London

Be my gluten-free Valentine?

There are many gluten-free alternatives to most things these days. But bread, my friends, is always a huge disaster.

I’m very well acquainted with the dry, foamy impostors. In fact I have become so used to them, that on a recent date with the BF at newish Paleo restaurant ‘Pure Taste’ on Westbourne Grove I wasn’t at all excited by the gluten-free Garlic and Rosemary Foccacia bread that arrived with a creamy avocado butter on the side. But then I tasted it..

Warm, freshly baked and completely delicious, I was hooked on Pure Taste from the word bread.

Pure Taste, London - coconut bread

Then they brought out salmon canapes on spoons…

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And silky Jerusalem artichoke soup with hazelnut and truffle…

Pure Taste, London

And scallops with apple and parsnip puree… so I was even more hooked.

Pure Taste, London

This was all swiftly followed by halibut with spinach, lemon and a generous handful of crunchy dukkah.

Pure Taste, London

And last but not least, guinea fowl with cavolo nero, maderia, prunes and their own ‘bread sauce’.

Pure Taste, London

If you live with intolerances and allergies or a restricted diet, this is the kind of restaurant you have been waiting for.

Pure Taste
115 Westbourne Grove
London, W2 4UP

Banana Tree

I’ve always walked past Banana Tree without giving it much of a second glace. But a friend suggested eating there as their menu accomodates many food intolerances. Although noisy inside, Banana Tree really does cater for all sorts, including gluten-free, wheat-free, nut-free and dairy-free options. I had the Bun Bo Meaty Salad Bowl, which was filling but also refreshing thanks to spiralized cucumber, rice noodles and fresh chilli.

Banana Tree is a great place to go with a large group of friends. Don’t expect brilliant service, but you can certainly expect a satisfying and well-priced gluten-free meal in the heart of Soho.

Banana Kitchen - Soho

Banana Tree
103-109 Wardour Street,
London
W1F 0UQ

Granger & Co.

There’s a good feeling about this easy-going Australian run joint. The menu has a strong selection of small plates which are great for sharing with friends, and more interesting than the usual bites to share. We had the shaved kohlrabi with taramasalata and ground sesame which was light and zingy, followed by the miso aubergine with fried tofu. I could eat that aubergine dish every day… For non-gluten free people, I hear the courgette chips are delicious too.

Granger & Co.
175 Westbourne Grove
London, W11 2SB

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Julie’s Restaurant & Champagne Bar

This year I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday at Julie’s Restaurant & Champagne Bar. Nestled away behind Portland Road and a short walk from Holland Park tube station, the restaurant is somewhat of an institution in the area and has been open since 1969.

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Set over two floors, Julie’s has the most wonderful atmosphere. Ottoman furniture, fairy lights, antiques and treasure chests all contribute to the decor, with windy staircases and tapestry curtains revealing secret party rooms. I chose the Garden Room as it had the best lighting and was the right size for a party of between 24 and 34. Throughout the planning process, the staff at Julie’s were absolutely amazing and very helpful – down to the finest details. After a prosecco reception in the Moroccan Room, our menu (£25 for two courses) was as follows:

Soup of the day
Fried calamari with garlic and caper mayonnaise
Potted duck and chicken liver pâté with cornichons and chillies
Chicory, walnuts and Roquefort salad with croutons and herb dressing
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Julie’s fish pie with whiting, prawns, scallops, mussels, spinach and cream sauce
Julie’s steak and kidney pie braised in honeydew ale
Crispy skin chicken breast with black truffles, French beans and white Port sauce
Filled potato gnocchi with dolcelatte, walnuts and black truffles
All served with fresh vegetables
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Summer fruit Eton mess
Dark chocolate parfait with berries
Pineapple and mint salad with orange sorbet
English and French cheese with tomato and sweet chilli jam and oat biscuits

The lovely staff produced a gluten-free menu for me at the last minute, so I had delicious tuna sashimi as a starter, followed by the chicken in a truffle and port sauce. The food was heavenly and the service was seamless. I really can’t fault the restaurant one bit, and I’m really looking forward to my next visit. Thank you Julie’s!

P.S: My leopard-print handbag was a present, designed and handmade by my very talented friend Lara Lindsay. Click here to visit her website.

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Julie’s Restaurant and Champagne Bar
135 Portland Road
London
W11 4LW

0207 229 8331

Dirty Bones

dirty bones

All the best places should be found without Google. It’s much more fun to stumble across a gem of a new hangout spot – which is exactly what happened when I chanced upon Dirty Bones on Monday night while walking down Kensington Church Street. Like a moth to a flame, I was drawn in by the large neon signs and a menu only listing ‘HOT DOGS… FRIES… POP’. Oh and the sign that read: “High fives and Good Vibez”… (who doesn’t like those things?!)

Downstairs, there’s a warmly lit speakeasy vibe and we were greeted by a hostess at a vintage pinball machine who seated us on some very squishy leather armchairs. Unfortunately I’d just eaten so had no room to sample the hot dog, ribs and wing-fuelled menu but it looked… filling! Hot dogs smothered in caramelised onions with BEER cheddar, treacle bacon, curried gherkins and english mustard. Perhaps not the best place to take a first date, and certainly not if your first date is a vegetarian. And the dessert menu includes ‘Milk & Cookies’, next to ‘Coffee & Doughnut’… not sure about those options myself.

high fivesAnyway, we stuck to the drinks menu and had a lovely time. I won’t rush back to try the food but I’m sure it’s ideal when you’ve had a few too many dog-themed cocktails. ‘Mutt’s Nuts’, ‘Top Dog’, ‘Down Boy’ and ‘101 Dalmations’ to name a few. Expect: Hot dogs, triple cooked chips, ambient lighting, loud music and cocktails in nice glasses. 6.5/10

20 Kensington Church Street
London, W8 4EP
0207 920 6434
Say hi: 
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Patty & Bun

photo 2“Burger lovers rejoice! Joe Grossman (the unstoppable force behind the juciest burgers in London) has opened a second restaurant.”

Sitting across the road from McDonalds on Liverpool Street, Joe isn’t afraid to show them who’s boss. The new location might come as a surprise to many Soho-thrill-seekers, but Patty & Bun is exactly what the area needs to break up the homogeneity of sandwich and sushi places.

Expect: banging burgers, rosemary chips, crunchy spicy slaw, and a soundtrack to make you forget you’re in London, at lunch time… and you have to go back to work. 8/10

Patty & Bun, 22/23 Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 7PD

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The Shed

“Notting Hill, despite its central location, is a dead zone for good restaurants. Well at least it was until The Shed opened its charming blue doors in October 2012.”

Goats cheese and honeySet up by Oliver and Richard Gladywn, the concept for The Shed is simple: locally sourced sustainable produce with little waste. They put together a daily-changing menu of delicious tapas-style sharing plates photowith many of the ingredients hailing from their family farm in Nutbourne, West Sussex.

The menu can be a little confusing on your first visit. ‘How big are the ‘Mouthfuls?’ ‘How many dishes should we order?’ Luckily the friendly lumberjack-shirt-wearing staff are always eager to talk you through every plate on the menu. I would recommend 3-4 dishes each if you’re not too hungry but 5 will fill you nicely if you’re ravenous!photo 2

Favourites on the current menu: Chorizo, labneh, crisp bread and kale (£8), Lamb chips with harissa (£7.5), Wood pigeon with port (£9), Veal ragu and tagliatelle (£8.5), Pan fried goats cheese (£6.5), Spatchcock quail (£8.5). The desserts are excellent if you have room.

The Shed is a truly special place taking British produce and London dining in an exciting direction. Book ahead to avoid disappointment. 8/10

The Shed Restaurant
122 Palace Gardens Terrace,
London, W8 4RT

Call: 0207 229 4024
Tweet: 
@theshed_resto
Email: info@theshed-restaurant.com

No. 11 Pimlico Road

photo“I was taken to No. 11 as a surprise, and what a lovely little surprise it was.”

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a local gastropub in Pimlico, but the atmosphere at No. 11 Pimlico Road is just perfect, the whimsical fairy lights and candles contrasting with the contemporary furniture and tiled walls. This is the kind of place where Alice in Wonderland might stop by for a Rhubarb photoand ginger pudding or some Banana ice cream (both on the menu).

The sharing platters to start lend themselves well to groups who like to try a bit of everything on the menu. I could have ordered all of them! We had Crispy peppered squid with parsley and garlic aioli (lightly battered and very tasty) with a Potted mackerel pate and amazingly thinly cut rye crisps. A bottle of Picpoul de Pinet was the perfect accompaniment – definitely the LAST bottle of wine I drink until after the marathon!
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Although the waitress advised me to try their ‘excellent’ burgers, I’m pleased I chose the Sea Bass with cauliflower puree, wild mushrooms, tenderstem broccoli and crisp potato hash. This was delicious but the potato hash was a bit on the crispy side. I also tried the Chicken schnitzel with home made remoulade and fries, which was perfectly tasty. I’ve read negative reviews about the service here, but our waitress was lovely albeit not very attentive. Perhaps they are understaffed? The atmosphere really is lovely and I would definitely return here for drinks and nibbles if I was in the area. 6/10


No. 11 Pimlico Road,

Belgravia,
London,
SW1W 8NA

0207 730 6784

info@no11pimlicoroad.co.uk