At The Food Diary Co we know eating out in a new city is an exciting and terrifying prospect in equal measure. So we're getting our favourite gluten free, low FODMAP and Dairy free folks to tell you their secret favourite places to eat in their cities!
First up, Kemi from The Intolerant Foodie blog is taking us to all four corners of London to show us her favourite eateries! Take it away Kemi...
As many of you know, this month is IBS awareness month. IBS is something that effects many millions of people, with most sufferers going throughout their life undiagnosed! IBS is currently incurable and therefore can only be managed to alleviate symptoms, which I believe is best done by avoiding those foods that exacerbate the condition. IBS can cause sufferers an incredible amount of pain and discomfort (not only physically, but mentally as well) and over the years I have found that cutting out dairy (as well as gluten) from my diet has been the most effective way of managing those symptoms for me.
Anyone who suffers from any of the funny tummy diseases such as coeliac disease, lactose intolerance or IBS (to name but a few) will understand the annoyance and frustration that arises if you simply want to go out for dinner at a restaurant. From checking that the restaurant can even cater for your needs and making sure that the food is prepared in such a way to avoid cross contamination, to being "that person" that needs all the substitutions and modifications on your dish so that you can actually eat anything on the menu without getting ill! Eurgh!
Well, in this blog post, I hope to alleviate some of that frustration and annoyance by providing a list of some of my most favourite restaurants that cater fully for gluten and dairy free diets. All my recommendations below are based in London and only scratch the surface of some the things that are out there, but it is a great starting point if you're new to gluten-free london!
Location: 141 Junction Road, London, N195PX
When I first went to Lost Boys Pizza I really did not know what to expect. It was on the off chance that a friend recommended we go there because she is lactose intolerant but really fancied some pizza. so I thought, why not - turning down pizza really ain't my style. I can honestly tell you, so far it is the best gluten free and vegan pizza I have tasted. Don't be put off by the signature black charcoal bases because these are truly the essence of their unique flavour, and coupled with their delectable toppings and secret sauce, it is a pure food-gasm. The restaurant itself is small, so quite intimate in atmosphere and relaxed in ambience. There is a "killer" (the restaurant is vampire themed) selection of cocktails and a secret basement that can be hired out for larger parties.
Definitely felt no bloating after this meal, but was a little drunk.
Recommendation: order the Kale All Vampires and ask for their signature sauce for dipping
Location: 12 Broadway Market, London E8 4QJ
Invited to go along to gluten free brunch with some lovely gluten free girls, I was very excited and had high expectations for this place. Tucked away in an unassuming part of east London, The Bach will not leave you disappointed. This restaurant is more of a brekkie, lunch brunch vibe than a late evening dinner, but you will be blown away by the choice. The menu includes gluten free pancakes, the tastiest sweetcorn fritters and the chunkiest sweet potato chips. I was super happy and impressed with the selection, but most importantly left feeling not uncomfortably full and not ill the next day. This place is a winner!
Recommendation: Don't skip dessert and go for the gluten and dairy free waffles
Location: 1 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ
This Michelin guided Peruvian inspired restaurant will not disappoint. With just a glance at the restaurant's menu you will see a plethora of gluten free options to tempt your palate. Be prepared to be also visually blown away by each perfectly presented dish that comes to your table freshly prepared from the kitchen. Andina provides a a selection of small Peruvian style dishes that include one of my favourites, the Pato Santiago (braised duck on a bed of butterbean and pumpkin puree). The restaurant stands by its stance on making sure that it can adapt to meet your dietary requirements, so where there are options for gluten free dishes, these can also be made dairy free where possible. With an array of vegetarian and vegan options to also try, what's stopping you? Go and check them out.
Recommendation: Don't skip dessert and try the Dulche de Papya
Location: Coldharbour Lane, Unit 26 Brixton Village Market, London SW9 8PR
Nestled away in the vibrant and beautiful hub of Brixton Village, this place is a no brainer. it will always be my top pick for the south because of its variety of food as well as the fact that it specialises in catering for the needs of those who have certain dietary requirements. The owners understand the importance of ensuring quality in not only the taste of their food but also by having a completely dedicated gluten free kitchen. All food is handmade in their own kitchen, which includes their incredible brioche (yes, BRIOCHE!!) buns that they use for their ginormous hamburgers. I'm not a massive burger fan, but even these got me dancing on the ceiling they were so good. This restaurant is cosy in size, perfect on a romantic date or for a chilled meal with friends. They also provide fantastic brunch options too.
Recommendation: Not been able to have schnitzel since your diagnosis? Order the chicken schnitzel and be re-born!
Location: 64 Old Compton Street, London W1D 4UQ
If you haven't heard of Leggero, then you are in for one hell of a treat. Leggero has a completely dedicated gluten free kitchen providing the best gluten free pasta in London! The menu is clearly labelled to identify items that have nuts, dairy and even egg. The portion sizes are perfect, in that you feel comfortably full after your meal and every morsel of food packs a punch. It's so great to get to go out and eat pasta in good company and with good wine, just as the Italians do (and every other person with normal digestive systems!).
Recommendation: go for the stuffed calamari to start and the handmade “Sorghum Tagliatelle” with lamb sauce - yum.
Location: various locations around the UK which you can find out be clicking here
Pho is a restaurant that has become my go to when I am looking for something that is has variety, is tasty, is affordable and wont make me ill for a week afterwards. Most importantly it has been accredited and approved by Coeliac UK (winning!). Although it has become quite a large chain of restaurants, it has still managed to keep its authentic Vietnamese inspired cuisine. As you look down the whole menu you will notice that gluten free is more like the rule rather than the exception, with only a handful of their items not being celiac friendly. With such choice its hard to pick just one, hence the need to keep returning so I can try just about everything on the menu! The relaxed atmosphere of each Pho restaurant that I have been to also adds to the quality of the ambience, so you can enjoy your food that little bit more.
Recommendation: try the Phở Xào with lashings of their Sriracha sauce, because it is heaven (only if you can handle your spice).
I hope you have enjoyed this post and get to venture to some of the places mentioned above. Make sure you check out my instagram (@the_intolerant_foodie) and website www.theintolerantfoodblog.com for more inspo, recipes, recommendations and tips to living a gluten and dairy free life style without feeling