Street Monkey

As I travel a lot for work, I sometimes don’t have time to cook myself dinner and so rely on ready meals to see me through. Not the most healthy of habits, so I was delighted when I came across Street Monkey whilst browsing Sourced Market in St Pancras.

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Street Monkey meals come as a set of three tiffin boxes, which include a curry, a side and a rice. Best of all, they are gluten, wheat, dairy free, are made with no artificial ingredients and use ethical meat.

I went for the Spicy Goan Coconut Beef curry set, which comes with a side of Chennai Aloo (chickpea and potato in a tomato sauce) and pea pilau rice.

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You stick them all in the microwave for a few minutes and voila…your Indian feast is ready to eat.

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This Street Monkey meal was one of the best ready meals I’ve ever had. The sauce was rich and spicy and the beef was better quality than in some restaurants I’ve been to. I’ll certainly be buying one of these again.

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Lardo

Before going to see the excellent Lost in the Riots at The Brewhouse Venue in Hackney, my friend Matt and I had some dinner at Lardo to try out their gluten free pizza bases.

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Lardo is a cool Italian in The Arthaus Building on Richmond Road and is very popular. Although it looks quiet in the photo, by about 6.30pm is was packed, so booking is recommended.

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Lardo does the whole Italian shebang, spuntini, anitpasti, primi, secondi etc. etc. I ordered the spicy seafood marinara pizza on a gluten free base.

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The topping was lovely but unfortunately the base was no where near as good as the Theos standard. Matt didn’t really enjoy his regular pizza either and considering how expensive they are, we probably won’t go back again.

Yosma

Back in July I had the pleasure of visiting Yosma, a Turkish small plates restaurant on Baker Street. I’m not usually one for small plates but I saw a great review of Yosma and decided to give it a go.

Like most Turkish restaurants, there was a lots of meaty, gluten free options so I knew I wouldn’t go hungry despite the size of the portions.

While we were deciding on what to have, my friend Matt ordered some Clay Oven Bread. Obviously I couldn’t have any, but once I’d told the waiting staff I was a coeliac they bought me over some gluten free bread so I didn’t miss out.

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We ordered four small plates each – one cold meze, one hot meze and two mangal dishes.

First up, the Salt Cured Mackerel (Çiroz) with pickled shallot, apple and dill, which was absolutely delicious. Meaty mackerel, perfectly cured – we were off to a good start!

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Calamari next, battered using chickpea flour so it’s completely gluten free!

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This was followed by the Turkish Meatballs (Köfte) – Lamb shoulder köfte, steamed potato and muhammara sauce. I’m not a huge fan of köfte usually, it reminds me of those greasy sticks of meat you get at crap office parties. Yosma’s köfte however, is superb and the sauce a rich, tasty version of the chilli sauce you get with your doner kebabs!

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The star of the show next, Chicken (Tavuk) – corn-fed chicken breast, charred corn, green pepper and tahini sauce.

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This is one of the best chicken dishes I have ever had and the reason I’ll be going back to Yosma asap.

Unfortunately there wasn’t much in the way of gluten free dessert, so sadly I had to go without.

I definitely recommend Yosma as a great gluten free option, in an area that is rife with chains and tourists. Not only was the food amazing, the staff were knowledgeable, friendly and very accommodating.

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!