Tag Archives: gluten free

Hixter Bankside

I’m a big fan of Hix in Soho, which is probably why Mark Hix just opened up a whole new Hix right next to my office. For those of you that don’t stalk me regularly, that’s near Borough Market (London Bridge). It’s called Hixter though, not Hix.

 

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The restaurant has only just opened – it’s housed within an old metal box factory, and it’s a bit of a tardis, as it happens. Walk through a huge bar and there’s a big, light restaurant where you can see the chefs bustling about. There’s also, of course, much fancy looking artwork (Hix’s other restaurants include pieces by masters like Damian Hirst).

 

The idea is simple: it’s chicken or steak to share.

 

You can order bits of meat in various sizes, all sourced with perfect precision from (mostly) Great British producers. There’s mighty-marbled Himalayan salt dry-aged steak from hand-selected cows and barn-reared chicken from Swainson House Farm in Lancashire.

 

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There is also another Mark’s Bar in the basement, but it’s much bigger than the Soho version. This one’s even got table football and a tiny tube carriage you can get drunk in! There’s a market for that now, what with actual drinking on the tube being banned in a terrible oversight a few years ago.

 

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The restaurant currently does a lunch menu for a perfectly reasonable £9.95, with quite a big selection of dishes (sandwiches, burgers, salads etc.)

 

We tried a few of the sandwiches – the Cock ‘n’ Bull – that’s a half chicken, half steak sandwich, the Swainson Farm chicken sandwich and a chicken, Sillfield Farm bacon and summer vegetable salad. All came accompanied with more chips than four people could possibly eat, which is never a bad thing.

 

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The food was, on the whole, a little underwhelming. The sandwiches were cold (we didn’t think they were supposed to be) and the chicken in the salad was a bit dry, but on the whole it wasn’t bad. If Hix’s other restaurants are anything to go by I’m sure things will improve…

 

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££

 

6/10

 

Gluten Free? Yes – quite a few options.

 

Hixter Bankside
16 Great Guildford Street,
SE1 0HS

http://www.hixterbankside.co.uk/

 

 

Hixter Bankside on Urbanspoon

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Gluten Free Cake Delivery!

Bespoke cake specialists Bakerdays know that no special occasion is complete without cake – a sentiment I’m sure you’ll agree with. But all too often gluten free folk are left out of the great ceremony of the cake… and that’s got to change.

 

Thankfully Bakerdays are leading the way – they now do gluten free cakes which can be fully customised according to your most obscure gluten free wishes. They do One Direction cakes too…

 

You can get little ones sent through the post, and they even fit through your letterbox, so you can prance about with a big old smile on your face all day knowing that CAKE awaits when you get home.

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Here’s a Bakerdays gluten free cake specially designed for grumps; it’s a beautiful thing. And it’s not just beautiful – it actually tastes great too. Not dry, not crumbly, in fact its all things a good cake should be. And it comes with oodles of icing and jam!

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All Bakerdays letterbox cakes come with candles and balloons, and they taste a whole lot better than a birthday card. If you want something a bit bigger though Bakerdays offer a huge range of sizes – serving up to SIXTY people. Or a few very greedy ones.

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Order before 2pm to get your cake the very next day. A gluten free letterbox cake will set you back £17.99. Dairy free cakes are available too.

 

Cakes by post. It’s the future.

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Bakerdays website: bakerdays.com

The Delaunay, Strand

The Delaunay opened its doors in 2012, the latest glitzy London restaurant from two of the nation’s most accomplished restauranteurs, Jeremy King and Chris Corbin.

 

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Other than a slightly more relaxed atmosphere, The Delaunay is almost identical to its King and Corbin predecessor, The Wolseley. Decor is once again inspired by Grand European cafés of Vienna, Zurich and Budapest, cafes which I can only assume are infinitely more glamorous than our shoddy greasy spoons.

 

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The end result is a David Collins-designed wonder – dark green leather seating, many a piece of polished brass, antique mirrors and acres upon acres of marble so shiny you could eat your dinner off of it.

 

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The menu here is an all-day one, but a posh all-day one, you understand. There’s Soups, Starters, Eggs, Weiners, Crustacea and Caviar, Plats du Jours, Fish, Schnizels, Entrées, Savouries, Cakes and Coupés. There’s also Afternoon Tea. And breakfast! That’s what we came for…

 

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The breakfast menu is a piece of parchment almost a mile long, complete with almost every kind of breakfast you could possibly want or need. These range from more traditional choices like the good old full English to pancakes, waffles, granola and viennoiserie.

 

Then of course there are slightly more unusual options such as the Viennese breakfast, a kind of all you can eat breakfast buffet inspired dish of cold meat, egg and a big old pretzel. You can also have eggs cooked in any way you can dream up, so go on… be creative.

 

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They also serve bowls of coffee. This, one assumes, is how people drink coffee in Europe. The burns must be appalling.

 

Almost the entire table opted for smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, presumably reassured by the alliteration – always the sign of a good meal, I find.

 

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I, being a rebel, went with a fresh fruit salad, accompanied by camomile tea and Champagne. We were celebrating, I’d like to add. I don’t breakfast on Champagne every day, much as I’d like to.

 

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The fruit salad was delicious, and came in a small bucket you could probably swim in, if you felt like it.

 

Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs received much applause from the table, its deliciousness apparently accentuated by the many gallons of butter used in the eggs.

 

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If you do visit beyond the realms of breakfast time take a look at the Coupé menu and you’ll find the most delectable little tribute to Lucian Freud – The Wolseley’s biggest fan. He ate there every night. I kid you not. Every single night. He had his own table. And what did he get in return? An ice cream. It’s a threesome of hazelnut, almond and pistachio ice-cream on a Freudian couch with whipped cream and butterscotch sauce. Eat it.

 

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The Verdict: A brilliant breakfast spot in a great central location. Almost as good as The Wolseley, but in terms of atmosphere and service The Wolseley just about wins.

 

8/10

£££

 

The Delaunay Website: thedelaunay.com

The Delaunay on Urbanspoon

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The Rum Kitchen, Soho

Located in Carnaby Street’s shiny Kingly Court, this is the second Rum Kitchen in London town. The first one’s been open for a year or so and has already attracted His Royal Highness of Wonderment Mr Prince Harry.

 

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Less a restaurant, more a beach shack bar that screams unashamedly of its love for rum and sunshine, this place is all about fun, food and good times.

 

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The bright brains behind the Rum Kitchen have brought the Bahamas to the city, with blue and white pastel beach hut planks, random patches of sun-faded corrugated metal and odd little trinkets that *might* have been picked up on the beach. The music’s great too, it’s like a party… with dinner.

 

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The cocktail menu is a hefty book of a thing, filled with some of the loveliest cocktails in town, most of which are under a tenner. Definitely try the Grog, a deadly concoction of lime, ginger beer and plenty of rum. Served in a little enamel mug this one’s guaranteed to bring out the Jack Sparrow in you. Whether or not that’ll be a good thing, though, remains to be seen.

 

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Whilst it’s not technically Caribbean, the Rum Kitchen’s Mojito is one of the best I’ve ever had – and I suppose that’s down to the quality of the rum. It’s so good it’s likely to turn your brain into marshmallow and leave you a slurring, stuttering mess before the night’s out.

 

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Want something more authentic? Mama’s Guinness Punch should do the trick – over-proof rum, condensed milk and Guinness mixed with spices, chocolate bitters and served over ice.

 

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The menu is a sort of Anglicised take on Caribbean classics – apparently London palates can’t handle the real deal. But before you get all outraged and angry about this try the ‘toned-down’ swamp sauce. I did, and immediately accepted my palate’s fate as an absolute wuss. This bottle of scotch bonnet LAVA lulls you into a false sense of security, looking just like our good friend Mr Ketchup. But don’t trust it. A tiny dab onto my tongue and I lost all sensation for the duration of the evening. A whole mouthful could likely kill a man.

 

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Anyway, warning over and done with, we’ll move onto the food. We tried the shack’s signature Jerk Chicken Thighs (£8.50) – crispy, crunchy and moist with a bit of bite… but not too much bite! Served with extra jerk sauce for those braver than me, and pineapple slaw, which is like cole slaw but more exotic.

 

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We also had a Jerk Chicken Supreme (£13.50) – grilled chicken breast, sweet potato and yam mash served with jerk gravy.

 

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The Soft Shell Crab Burger (£11.50) was a monster of thing, towering several feet into the air. The spicy tamarind sauce, ginger aïloi and guava-lime relish added to its gravity-defying brilliance.

 

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The final choice was a Jerk Fried Chicken Burger, served with scotch bonnet garlic mayo. And the world’s BEST sweet potato fries (£3), served in a small bucket.

 

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Several cocktails later we stumbled out onto the streets of Soho, feeling like we’d just spent a week on a desert island.

 

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The Verdict: The only bad thing about the Rum Kitchen is having to emerge into the real world afterwards. Seriously, it’s that good.

 

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10/10

 

The Rum Kitchen, Soho website: therumkitchen.com

The Rum Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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Brazilian BBQ at Cabana

Cabana is to Brazilian food what Wahaca is to Mexican. The Covent Garden restaurant may look like it belongs in a shopping centre, but it’s been painstakingly decorated so that it *sort of* conjures up images of Rio – if you squeeze your eyes really shut and drink a fair bit of that Caçaha stuff.

 

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There’s plank flooring, poster-lined walls and banquettes upholstered with recycled jeans which apparently come from São Paulo favelas… (that’s slum to you and me). It’s a fun, relaxed place perfect for families or groups of friends.

 

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The menu is also incredibly allergy-friendly. Gluten free dishes are clearly marked on the menu, and Cabana even serves up gluten free dough balls with cheese and garlic butter ‘pao de queijo’, and gluten free pulled pork sliders – music to many a gluten free ear, I’m sure.

 

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The Guaca-Molho (£3.95) did not live up to expectations – too much lime, but the national snack of Brazil, Pao de Queijo (£3.95), was wonderful bite size pieces of cheesy, buttery goodness. There are no calories in Cabana.

 

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Main courses centre around the Brazilian BBQ in the middle of the restaurant; colour-coded skewers are loaded with everything from marinated chicken thighs or chimichurri rump steak to giant portobello mushrooms with haloumi.

 

The Chicken Super Salad is served with a skewer of Spicy Malagueta Chicken (£10.95), and can be made even spicier should you wish because there’s a massive bottle of the stuff in the middle of the table. If you do you’re brave indeed.

 

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The Pulled Pork Sloppy José was also on the fiery side, thanks to another generous helping of Malagueta Sauce. We thought the portion a bit mean, but it tasted great.

 

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There is, of course, a veritable mountain of Caçaha cocktails to choose from at Cabana too. Red Tail Parrot was a strange mixture of muddled fruit purees and Prosecco which only really succeeded in tasting of sugar… like drinking the alcohol-soaked souls of a thousand gummy bears.

 

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The Classic Caipirinha (Brazil’s national drink) was much better (as it should have been!) This one’s made with muddled lime, sugar and the sugar cane based liquor that is Caçaha. Tastes sort of like a Mojito really, but more powerful. The Passion Fruit Caipirinha was great, too.

 

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The Verdict: Really good value, nice relaxed setting. Order the addictive Pao de Queijo and a Caipirinha or two.

 

Gluten Free: Gluten free dishes are all clearly marked on the menu and include things you’d never expect! Look out for this symbol here… no idea what it’s meant to be.

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7/10


££

Cabana on Urbanspoon

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Nopi, Piccadilly

Nopi is allegedly named after its location, just North of Piccadilly. It’s the latest (and maybe greatest) restaurant from the now fairly famous Israeli Chef Yotam Ottolenghi, a chap known for the vibrancy of his food, and big, bold flavours.

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Inside it’s all glitz and glamour and polished gold accents, with blinding white tiles completing the look. Undoubtedly an absolute nightmare for their poor cleaners.

 

 

The service here is basically brilliant, and Nopi’s very allergy-friendly too. They’ve got a gluten free menu, which changes daily, with a huge range of vegetables, fish and meat dishes. Admittedly not quite as big as the main menu, but not bad at all!

 

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Gluten Free Lunch Menu

 

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Before we began boy was presented with a little plate of bread and oil, which I watched him eat with a sad little gluten free face on. I must’ve looked very sad indeed, because moments afterwards I was given a plate of crudités for free. Look at them, are they not beautiful? They appeared under ‘GF treat’ on the bill, which was sweet. Water’s free too. Nopi is nice.

 

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Crudites (GF Treat)

 

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Gluten full bread

 

We went for the sharing plates due to an inherent inability to make any kind of decision where food’s concerned. Our chosen dishes included Pork Belly, Buttermilk Cod with Cockles, Asparagus and Jersey Royals.

 

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Buttermilk Cod, Samphire, Cockles

 

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Pork Belly, Squash, Apple

 

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Asparagus

 

The food was all incredible. We couldn’t fault a thing. Even the simple crudités tasted (and looked) like the best veggies I’d ever had. It’s not cheap – sharing dishes range from £9 – £12, but it was so worth it.

 

If you are planning a visit to Nopi do not leave without visiting the bathrooms (preferably after a glass of wine or two). They’re entirely covered in mirrors, and they’re all WIGGLY. It’s the most disorientating thing I’ve ever experienced. Like being at a fun fair but more distressing. As I stood washing my hands attempting to recover from the shock of it all another woman entered. She stopped, startled. Then looked at me, confused. One woman actually entered the men’s by accident. Honestly, it’s enough to send one off to the funny farm.

 

The Verdict: Slick service, fantastic flavours, bizarre bathrooms.

 

Gluten Free Friendly: Yes!

 

9/10 

 

££££ 

NOPI on Urbanspoon

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Gluten Free Grilling with the Tefal Optigrill

I love a gadget. And I’ve just got a new one. It’s called Optigrill… and it’s practically perfect in every way. Made by Tefal, the Optigrill is a sort of jazzed up George Foreman, which by some sort of witchcraft knows how long to cook all sorts of different foodstuffs. Even steak.

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