Leon is not strictly a restaurant, it's a chain of cafes and take out, but you can sit in and eat, and it does have some great gluten free and lots of other "free" options too on its healthy menu. You can find them on most high streets in central London now, dotted around Covent Garden, Kensington, Oxford Street and in the city. They do a roaring trade at lunchtime and breakfast and people love their warming healthy food. They pick and mix from around the world and have great concepts like the "Leon Lunchbox" which will range from Thai green curries to Gobi curries from India. Soups, wraps, salads and sandwiches are always available and they do a great beetroot and chocolate and orange and chocolate brownie. They also have a great range of cookbooks to buy.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Leon is a cost effective way to find tasty gluten free options in town.
Emma's expert tip: Leon believes that food should taste good and do you good, great as a cheap gluten free or healthy option around town.
Selfridges is one of the most delicious and innovative department stores in London. In January 2013, they opened their gluten and wheat free bakery. The food hall itself is a delight to behold, you can sit and eat sushi from a conveyer belt, choose cupcakes and bread at the gluten free bakery or try a full wheat, fat, dairy and sugar alternative at an adjoining stand. You can buy many of the ingredients you might miss from all parts of the world and take home with you, and the teas, coffees, chocolates, fresh and smoked fish, meats, pates, game, cheeses, Lebanese pastries, French food and much much more are going to blow your mind. Opening up a dedicated gluten free bakery within the store, as well as stocking other people's gluten free products is a real nod to how mainstream this food has become, and also how delicious.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: There are lots of things to eat in Selfridges which are gluten free, including from their new bakery. Delicious.
Emma's expert tip: Selfridges has just about everything you can possibly imagine, it's a one stop shop of gorgeousnes, including a gluten free bakery.
Vitao prides itself on being optimum for health and taste, and this is certainly true. They do everything from raw food, to gently cooked, entirely vegan food, much of what you eat there is also gluten free, very healthy and there are lots of baked goods, brownies, cakes and the like that will finish off the meal or provide a delicious afternoon tea for you should you so wish. Everything there is created from scratch and cooked within season and what they can source locally wherever possible. That is why they say their food is good for body and soul. They want to make even carnivores come back for more and give you something sophisticated and tasty that awakens your tastebuds and is not the usual lentils and hippy fare from the 1970s that many people associate with vegan or restaurants which cater for food intolerances.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Vitao aims to awaken your tastebuds and give you a sophisticated vegan taste. It does.
Emma's expert tip: Vitao is in the heart of soho and is perfect as a stopping off point. You can try some truly different things here.
The Healthy Food Company was started as a mail order company selling gluten free and dairy free made-to-order cakes. It grew from there and now serves the denizens of Kingston, Richmond and those affluent parts of South West London with delicious treats that won't ruin your waist line or make you feel guilty if you should be following an exclusion diet. The company's carrot and raisin cake has won numerous awards and attracted client's attention with other food intolerances. So the bakery diversified and now offers egg free, vegan, wheat free and dairy free products, and perhaps most surprisingly of all, for a bakery, sugar free. The cafe also offers up soda breads, freefrom salads and other goodies so you can eat an entire meal there and still feel virtuous afterwards.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: The Healthy Food Company does just that and offers great food that will make you feel great afterwards.
Emma's expert tip: If you are in South West London this is the place to go, you can also order online too.
You can't say enough about Ottolenghi's delicious cooking, deli, bakery and just about everything he does is magic. Unfortunately there are prices to match, but the food is so inspiring and delicious and amazingly presented that it feels worth it, at least until you realise that you have just paid 4 pounds for one cupcake, or thereabouts. Then you have to gulp, swallow hard and just feel thankful that atleast the prices stop you overeating, which you totally could if the prices were lower. That said, this is quality, and he is generous with his recipes in newspapers in the UK, the Guardian in particular and in his cookbooks, on the website and on twitter.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Ottolenghi's is not just a gluten free restaurant or bakery, but there are plenty of options which are.
Emma's expert tip: One of Ottolenghi's establishments is great for a special treat, or if you are feeling flush, otherwise buy the cookbooks. Genius stuff.
Happy Kitchen uses only organic ingredients and is the brain child of two happy girls, now women, Ellie and Lisa who met according to their website at the age of four and a half when they loved eating, running across fields and wearing brightly coloured cycling shorts!! You can imagine this may have been the late eighties or early nineties! And they say nothing much has changed today, except that they have stopped their penchant for cycling shorts! They like to focus on the environment, nutrition and food and the surroundings and their food itself just makes their customers very happy. They now concentrate on their wholesale business, but whatever you choose to eat here will bring you a smile to your face.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Happy Kitchen's food will make you literally happy, delicious, healthy and fun, just like its owners.
Emma's expert tip: Happy Kitchen can be visited at their cafe, or found in lots of other outlets in East London.
Melanie started Suzzle, because, to quote her website, she was "sick of not being able to eat out, or only eat sub standard food" just because she needed to eat gluten free food. She was used to cooking yummy meals, and started experimenting with cakes, adding cupcakes, carrot cakes and brownies to her repertoire and sending them out to local restaurants and cafes. She also does catering for film crews at the rag factory in East London. Now she's opened her first shop at number 47 Brick Lane and it was really worth the wait. She loves to blog and talks about how cakes can cure depression and along side her yummy cakes she offers things like onion bread, soups and quiches. Every day is original and well thought out and if you follow on Facebook or the blog, you can check out the menu before you head down there.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Suzzle not only serves great baked goods but also delicious breads and soups and quiches.
Emma's expert tip: It is worth following Suzzle on Facebook or Wordpress so you know what's cooking on the day you visit and also keep up to date with what's going on in the gluten free community.
Annie's is a secret supper club based in Bromley in Kent, just South of London. You have to book online and once you have booked the location is revealed. Guests promise to keep the location secret as a condition of booking. Annie's was set up in 2010 in memory of Annie's father who died of cancer caused directly by Coeliac disease. Since then, Annie, her brother and her youngest son were all diagnosed with coeliac disease. She caters for other intolerances too and has herself been dairy, soya and egg free in the past. But her menus will often contain meat unless you express a desire for a vegetarian option. As well as the supper clubs which are already sold out months in advance, she packs hampers, caters for events and makes special bespoke food for people. All reviews are very positive, bring your own alcohol.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Annie's supper club is part of a new trend of underground dining in London which caters brilliantly for gluten free needs.
Emma's expert tip: Follow the blog or on twitter and make sure you book well in advance, people travel from all over the world to make it to one of these exclusive evenings.
Mildred's was established in 1988 and has been in the heart of Covent Garden serving internationally inspired vegetarian food ever since. The wood panelled restaurant is elegant and simple and you can also book out the whole room for your special party. Grilled asparagus and grilled haloumi offer gluten free choices amongst many other delicious and temptingly vegetarian things. For main courses you can try the sweet potato cashew nut curry, or an organic energising detox salad. Puddings look to Persia for a gluten free inspiration, offering up a rose lemon and polenta cake, or a chocolate and peanut butter gluten free brownie. A varied wine list with lots of biodynamic and organic wines on offer accompany the delicious food.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Mildred's is a long established, elegant and tasty vegetarian restaurant with plenty of gluten free menus.
Emma's expert tip: Mildred's is great for gluten free choices in a vegetarian world. Delicious and elegant.
Itsu is a pan asian / Japanese inspired chain restaurant all over London and some other big cities in the UK. It's great, varied and cheap, and when you need to find some easy gluten free alternatives then Itsu can be a good place to turn to as chances are you'll find one on most of the big high streets. The chain was set up by the people who first set up Pret a Manger and there motto is "eat beautiful". They try and make food to keep you skinny, "less fat and more bounce". There are also two actual restaurants in Notting Hill and Chelsea where chefs are employed to keep up this ethos and supply you with a proper meal too. As well as gluten free you can find low carb, mayonaise free and lots of other options. Enjoy and be beautiful.
Recommended for Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus because: Itsu is a handy place to find some gluten free options, you can dine in their restaurant too.
Emma's expert tip: Itsu is a healthy choice which also offers gluten free options. Dine in the restaurants in Notting Hill and Chelsea.