Gluten-free Lunch in London?

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London has no shortage of fast, trendy lunch restaurants. Pret A Manger and EAT are the most popular, but you’ll also find Upper Crust in railway stations. These fast-food shops grew out of the traditional sandwich shop, and sadly don’t offer much in the way of gluten-free fare. Pret A Manger’s salads are very good but don’t list the ingredients in the salad dressing. EAT go out of their way to tell you that almost everything HAS gluten in it. It’s almost like a sign that says COELIACS GO AWAY!

So where can you EAT lunch in London? The last thing you want to do while you’re on holiday is spend the whole time looking for a restaurant that understands your dietary requirements. If you do a little research beforehand, you’ll find that London loves you and your gluten-free ways.

On a typical day in London, you’ll walk by a Marks and Spencer (Marks and Sparks) two or three times. They’ve just launched a range of gluten-free sandwiches. If you’re not the sit-down type of luncher and prefer to grab a sandwich on your way to the Big Bus tour, pop by one of these stores and buy a sandwich. If you pass a Waitrose supermarket, you’ll find a gluten-free section with all sorts of goodies.

If you are the sit-down type of lunch person but you don’t want to spend your entire holiday budget in one day, you have to eat at Leon. In terms of concept, this restaurant is fast food; in terms of quality and menu, it’s high quality and tasty food.     
Healthy. Well prepared. And they indicate clearly which menu items are gluten-free with a big GF. There are lots of Leons, so there’s bound to be one near you.

Headed to Camden and Camden Lock Market? If it’s a sunny day, you should. In the middle of Camden Lock Market you’ll find Arepa & Co, a Venezuelan food stall that serves delicious cornbread filled with arepa, cheese, beans, avocado, plantains and other vegetarian ingredients. They state clearly that their bread is gluten-free. And it’s mouth-watering. While you’re in Camden, check out The Stag between Camden Town and Hampstead Heath. I’m told they have two gluten-free beers—although I’ve become a cider fan myself.

If you’re a foodie and you’ve come to London with your suitcases full of money, you have a few more options (as you always do, you rich bastard). Most fine-dining restaurants will go out of their way to accommodate you, but here’s one that I’ve just now found and can’t wait to lug my cash to its doors. L’Autre Pied don’t actually say anything about offering gluten-free fare on their website, but read this excellent review by The Gluten Free Foodie and I think you’ll be making your reservations before you can say sans gluten.

Other Gluten-free London posts:
From the Pub to the Ritz
Gluten-free on the Road
Dinner in London...Gluten-free

I must be off,
Christopher

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Christopher Allen is the author of the absurdist satire Conversations with S. Teri O'Type

Comments

  1. The one thing I didn't do in London on my two trips was tea at the Ritz. I guess I just need to go back! I can't imagine having to live GF!!! You do it with such grace and style!

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  2. I have a good friend who is in our monthly lunch out group and we spend a lot of time trying to find restaurants that are gluten-free. I didn't fully understand how difficult this was until she became gluten-free. This post should be helpful for a lot of people.

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  3. Although I'm not currently gluten-free or considering it in the near-term (maybe I should be), this is still very interesting. Always love reading about places to eat in places I love like London.

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  4. Hello Chris!

    I'm glad you liked my blog.

    Something caught my eye though - your mention of tea at the Ritz. PLEASE DON'T GO! It's terrible there! http://www.glutenfreefoodie.co.uk/2010/05/tale-of-two-teas-ritz.html

    May I recommend the excellent gluten free tea at Claridges instead (even more beautiful setting) http://www.glutenfreefoodie.co.uk/2010/05/tale-of-two-gf-teas-part-2-claridges.html

    More modern and funky is The Soho Hotel - they have fabulous gf breads and cakes in their tea.

    Also, I've heard the Lanesborough hotel gluten free tea is great too.

    The Ritz is awful and a waste of money!

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  5. I was gluten-free for about six months a short time ago (suspected a sensitivity, but apparently it was something else), and in those few months I found that it was so difficult to eat out.

    I can only imagine the additional complications when traveling; thankfully it's easier to do your research (and ask questions!) in London, but it would be so much more difficult in places where a different language than your own is spoken!

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  6. Gluten-free me, baby!

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  7. Hey pretty IMBO readers!

    Yes, it's much more difficult to eat gluten-free when you don't speak the language. We'll be traveling to Germany (well, I won't: I live here), France, Italy, and taking a look back at a few other countries where English is spoken only as a second language.

    Thank you, Gluten Free Foodie! I was going to include Claridges in my post, but now I will rethink the Ritz. Come to think of it, they weren't very nice to me on the phone.

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  8. Always a pleasure to read your adventures, C. Reminds me of trying to travel across the middle of the US with two vegans. Not something I'd recommend. Especially if they are your siblings as well as being vegans!

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