Gluten-free Dining in London

Apr 15th, 2008, 08:42 AM
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Gluten-free Dining in London

We'll be in London in a month, and I'm trying to compile a list of restaurants that are Celiac-aware. I tried checking a British Coeliac website, but their dining list is restricted to paid members only.

We know that the major supermarkets have a free-from range of gluten free products, and will probably stock up on things for breakfast and snacks at one of them. We're staying near Charing Cross station--The street name is York Buildings and zip code is WC2N 6LS. Can someone tell me if there are larger supermarkets there, or are we better to go to another neighborhood. We also know there is a whole Foods Market in Kensington, so that might be a direction to head on our first afternoon. We arrive at Gatwick at 8:15AM, and will take the train(Southern?) into London. After getting the key for our flat, we'll want to explore a bit and lay in some provisions.

We would especially love to find a source of artisanal gluten-free breads, as very often the stuff in supermarkets is marginal in taste.
Thanks in advance for any help, Barb
Barb_in_Ga is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 08:50 AM
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I'm afraid I can't help specifically with London, but I am a coeliac living in the UK. You will find a large selection of gluten free foods in any of the large supermarkets - eg Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda. I'm afraid the breads are not that great in any of these - I tend to make my own - but some of the part-baked stuff is not too bad. You can also get rice cakes almost anywhere, so you won't starve! Hope you're lucky with the whole foods market!
BettyB is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 09:06 AM
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are you dairy and legume free as well?

If not, Indian food, other than the bread, with the exception of papadum is going to be gluten free.

this also lists places in London (and some other countries):
cherrybomb is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 09:16 AM
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sorry didn't read the whole post--you are looking for groceries, not restaurants...
cherrybomb is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 10:29 AM
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I buy an excellent gluten-free bread from my local health food shop, but that is 100 miles from London! However I googled the following words <<bakers who make gluten-free bread in London>> and have found one for you...

...and it seems there might be more.

All the big supermarkets have a very good selection of G/F foods. Waitrose is another one to look out for as well as Sainsburys and Tesco.

How long are you in England for? I also found this online store, so you might be able to arrange an order and delivery before you leave...

Good luck and have a great time.

julia_t is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 11:09 AM
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Whole Food Market is a bit of a shlep: the smaller UK chain they bought, Fresh & Wild, has a much nearer branch in Brewer St, W1.

You're going to be in an area with a fair smattering of small health food shops (Holland & Barrett is on practically ever street corner: input'health food' and the postcode in the "find business" bit of Google maps.

BUT if you input 'supermarket' you actually get a slew of the tiny branches of the big chains the area round your flat is awash with. These are usually excellent for instant eating: they're not so good for diatary specialities (they're VERY small). You'll also get a slew of mediocrities like Cost Cutter which you really don't want to get involved with.

I can't think of serious-sized branches of serious chains any nearer than:
- Waitrose at the Brunswick Centre, WC1N 1AF
- Sainsbury's at the bottom of Tottenham Court Rd, next to TCR tube
- the food hall at John Lewis in Oxford St, which is a Waitrose for serious foodies.
flanneruk is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 07:27 PM
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Thanks, everyone, for the helpful responses. I'm looking into the various suggestions.

Juliat-I plan to correspond by email with the baker you mentioned, and perhaps have some items ready for us on our arrival day.

FlannerUK--thanks for the listing of close-by supermarkets; we'll check out 1 or 2 as we make our way around. I mentioned Whole Foods because that is where we currently buy bread and other baked items here in Atlanta. I'll email Fresh and Wild to find out if they do fresh GF bread in their store in London. Otherwise, the health-food stores may have what we need.

If anyone else reads this thread, additional restaurant ideas would be welcome. Thanks, Barb
Barb_in_Ga is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 10:40 PM
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bookmarking, got a friend who's allergic to wheat (not gluten, but most of what she can eat is gluten free) and possibly might go together to London in the future. Thanks!
caladrius is offline  
Apr 16th, 2008, 05:24 AM
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Many sandwich chains--Pret-a-Manger, EAT--have wheat-free sandwiches but I'm not sure if it's entirely gluten-free.

I believe most restaurants are happy to accomodate special diets if you ask in advance. In general, they're quite good at indicating things for vegetarians, nut-allergies, I think I've seen wheet-free on some occasions.
W9London is offline  
Apr 16th, 2008, 08:01 AM
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Most packged food in supermarkets has allergy/dietary information shown on the back.

Your nearest supermarket is a small Tesco on Bedford Street (off the Strand). It has a selection of gluten free biscuits, cakes, bread, breakfast cereals and pasta on a shelf facing the bread and milk sections, at the back. There are also lots of ready meals and fresh soups, and some will be suitable.

A slightly larger Sainsbury's is on Victoria Street (catch the number 11 bus from outside Charing Cross Station) and get off outside the Army & Navy department store. Sainsbury's is opposite.

Holland & Barrett tends to sell dietary supplements, but there was a branch on Villiers Street, as you walk towards Embankment tube station).

A better shop for gluten free diets is Greens Foods on Strutton Ground.
This is a road off Victoria Street with a small market on it, about a block before Army & Navy.

Eat sells sandwiches and salads, and gives clear allergy information for each item. Some of the salads would be OK. There is a branch on Villiers Street.

De Gustibus sells artisan bread, including spelt bread. For branches see:
I think that the Borough Market shop is open Mon-Sat, but the market is only on Thurs-Sat.

Londonres is offline  
Apr 16th, 2008, 08:55 AM
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A few places have gluten free dishes marked on their menus:

La Tasca - Spanish tapas bar and restaurant chain. Nearest branches are at Cardinal Place, Victoria Street (200m beyond Sainsbury's)
and 23-24 Maiden Lane (near Tesco and Covent Garden).

J D Wetherspoons - a large pub chain that serves standard food. Nearest pub is The Lord Moon of the Mall, at the Trafalgar Square end of Whitehall.

Wagamama - a chain of noodle bars. The nearest is at 1 Tavistock St, at the corner with Southampton Street, Covent Garden. It's best to print off the information on this link, and take it with you:

Other places will help you ensure a gluten free meal:

Cotto Bar, Pizzeria and Restaurant -89 Westminster Bridge Road, Waterloo, London, SE1 7HR. This friendly Italian restaurant is happy to provide celiac dishes if you phone and warn in advance:

Mela - a popular Indian restaurant
at 152-156 Shaftesbury Avenue

Texas Embassey - Tex Mex restaurant at Trafalgar Square.

Londonres is offline  
Apr 16th, 2008, 09:03 AM
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The Villiers St branch of Holland and Barrett is still there as far as I know, and that will be only a few steps from where you're staying.

Otherwise, flanner is spot-on about supermarkets that are likely to have the range you need.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Apr 16th, 2008, 11:05 PM
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Just a warning about Wagamama - yes they do serve plenty of rice and rice noodle dishes, but they use soy sauce which contain wheat.

Since they use the soy sauce in their marinating, preparation and cooking, you need to be very careful with what you order, as we found to our cost after eating there once evening and then couldn't take up our booked theatre seats!

We have found soy sauce to be a hidden danger because many people don't actually realise it contains wheat. Tamari is a wheat-free soy sauce.
julia_t is offline  
Apr 16th, 2008, 11:07 PM
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I've just seen the link Londonres posted - well good for Wagamama, because that information wasn't available a while back and we have avoided the places ever since! I'm glad to see that.
julia_t is offline  
Apr 17th, 2008, 06:58 AM
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on the tamari--you have to check the label--there is wheat-free tamari and tamari with wheat--learned the hard way

cherrybomb is offline  
Apr 17th, 2008, 08:26 AM
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Thanks for everyone's updated replies. Yes, we are aware that soy sauce is usually an insidious source of wheat, and therefore gluten. We have better luck at home with Chinese, rather than Japanese cooking since we can order from many selections that do not use soy sauce.

The degustibus site showed beautiful breads, but they made no mention of offering gluten-free items. The spelt is an ancient type of wheat, and contains gluten, as does rye. Most gluten-free breads are made from a combination of rice, corn, potato, and bean flours. Unfortunately, to remain gluten-free they must be produced in a dedicated area with mixers and utensils that have not been exposed to wheat, barley, and rye--a tough thing to do for a regular bakery.

I emailed Whole Foods Gluten-Free Bakehouse, but they told me they only produce the baked goods for stores in the USA. They recommended that I call or visit the London store to find out if they have gluten-free bakery products. Unfortunately, they couldn't provide me with an email address for the UK stores.

We'll check out some of the suggested places here for restaurant meals. Thanks, Barb
Barb_in_Ga is offline  
Apr 19th, 2008, 01:01 AM
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I know that many celiacs can cope with spelt, but here are some other options:

You could contact Greens Foods (I included a link in my first post). The people here are very helpful, and they would probably ensure that they have some quality gluten free bread for you.

The following Fresh & Wild store is in Soho and it is another possibility. Village Bakery (which makes gluten free bread in a dedicated bakery) supplies this chain. It's 1 minute from Piccadilly Circus.

Londonres is offline  
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