|Photograph by Kai Hendry|
For those of us living in the wheat-centric cultures of Europe and the West, trying to live wheat- or gluten-free has always been a pain. But over the years the trickle of businesses that cater for the dietary needs of coeliacs or those with intolerances has slowly grown beyond being pigeonholed in the faddy 'health food' niche. From the gluten-free cake included in the quintessentially upmarket afternoon tea at Claridges or the Ritz to the ubiquitous Domino's Pizza that now offers gluten-free pizza bases on every takeaway menu, it seems that the potential for gluten-free gluttony has reached every level of the market. Here's a selection of some of the more recent and noteworthy additions to London's gluten-free dining scene.
Claridges: This Mayfair institution's gluten-free take on afternoon tea was created by Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, the Leith's-trained chef, author and founder of the Genius gluten-free food company. Tea (£39) consists of a choice of 40 teas from across the world; dainty finger sandwiches on gluten-free Genius bread with the likes of smoked salmon, horseradish and dill, egg and cress, and organic chicken with lemon rémoulade; gluten-free scones with clotted cream and jam; and numerous delicious cakes and pastries. A serious treat.
WAGFree Food: The acronym stands for “ wheat and gluten” (rather than orange-tanned, stiletto-tottering footballers' wives) at this gluten-free bakery and cafe in Brixton offering a plethora of loaves, bread rolls, pastries, pies, quiches, cakes and all manner of baked goods usually off-limits. And it's a cafe, so you can eat right there and then, without having to wait to get it home.
Honest Burgers: At this fairly recent arrival in blossoming Brixton Village, proprietor Tom Barton has offered gluten-free burgers right from the off. The meat is provided by The Ginger Pig, and the burgers are big, oozy and satisfying. Expect queues.
Otto: At this Notting Hill joint, pizza - the final frontier of gluten-free dining - is made with a thick cornmeal crust and served in a pan with deep fillings. Fans of Chicago deep-dish will be right at home.
Medlar: Diners have been swooning over this Chelsea restaurant's charms since it opened last year, praising its “inventive” New French menu of “fragrant creations” (with influences from all over Europe) which “fully deserves the hype.” Servers and chefs are completely clued-up when it comes to gluten-free and can prepare most dishes to requirements. Book ahead for a three-course dinner (£42) or lunch (£30) that is Michelin-starred.