gluten free

Sunday, Barnsbury

It’s been a couple of months now since I made the move from West London to North. And I have fallen head over heels for a wonderful part of town called Barnsbury. If you’ve ever been here – you’ll know why. Tucked away between Kings Cross, Highbury & Islington and Angel, Barnsbury reminds me of platform 9 and 3/4. Many people don’t really know of its existence and it’s a gateway to magical secrets and experiences. (More on those to follow in later posts). But for now let me tell you about the not-so-secret yet absolutely magical restaurant called Sunday.

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You can get coffee in the queue to keep your hands warm

I once read a review that stated Sunday Barnsbury is the neighbourhood restaurant that everyone wishes they lived next door to’ and they really were right. So much so, that this place has queues out of the door every Saturday and Sunday. Long queues.

Sunday’s like the Berghain of Barnsbury. But with more food, and everyone gets in… eventually.

Throngs of people are willing to freeze at 9.15 on a February morning, waiting in line for brunch at Sunday. (I have actually seen people run to beat other people to the front of the queue before it opens at 9am on a Saturday morning). If that’s not dedication for a perfectly poached egg, I don’t know what is.

In our culture of instant gratification, queuing is annoying. Especially if you’re hungry / hungover / checking Instagram for real time food updates on the inside, dreaming of Deliveroo.

So is it worth the wait?

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Brunch at Sunday isn’t for the faint hearted. Come hungry!

Without a doubt, Sunday is worth the wait. I do think they should build another one next door (hey, why not call it Saturday?) so that they can serve more people but I also think they should more accommodating to people in the queue. Once you’ve got your name on the clipboard, you’re not shown any “Sunday love” until you get inside. They could make more effort to serve tea and coffee to those who are waiting outside.

Once you’re in though, it’s all about the delicious and creative food options, alongside freshly roasted coffee. The menu changes weekly and is focused around fresh and seasonal ingredients. They are very friendly to gluten-free people and have the most amazing GF toast if you ask for it. I’ve eaten here a few times now and my favourite dish has to be the ham hock potato rosti with poached egg and rocket, picture below. They also serve Bloody Marys, bubbles and wine – so you can get your breakfast booze fix if that’s what you’re looking for.

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Poached egg porn

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TOP TIP: If you don’t fancy the weekend queuing malarkey or getting up early, why not try booking for dinner? They serve dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights – no queuing included. The buzzing little place is filled with candles and is a good option for an intimate dinner with friends or a date.

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Courgette fritters with avocado, halloumi and poached eggs

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Sunday Barnsbury
169 Hemingford Rd,
London N1 1DA

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Pineapple, blueberry, kale & almond milk smoothie

The mornings are getting brighter, the evenings are getting lighter and this is my favourite time of year! I’ve filled my fridge full of yummy fruit and veg which makes it easy to whiz up a smoothie, which is just what I crave on a sunny Saturday.

Today, I threw half a small pineapple, a handful of kale, a handful of blueberries and a large splash of almond milk into my NutriBullet and made the below in under a minute. Et voila!

Nutribullet green juice Nutribullet green juice Pineapple, kale, blueberry and almond milk smoothie

There’s a fresh prince in town: Bel-Air

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It was one of those cold, grey February Saturdays when I went to the soft launch of Bel-Air – a new healthy food spot opening next week in Old Street, London. The smiling staff at Bel-Air and the sleek marble counter piled high with fresh, summer-style salads greeted me like a ray of Californian sunshine. It may have been drizzling in Shoreditch but the sun was shining in Bel-Air.

Bel-Air London

This bright new joint specialises in ‘feel good fast food’, prioritising ingredients that make you feel great rather than calorie-counting. The cold options include freshly poached salmon, Jerusalem artichoke salad, broccoli and almond slaw, slow roast aubergines with tahini and dukkah. These are ingredients designed to make you glow from the inside out.

Bel-Air London quinoa risotto with feta

The black quinoa risotto was delicious, and much lighter than a standard risotto thanks to the holy grain that is quinoa. Topped with crunchy pine nuts, sunflower seeds and feta cheese, I am now a total quinoa risotto convert. The concept may confuse a few Italians…

Bel-Air London lemon chicken

If you’re craving something more substantial, then Bel-Air’s Ancho Chill Braised Beef (also gluten-free) is heavenly tender and slow-cooked to perfection. With guacamole, lime, salad and fresh coriander you still feel light after eating it.

Bel-Air raw root vegetable saladd

I hear they are also doing ‘build your own breakfast pots’ which will include puffed quinoa, raw oats, along with buckwheat and almond milk porridge. I’ll certainly be going back to try those!

Bel-Air has reminded me about the joys of summer eating and I can’t wait to go back. It’s opening on the 16th March 2015. You can stalk them here and here.

See you in the sunshine.

Bel-Air
54 Paul Street
London, EC2A 4LN

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

Brunchin’ at Bills

Walking into any of the Bills restaurants is like rocking up atย an old friend’s house on a Sunday afternoon. The atmosphere is always buzzing yet relaxed and everyone is soย very welcoming – even at 7am, when they open for breakfast on week days. There aren’t many places this good open that early during the week, so Bills is ideal for a catch up with friends before work or a lazy meal here any other time! The menu is gluten-free friendly too, so you can enjoy smoked salmon and poached eggs on toast. Full allergen advice can be found here.

Take a friend, take your date, take your dog – Bills could be your new favourite local. (And don’t forget to try the sweet potato chips)…

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Bills Restaurant
Kensington Arcade,
125 Kensington High Street,
London
W8 5SF

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

Tanya’s Cafe Chelsea

Vegan? Gluten free? Organic? Tanyaโ€™s Cafe ticks very health box. In fact, everything that comes out of Tanya’s kitchen is completely raw and full of nutrients.

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A place for yoga bunnies to meet up post work out and nibble on seriously delicious and raw food, there’s a bit of hype around Tanya’s at the moment. And rightly so. The food is amazing! It’s not cheap – but it really is worth the price tag.

Raw Tacos at Tanyas Cafe Chelsea

We ordered the tacos, which were the tastiest tacos Iโ€™ve ever eaten. Guacamole, portobello mushroom ‘meat’ and salsa in a dehydrated taco.

This was followed by crunchy munchy cheesy kale chips and avocado with super-seed mix.

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We skipped out of Tanya’s, satisfyingly full and glowing with raw-ness.

Tanya’s Cafe
35 Ixworth Place,
London
SW3 3QX