Skip to main content

Coeliac Awareness Month: where to eat gluten-free in London

Gluten Free
Food & Drink/FMCG
coeliac awareness

You would be forgiven for not knowing that May is Coeliac Awareness Month. In fact, coeliac disease is characterised by its tendency to slip under the radar. One in 100 people in the UK have coeliac disease, but only 36% are diagnosed, leaving a staggering 500,000 people suffering with unexplained symptoms.

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to attack your own tissues when you eat gluten, damaging your gut so your body cannot properly take in nutrients. How this manifests is different for everyone – not only in the wide range of symptoms that can be experienced, but in the strain caused by living with unexplained health problems.

For me, terrible stomach pain combined with extreme tiredness drove me to seek second and third opinions, after an initial trip to the GP resulted in an unsatisfying diagnosis for IBS, and my constant exhaustion (at the ripe old age of 25) was dismissed with an abrupt, “everybody’s tired”.

For Coeliac Awareness Month, Coeliac UK is working to raise awareness of the condition: once you know what you’re dealing with, there is a real sense of relief that you can now get on the road to recovery. If you think you might have coeliac disease, you can take Coeliac UK’s free online self-assessment here.

For anyone who already has a diagnosis, or has friends or family with coeliac disease, here are some of my favourite gluten free restaurants, cafes, and bakeries in London, as well as the details of an Instagram account I’ve found useful for finding new free-from hotspots.

Chiodo Bolognese, Aldgate

Chiodo Bolognese will bring you the ultimate gluten-free Italian cuisine experience. This restaurant brings the Bologna's traditional cuisine to Aldgate, with its signature fresh hand-made pasta. Almost all the dishes have a gluten-free version.

Niche, Islington

Niche is an independent restaurant serving seasonally inspired crowd-pleasers with a modern twist. This restaurant is 100% gluten, nut and sesame free. Enjoy British and European classics, tempting desserts, and loads of dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan dishes – but be sure to book ahead as this tiny restaurant is always packed.

Indigo at One Aldwych, Covent Garden

Indigo is the signature restaurant of luxury Covent Garden hotel, One Aldwych. With a menu that is entirely gluten and dairy free, this calm and elegant space is the perfect restaurant for special occasions.

Ugly Dumpling, Carnaby Street & Fitzrovia

Anyone on a strict gluten-free diet will know that, all too often, dim sum is off the menu. Soy sauce contains gluten (unless it’s tamari) and dumplings are typically made using wheat-based dumpling wrappers.

Ugly Dumpling changes all that, fusing Western ingredients and Asian home recipes to create a series of decadent dumplings with global flavours. From pork belly to cheeseburger, there are so many dumplings to choose from. Though not everything is gluten free, Ugly Dumpling does have a comprehensive gluten-free menu with around ten different dumpling styles to choose from, as well as sides and sweets.

My GF bakery, online

Easily the best gluten-free bread on the market, this bakery employs traditional fermentation techniques, using the finest ancient grains to ensure their sourdough is packed full of nutrients and flavour. The bakery is online only: you can order sourdough loaves, bagels, and baguettes as well as bake-at-home kits for delivery via the online shop.

Lola’s Bakery, West Hampstead

Lola’s Bakery & All-Day Café provides a fantastic range of truly delicious cakes and pastries made with wholesome natural ingredients. The bakery specialises in healthy, organic, and free-from food and baked goods.

Lola’s is already a well-known brand, and its gluten-free cakes are certified by Coeliac UK. I highly recommend the gluten-free carrot cake!

For more recommendations of gluten-free places to eat in London and all over the world, follow Morgan Moore at @howtocoeliac on Instagram.