main was my friend Laura’s one – the restaurant’s signature dish of Pabellón Criollo. Also consisting of shredded beef, cheese, black beans and plantain but layered on rice and with a little flower garnish.

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Pabellon Criollo (thanks for the photo Laura)

Unfortunately there was no time for dessert but next time, and there will be a next time, I’m going to try the coconut ice cream.

Overall Arepa & Co was a great experience – the food is delicious and the service exceptional. Our waiter was very attentive, asking us about our plans for the evening, how we found out about the restaurant and chatting knowledgeably about the food and what does and doesn’t contain gluten. He also came to say goodbye when his shift ended, wishing us a good night. Lovely.

A great find in an area with little or difficult to find gluten free places to eat.

Dishoom

I’ve been a loyal customer of Dishoom since the first restaurant opened on St Martin’s Lane in 2010. Six years later and now a reluctant coeliac, I’m still as dedicated as a ever.

On Saturday, after walking the Parkland Walk, me and my friend Matt decided to refuel at the Kings Cross restaurant – the first time I’ve visited since d-day.

Miraculously there was no queue (probably because it was 3.30pm) and we were seated straight away. I asked for the gluten-free menu and was presented with one that highlighted everything gf and everything that could be modified (a sign of a great restaurant). Pleasingly there were lots of options, so we ordered lots of food:

  • Dishoom chicken tikka – OMFG
  • Gun powder potatoes – how I’m going to do all potatoes from now on
  • House black daal – not a fan of daal usually but this one is so good I make an exception
  • Chicken ruby – rich curry with a lovely warm kick
  • Kachumber – fresh salsa, perfect contrast to a spicy curry
  • Garlic naan (Matt’s order) – Me: is your garlic naan nice? Matt: Yeah, very.

The food and service never fails to impress and restaurants themselves are something to behold. If you don’t believe me, Dishoom even beat Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner to top Yelp’s best restaurant in the UK list!