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.

IMG_20170520_193340

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

IMG_20170520_200931

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.

IMG_20170520_202005

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.

IMG_20170520_201500

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.

IMG_20170520_203744

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.

Advertisements

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.

img_20170219_152939

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!!!

giphy

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.

img_20170211_170114

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: 

The Red Lion

Lovely Barnes, one of my favourite areas of London. Great for runs, bike rides, bird watching and visiting my friend Louise. It also just happens to have a fantastic pub, The Red Lion, which makes for an excellent post-exercise pit stop.

On this occasion I had just finished the Putney and Fulham half marathon so I was in desperate need for some refuelling.

The menu changes regularly and although they don’t indicate the allergens, the staff are very friendly and happy to find out what is or isn’t suitable for coeliacs. On the Sunday I was there, I treated myself to steak, chips a red wine.

As always the food was lovely, my steak perfectly rare and chips fluffy and massive, and the red wine was the perfect finisher. Unfortunately The Red Lion doesn’t do gluten free beer but who cares when you’re eating steak!

When in Barnes, visit The Red Lion, I really need to go there more often.

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.

pizzaandmore

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.

pizza

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 Camberwell Arms

The Camberwell Arms is one of my favourite pubs in London and just so happens to be very, very good at food. I hadn’t been back since I got diagnosed, until last Sunday to welcome my friend Matt to south east London.

The menu changes daily, so I had a quick look beforehand and there seemed to be a couple of options for me. When we arrived though, lots of the items had run out (top tip: get there before 2pm on a Sunday) so I asked our waiter if they had a gluten free menu. He took the menu and spoke to the chef, returning with a redacted version for me to order from. Great service!

We decided to have the Hereford sirloin, Bearnaise, roast potatoes and watercress for two and because we were sat at the bar overlooking the kitchen, we got to see the beast being flame grilled right in front of us. Amazing!

2016-09-04-15-17-15

The huge cut of beef was absolutely perfect – rare, juicy and beautifully seasoned. The roasties were a bit tough but we found dipping them in the meat juice softened them up a treat. The watercress salad was a lovely, fresh accompaniment.

I had meringue, peaches and cream (think Eton mess with peach) for dessert which was a great end to an amazing Sunday lunch. I cannot wait to go back again!

Le Petite Bretagne

Whenever I have lunch with my friend James, we always meet somewhere in between Tooting and Camberwell for convenience, so the day before I started frantically researching gluten free lunch options around Clapham.

I came across Le Petite Bretagne on Clapham Park Road, a creperie that specialises in savoury buckwheat (gluten and wheat free) crepes – perfect!

The restaurant itself is modern and spacious and the waiting staff are very attentive, we were seated immediately by the window and the menus explained.

2016-08-21 13.01.52

It’s a two step process, first you choose a savoury crepe and then a side salad. I went for a ‘Savoyard’ (cheese, ham, gherkin, potato and onion) and ‘Sergent pepper’ salad (peppers, pine nuts, Parmesan, olives and basil).

When our food arrived we were astonished by how big the portion sizes were (my photos don’t do them justice). They certainly don’t scrimp on crepe fillings or bulk out the salad with lettuce, ideal as we’d both been for long runs earlier that morning.

2016-08-21 13.16.32
Savoyard
2016-08-21 13.16.50-2
Sergent pepper

The pancake itself was delicious, buckwheat works so well for savoury pancakes. The combination of cheese, ham, gherkins, onions and potatoes was excellent (obviously) and it was great having the salad to offset the huge amounts of melted cheese.

We both decided to have dessert too, because we’d earned the extra calories from running.

I ordered the banana split and James the Nutella and banana waffle (sadly there were no gf waffle options).

2016-08-21 13.43.13

The banana split was massive, consisting of two chocolate chip and vanilla ice cream scoops, chopped banana, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. I had to give the wafer to James but the rest I took my time over and finished. Well worth the effort and the feeling of being unbearably full.

For all you non-special dietary requirement people out there, the waffle looked amazing too and apparently tasted incredible.

WhatsApp Image 2016-08-21 at 15.30.17
Thanks for the photo James

I can’t wait to go back to La Petite Bretagne, the food was great and it’s so nice to have something different than the usual gluten free buns/pizza bases you often have to rely on for lunches.

Top marks to La Petite Bretagne! Clapham has suddenly become far more appealing!

There’s also a restaurant in Hammersmith on Beadon Road. Hurrah!

Beyond Bread

Since I was diagnosed with coeliac disease I can’t count how many hundreds of people have told me about Beyond Bread, and so when I found myself in Fitzrovia at lunchtime last week, I finally decided to try it out.

2016-08-17 13.05.36

I was so impressed with the sheer volume of beautiful cakes, pastries, sandwiches, toasties etc. in such a small bakery and all gluten free. It’s a coeliac’s dream!

cakessandwiches

I went for a ‘wild thing’ baguette (salami, spinach, mozzarella and artichokes) and a chocolate chip muffin for good measure.

The sandwich was delicious, the baguette itself was one of the best gluten free ones I’ve had, it was way more ‘normal’ than all the usual gluten free alternatives, and the fillings were clearly of a very high standard and yummy.

The muffin tasted just like a regular chocolate chip muffin, which is high praise indeed as gluten free muffins are usually the worst.

A word of warning though, Beyond Bread is very expensive, it was £4.75 for a half size baguette (£5.70 if you eat in). Throw in the £2 muffin and I managed to spend £6.75 on what ended up being a pretty small lunch, albeit a tasty one.

I’ll definitely be getting my lunch from Beyond Bread again but maybe just on pay day.

Beyond Bread have two locations in London, Charlotte Place and Upper Street.

Poncho8

I LOVE burritos but sadly there aren’t many places that do gluten free tortillas, so I’ve been sampling the alternatives around London and Poncho8 is the winner so far.

poncho8

Unlike the Chilango, Poncho8 has a handy allergens list so it’s easy to choose what to have in your burrito box.

On my most recent visit to the New Street Square branch, I went for spicy pork with tomato rice, peppers and onions (instead of beans), salad, grated cheese, jalapenos, medium and hot sauce, finished off with a sprinkling of fried chorizo bits.

buritto
It may not look pretty but it tastes incredible!

Poncho8’s spicy pork is my absolute favourite filling. It’s so tender having been marinaded overnight, rich in flavour and mildly spicy. I also love that Poncho8  does fried chorizo as an extra, it really adds to the already deep flavour of the pork and even though it’s an extra £1, it’s totally worth it.

I highly recommend Poncho8 if you’re after a really tasty, filling lunch without any gluten worries. The food here also works miracles on hangovers. Enjoy!

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.

Canal

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.

IMG_20160811_181459
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.

IMG_20160811_182834
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.

IMG_20160811_183146525
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.