Address: Church Lane, Off, Petersham Rd, Richmond TW10 7AB
While I love London, sometimes the hustle and bustle can be too much and I crave nothing more than to be amongst the trees. It may be from growing up in the Irish countryside, that I find being surrounded by nature soothes the soul and resets me for another few weeks in the wonderful chaos of the city.
My favourite place to go when the green withdrawals show their bushy head is Richmond in South West London. It’s still technically London so you don’t feel like you’ve trekked miles away away for your nature fix.
This little village seamlessly moves from luxe boutiques and cafes, to a 2,500 acre park with deers which roam happily amongst park dwellers.
Just past the park amongst the fields and fairytale houses you can find the adorable setting of Petersham Nurseries, which in the summer is buzzing with bees and lunch lovers. This quaint nursery serves delicious food which is fresh from the garden. Thankfully they also do some amazing gluten free options at the Nurseries Cafe – I went with a spanish omelette, a fresh mint tea and the most decadent gluten free chocolate brownie. They also do some gorgeous salads which you can mix and match. The Teahouse, the restaurant housed inside a quirky glasshouse, also offers seasonal food and statement salads. Dishes are inspired by the garden and you feel fully immersed in the rustic feel of your surroundings.
Address: 18-20 Bedford Hill, Balham, London SW12 9RG
I had the pleasure of enjoying brunch last Sunday at the well known Milk in Balham. Since moving further South West London a number of people have recommended Milk as a must visit brunch hub. And as we all know, I love brunch.
We tried to visit the past two weekends however the queues have always been a mile long confirming the fact that it is indeed very, very popular. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait long and within a few minutes the staff seated us at a beautiful, long sharing table. The buzz is great – as most brunch spots tend to be on a lazy Sunday morning and the staff were super friendly and attentive.
Our lovely waitress Jo talked us through the menu, and while it was only her 4th day, she was really informed about which gluten free options were available. They use cornbread for their gluten free alternative and their pancakes are generally made with buckwheat (naturally gluten free flour).
The pancake special changes each week and from what I’ve seen on their instagram, each week is equally divine. I went for the pancakes with jasmine tea and of course I had to try out their hash browns which were cooked to perfection and topped with lightly grated cheese. Jo double checked with the kitchen and proudly confirmed that the hash browns are definitely coeliac friendly!
The pancakes were served with chantecler apple bon bons, white miso cream, corn sable, nori syrup, preserved fig, tamarind and shiso – half of which I have never heard of. They weren’t too sweet or sickly but just the right balance of flavours. I would 100% recommend this spot to a friend, really enjoyed the food, the vibes and people!
Last weekend my housemate and I decided to head out for a walk and some brunch. We decided to stroll along the river in Vauxhall in the hope to find somewhere new we hadn’t tried before. Despite all of the up and coming high rises in the area there strangely isn’t many cute cafes, so when we stumbled upon District cafe and were pleasantly surprised.
District is a tiny, bustling cafe hidden amongst Embassy gardens, which is directly across from the American Embassy. It’s decor is bright white, with sharing tables and wide, glass doors which were left open, letting in the beautiful morning sunshine.
They do an Australian brunch inspired menu with plenty of gluten free, dairy free and vegan options. I was super keen to try their gluten-free buckwheat pancakes, with coconut yoghurt and berries but unfortunately everyone else the same idea because they were sold out. Instead I went for the spicy corn fritters with a fried egg, avocado and greek yogurt which were amazing! I also ordered a ‘Aussie’ smoothie which was made with almond milk, avocado, pineapple and topped with bee pollen.
My housemate went for the scrambled eggs with sourdough toast and smoked salmon, which they also had as an option on gluten free bread. Would definitely recommend it, the perfect chill weekend brunch spot!
If you love sushi as much as I do then this is the place for you. Sushi which is coeliac friendly can sometimes be hard to find as many places add soy sauce to their dishes (soy sauce is made from fermenting soybeans with wheat grains so often isn’t gluten free).
The good news is that many places in London serve sushi that’s not only gluten free but also fresh and tasty. As well as this alot of places also keep gluten free soy sauce often known as tamari so you can enjoy it that little bit more with fresh ginger and wasabi which are both naturally gluten free.
Last week I had the chance try out Sticks n Sushi in Covent Garden for dinner. We hadn’t made a reservation but the staff were really helpful and accommodating and managing to squeeze us in.
A waiter showed us to our table and provided us with a drinks and food menu. The restaurant itself is quite big with dark and simple decor and the menu is extensive with vibrant images displaying the dishes. As gluten free options are not clearly marked on the menu I asked which options were suitable. Our waiter explained that his manager would be over to run through their options in a moment.
The manager, Aris was very helpful and very well informed. He ran through the options which are available including maki rolls, sashimi, ceviche and certain skewers. While they have amazing platters he recommended against them as they tend to be mixed with non gluten friendly dishes.
We went for a mix of a sashimi, edamane beans, maki rolls, skewers and ceviche between us and they gave us some tamari (gluten free soy sauce) in a separate ramikin.
The dishes came down at different times which worked perfectly. Personally I loved the scallop ceviche. I’d never eaten it before, however it as recommended as a favourite by Aris and it was the perfect blend of tangy and sweet. Everything was insanely fresh and the flavours were perfect.
For dessert we chose vanilla ice cream with creme brulee which was the perfect combination and finish to the meal.
Definitely a favourite for sushi so far and very well informed. I’ve had sushi in other restaurants where you’re quite limited to basic rolls or sashimi, however Sticks n Sushi had numerous options and we’re able to make some changes where necessary so it was just as enjoyable gluten free.
The staff were super attentive throughout and Aris and his brother, who was also serving could not have been more accommodating.
One thing that continues to baffle me about London is how many places there is to eat and how there’s always somewhere new to try. On numerous occasions I’ve found myself marvelling on the way to work at a new restaurant or bar that seems to have magically appeared over night.
Saying this there has still been the occasional panic when out with friends or colleagues as to where is gluten free for a quick bite. To save you suffering this desperation and hangrily wandering the streets in search of a gluten free saviour I’ve put together a list of three spots that are always guaranteed to suit everyone and cater for coeliacs any day of the week whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The best thing- there’s multiple venues so you’ll never be left hungry, staring despondently at a glass of tap water while everyone else tucks in…
Up first we have Bill’s. Bill’s is a British chain cafe with over 21 located in London and 81 across the UK. They use locally sourced produce and always have a nice variety on the menu including veggie, vegan and gluten free options. Despite it’s chain status, Bill’s always hold an air of authenticity and the venues are always super cool and enjoyable. Staff are also attentive and from my experience have always had a good knowledge of what is coeliac friendly.
While I’ve been for lunch previously, breakfast is the winner for me. I love the garden plate which consists of two poached eggs, halloumi, roasted plum tomatoes, charred red peppers, smashed avocado, hollandaise, mushrooms, potato rösti, baked beans, pea shoots, mixed seeds and gluten free toast. The only difference with the original and the gluten free was that the potatoe rosti’s were different (and tastier) in gf version. They do gluten free bread so there is always the option to adapt a dish to your needs.
If you’re looking for a quick fix that’s pleasant, affordable and informal Bill’s is the place to be.
Flat Iron could potentially be one of my favourite places for lunch or dinner. It’s simple, affordable and downright delicious! And the best part is almost everything is gluten free.
There is six Flat Iron locations across the city so you’re bound to come across one on your travels. They don’t take reservations, only walk in’s but they tend to move quickly and there is never too long of a wait.
Definitely not a spot to go as a vegetarian as they pride themselves on sourcing the best meat locally and also specialise in butchery with butchery demos and educational pieces on the menu’s and board.
They keep a small, simple menu that consists generally of three different steak cut options, and a choice of 6 or 7 sides. The triple cooked chips are also gluten free as they don’t fry anything battered or crumbed in their fryers. Be sure to mention if you do need GF as some of the sauces tend not to be.
Brindisa is a Spanish tapas restaurant located across some of the key areas London and tend to be situated in beautiful locations. The decor is simple, fresh and overall pleasant making it the perfect place to have a couple of glasses of wine and make your way through it’s extensive menu.
They have a range of tapas options from meats, cold tapas, hot tapas, salads and breads. While I was able to order quite a few options and many of their choices are naturally gluten free, the staff have never seemed to be overly clued into their allergens and tend to be a little uncertain as to what is suitable. Having tried it a few times with no issues I have a good idea of what I can and can’t have but do bare this in mind if you are coeliac.
Despite this the food is delicious and they like to put a twist on some of the more typical tapas options you find in Spanish and Portuguese restaurants. I usually order the meats like the salted beef with manchego cheese and dark chocolate pictured above, the Spanish tortilla is always a winner (a potatoe egg cake) and their chorizo is heaven.