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!
From cute cafes in Kensington market and plush restaurants on the Harbour front, Toronto is a beautiful city. It really struck me how friendly and welcoming the people are and it made exploring and trying out the different vibes on offer that much more enjoyable.
I didn’t know much about the gluten free scene, however I was pleasantly surprised by some of the gems I had the chance to try out. The staff were almost always super well informed about coeliac disease, and the food was delicious.
Similarly to London, the people of Toronto love to eat out! Whether takeaway or sit down meals the food scene is thriving and there really is something for everyone . I managed to try out some of the places recommended to me and none of them disappointed – on taste or coeliac friendliness – so I wanted to share them with you. Manoeuvring gluten free options while also exploring a new city can sometimes just be one big pain in the ass. So I hope this gives you some helpful suggestions and you can enjoy this foodie haven just as much as anyone!
Located on the 44 floor of the Bisha hotel is a stunning rooftop restaurant with views overlooking Toronto harbour and the CN Tower. It was recommended by a friend, who raved about the views and the food – she wasn’t wrong!
On first arrival I wasn’t sure I was in the correct location, as the mysterious doors of the Bisha hotel fail to give away much in regards to the restaurant. However once I entered, the receptionist kindly pointed me in the right direction and assured me I was in the correct place.
The staff were incredibly nice and set up a beautiful table outside on the terrace near the pool. The pool area is reserved for hotel guests only, however the restaurant is open to everyone. The dress code was pretty casual, however I was also there for lunch so I am unsure if the evening setting might be a little bit more formal.
The gluten free options seemed limited on first glance, however the waitress kindly checked with the kitchen and they were happy to make a number of dishes gluten free, including the burgers with a gluten free bun. I went for the kale falafel salad with grilled chicken which was divine. I’m not usually a raw kale lover, however the mix with nuts, dressing, feta and falafel was perfect under the Canadian sun – not to mention the views are definitely worth the visit!
Kensington market is the cutest, quirkiest place ever with streets that are speckled with multi coloured houses, painted cars and an abundance of flowers. At the weekends it is lively and buzzing with brunch lovers and market goers. This little gluten free bakery called Bunner’s is stowed away between the pastel coloured houses and doesn’t give much away from the outside. However I had heard good things on a number of reviews so decided to give it a try.
They are known for being a premier vegan and gluten-free bakery and they did not disappoint. Almost all of their cakes, cupcakes, muffins, tarts and breads are gluten free. I decided to go with a cinnamon bun with gorgeous white icing (big cinnamon lover!) and a caramel chocolate square that the lady in the bakery highly rated. I love when people are super enthusiastic about recommending their favourites, as they usually know what they’re talking about. Both were delicious and I was super excited to be able to find something that was 100% gluten free nestled at the heart of Kensington.
Fresh on Spadina is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant that is worth a visit – even if you are a meat lover! They have a huge variety of options including Beyond Meat Burgers (a burger made from peas, mung beans and rice that’s super popular in Canada and the US), burritos, tacos, rice bowls and also some of the most insane gluten free desserts.
We went for the Dragon Broccoli- steamed broccoli, miso gravy, banana chilies, scallions, sesame seeds, chili oil, Crispy cauliflower tacos – these looked amazing but unfortunately is not gluten free as it’s fried in breadcrumbs, the 9 layer burrito – minus the tortilla wrap this was a delicious bowl of mushroom & artichoke chorizo, marinated black beans, pico de gallo, cashew queso, jalapeno crema, avocado, shredded lettuce, brown rice and pickled jalapenos.
While I am a vegetable lover, I’m not always sold on vegan alternatives. This however was perfectly flavoured, cooked and combined and everything was extremely tasty. Unfortunately we were far too full for dessert however they do a gorgeous range of gluten free donuts and a peanut butter cheesecake I might even have to go back for.
Chef Susur Lee’s restaurant, located on King’s Street is a beautiful asian fusion restaurant named after the Chef himself. Susur Lee is himself based in Toronto and can often be found bustling amongst diners or sizzling something up in the kitchen.
The decor was a beautiful mix of asian, modern and class decor with lights which set the scene and a constant stream of attentive staff on hand at all times. Naturally we had to have the famous signature Singaporean style slaw which both my friends and the waitress insisted was a must.
This dish comes as a sharing starter plate and is a mix of 20 fresh ingredients, specifically chosen and dressed in a salted plum dressing. The waitress combines all of the ingredients together at the table in a snazzy display, while she reels off the 20 ingredients which make this beautiful dish.
Following on from this we went for Wagu beef sushi, Top Chef curry roasted chicken and tuna tartare. Dishes are recommended for sharing and they arrive as they are ready. Almost all dishes were able to be modified to gluten free, except for anything breaded or the cheeseburger gyoza (which is a shame because these sound interesting!). I would definitely recommend a visit here if you’re in the area as the food really was incredible.
Naturally, like most places there isn’t many mid week markets in Toronto however I had read a little bit about St.Lawrence’s market, a major public market located on Front Street East and decided to venture there on one of my days exploring.
While it is rumoured that this well known market is heaving with people at the weekend, enjoying Saturday morning with warm baked goods and freshly squeezed juices, Thursday afternoon hosted a slightly different feel. There were a few people mulling about, collecting groceries or grabbing a quick lunch before heading back to their offices .However the main stalls were still open for business and I had a chance to take in some of the amazing produce being offered.
Each stall boasted a rainbow of colours, whether thick slabs of fish or the vast array of olives and cheeses. There was also numerous displays of fruit and vegetables and food stalls of varying origin including oysters, pizza, pastas, mustards and cured meats. I loved experiencing this side of the Toronto food scene, and the high quality of various food products. However, I would definitely recommend visiting here on the weekend for the farmer’s market as the atmosphere would be much more energetic.
So there you have it – my Toronto recommendations. This is only a few of the places I tried and enjoyed and I hope you do too.
If you have any more suggestions, whether Toronto, or elsewhere, please do get in touch- I love adding to the foodie bucket list!
Other gluten free recommendations: Almond Butterfly – Delicious Gluten free bakery and cafe