Please note: it is possible for me to update this list. If you know any of any 100% gluten free eateries that aren’t on the list please contact me with the details. I am aware of the existence of The Coeliac Plate who do a fantastic job documenting 100% gluten free eateries. I hope you can see that I have not tried to copy them – all the research done for this blog post was off my own back.
I’ve been working on compiling a list of the UK’s 100% gluten free eateries for over a year now, with help from the good folks on the Facebook group “Coeliacs in the UK”. It’s taken lots of research to get it to this point but I’m aware that this is far from comprehensive! I aim to keep updating this list as much as I can! Please note that this list only includes eateries with a permanent location (so companies that only appear at market stalls are not on here, for example.) Sorry for any inconvenience this might cause, but it was for brevity as much as for the clarity of information provided.
These are the places we can eat safely with no fear of cross contamination. For someone with Coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance, this is a BIG deal. Being able to feel normal, feel safe and feel catered for are rarities for Coeliacs eating out, but not in these fantastic and dedicated places.
So here they are, categorised geographically by country and then alphabetically by county. See the map below for where these places are in relation to each other. Apologies if my geography is a bit off – I’ve listed links to all of their websites so you can find their addresses anyway! Anywhere that I have reviewed has been linked to – I hope to review the majority of them eventually!
Please read the entire review for my star rating and conclusion at the end.
Niche is a 100% gluten free restaurant in Islington, London. You can imagine how excited I was to find out that they are 100% gluten free and have vegetarian options.
The restaurant itself is nicely laid out with beautiful photography on the walls. It had a minimalist feel with plants on the table which made it seem bigger than it is (it is a relatively small place).
Something unusual for me to praise about a restaurant is the toilet facilities. Often in chain restaurants they are disgusting, small and I try to avoid them! As we had been out in Islington all day and had endured an hour or so on the train and tubes I decided to brave the restroom. It was not only incredibly spacious, but also clean with hand soap and lotion provided! Unfortunately there is only one toilet, so if you are a large party this may become an issue, but as this is a small restaurant, it is to be expected!
The menu has plenty of choice and is fairly priced. I didn’t manage to get a photo of the menu, but if you visit their website you can view it there!
There were lots of choices for starters, including a few vegetarian options. I was incredibly excited to try the “Parmesan and Cheddar Doughnuts”. They came with a red pepper and tomato dip. Both were utterly delicious and I could have quite happily eaten another ten of them! I’ve never had savoury doughnuts before, let alone gluten free ones, and these were fluffy, flavourful and went perfectly with the dip. They were not overly cheesy, but you could taste the parmesan. The dip was reminiscent of salsa; fruity and tomatoey with a slight garlic and spice kick.
My boyfriend is not vegetarian and so ordered the “Niche Fried Chicken”. This turned out to be exactly what the title said – KFC style gluten free chicken strips, only much tastier! He really enjoyed the chicken especially with the dips that it came with.
We really enjoyed our starters and so we were looking forward to our mains. I ordered the “Niche Quiche” which is always vegetarian and comes with a salad and chips. The recipe that day was tomato and spinach. The quiche is made with cream as well as egg. The filling was okay, though not particularly “wowing”. After the flavour packed starter I had expected a bit more from the quiche. I didn’t really enjoy the pastry – I found it a little dense. The best pastry is flaky and light, but this was hard and thick.
The best part of my main, surprisingly was the side salad! The dressing was exquisite and the
lettuce was fresh and tasty. This is coming from someone who does not really enjoy salad! I
think next time I go I will order the goats cheese salad for a main – something a bit lighter.
The chips were also a little disappointing. They had left the skins on, which gave them a rougher texture. This may just be personal preference, but I much prefer my chips in the classic style – with no skins!
My boyfriend went for the “Beef and Chorizo Pie”. He really enjoyed the flavours but also found the pastry to be too dense. He did however comment that the mash was creamy, and went perfectly with the gravy provided. In hindsight, the weather was sweltering that day and so pie and mash was probably not a perfect choice!
Due to the dense pastry and delicious starters, we were stuffed by the time it came to dessert. Luckily the waiter gave us some time to let our food go down and we decided to order dessert.
I had the “Peanut Butter Blondie”. For those of you who are unfamiliar with blondies, they are normally the white chocolate equivalent of a brownie. Niche’s version had a white chocolate ganache and peanut butter topping. The texture was delicious and the first few bites were lovely – it was nice to have a dessert that was something other than the usual brownie that we get in most chain restaurants. It was just too sweet to have a lot of unfortunately. Again, this may just be my personal taste, but I found it too sickly to finish.
My boyfriend ordered a “St. Clement’s Cheesecake” – inspired by the rhyme “Oranges and lemons say the bells of St Clement’s”. He loves lemon flavoured desserts, especially cheesecake and really enjoyed this version. I am not a fan of lemon but tried it anyway. I was very impressed! The flavour was weighted more towards orange, with a nice hint of lemon and the cheesecake was light in texture. When we go back I may order the cheesecake for myself.
Overall, I would recommend Niche to anyone with a gluten intolerance or Coeliac disease. It is a novel experience to be able to have a three course meal out without worrying about cross contamination and being able to order whatever I fancied from the menu.
There are several things that need fine tuning on their menu. For example, the texture of the pastry and the sickly sweet taste of the blondie. There were several other options on the menu that I would like to try and I’ll be sure to go back and try them!
4 out of 5 stars for safe Coeliac dining, gorgeous starters, and plenty of options for vegetarians.
Even though it around an hour’s train and tube travel from my home, I will be returning when I can!
Recently, my boyfriend and I holidayed in Dorchester, Dorset, England. It was a three hour train journey from our hometown, but I was hopeful that we would have a relaxing holiday. Of course, for a gluten free vegetarian, food was a big worry for me.
I went for Beggar’s Knap B and B, which is beautiful with great facilities. We opted for no breakfast in light of my dietary restrictions, which worked out well for us price-wise also.
We knew that there were several eateries in Brewery Square. To have our best chance of not being glutened for the rest of the holiday, for our first night we decided to stick with somewhere we’d eaten at back home – Pizza Express. They have a fantastic national reputation for being great for Coeliacs due to their Coeliac UK Accreditation. Dorchester’s branch did not disappoint.
We had friendly service, wonderful food and no ill-effects.
We decided to have dinner at Pizza Express Tuesday and Wednesday night too! They have a few starters, all of their pizzas are available on a gluten free base, and a few puddings. The other good thing about Pizza Express is that they often have money off deals. I have an NUS card as I’m student, but they also give out money off vouchers when you eat there (normally 20 or 30% off!).
On the Tuesday we decided to try somewhere recommended to me on the Dorchester Coeliac
Group on Facebook – Vivo Lounge. The chain of “Loungers” have a decent gluten free menu which includes salads, burgers, falafel, chips, breakfasts and more.
We went for a falafel burger with chips and houmous which was amazing! It only cost about £8 and more than filled us up! Great service, friendly and knowledgable man who served us and scrummy food!
On the Wednesday we went to Weymouth. I had heard of The Old Harbour Fish and Chip Shop on Facebook as providing gluten free fish and chips and so we decided to head there and check it out. Again, we were not disappointed! The man who served us really knew his stuff, had a separate gluten free fryer and gluten free vinegar! It was nice to enjoy chip shop chips again.
On the last evening we decided to try Carluccio’s in Brewery Square. They have a great gluten free reputation and a long menu. We both went for the pasta and had good service.
I was disappointed with my food at Carluccio’s. Although I was not glutened, it was expensive for what you got. My starter was simply Genius bread toasted with some onions, tomatoes and rocket on top and cost me £5 or more. My main was pasta with a mushroom broth. The pasta was quite dry (even for GF pasta!) and the sauce was little more than warm water. I didn’t really think it was worth the £8 or so. Our pudding was nice – a simple meringue dish with raspberries and a passion fruit cream.
If you’re planning on going to Dorset or Dorchester I would highly recommend both Pizza Express and Vivo Lounge in Brewery Square, as both catered well for my dietary needs. If you are going to Weymouth, The Old Harbour Fish and Chip Shop is fantastic and really worth the visit! For a couple of pounds you get a very sizeable portion of chip shop chips! As for Carluccio’s, I’m not sure if my experience was specific to the Dorchester one or whether their GF menu is just not very interesting. I wouldn’t recommend it, although I was able to eat there with no ill effects.