The 5 Best Gluten Free Dishes in London

The London dining scene is evolving rapidly.

At the start of 2016, we released our first ebook, The Gluten Free Guide to London. It was the culmination of more than a year of research and A LOT of eating (it’s a hard job but someone’s gotta do it!). We scoured our adopted city for the best gluten free restaurants, places that understood allergy restrictions and planned their menus with an eye on restricted diets.

No sooner was our book published than the restaurant scene started to shift.

Chowing down on the best places to eat in Brixton Market

One of our favorite gluten-free destinations, the Truscott Arms in Maida Vale, sadly closed. It fell victim to the rapid growth in London, which usually coincides with dramatic rent increases for small businesses. Other restaurants opened new locations, changed their names (yes, really) and there is always the steady drumbeat of new openings to keep an eye on.

We’ve been back to London several times in the past few months and we’ve been on a mission. We hit the streets on behalf of all gluten-free diners, searching for the best and brightest new openings, as well as revisiting old favorites to make sure they still make the grade.

All of our new research is now available in second edition of the ebook. Click here to purchase it now (use the discount code 2NDEDITION to get the book for $5.99 through the end of May).

Never people to save the best for last, here are our 5 best gluten free dishes in London. The gluten-free creme de la creme, as they say.

5 Best Gluten Free Dishes

Duck & Waffle at Duck & Waffle

If you decide to call your restaurant Duck & Waffle, and then serve a dish by the same name, it better be good. Based on the crowds that frequent this 24/7 restaurant in the heart of the City, it is. Bonus: they offer a gluten free version, which is just as good as the original.

The Duck & Waffle is a take on fried chicken and waffles, the southern US comfort food. In place of the chicken is a confit leg of duck that has been slowly simmered in duck fat before being dusted in gluten free flour and fried. The waffle is fluffy and light, and the accompanying mustard maple syrup is the perfect blend of sweet and savory.

At £17, this isn’t the cheapest dish in the world, but you won’t eat for the rest of the day, so there’s that.

5 Best Gluten Free Dishes in London

Lamb Shawarma Rice Bowl at Shawarma Bar

Shawarma Bar, the causal spinoff of Berber & Q, specializes in spit-roasted and grilled meats flavored with Northern African and Middle Eastern spices. We keep coming back for the lamb shawarma rice bowl.

The base of the bowl is mejaderah, an Arab comfort food that is a mixture of rice, lentils, onions, and a whole host of spices. It is topped with the lamb shawarma, which is marinated and slow-roasted over a charcoal fire, until the fat is caramelized and crispy, and the meat falls apart. The bowl is garnished with fried onions, tahina, a few vibrantly-colored pickled vegetables.

If you crave a little heat, add spicy harissa sauce to your order. There is no rice bowl like it anywhere in London.

5 Best Gluten Free Dishes in London

Small Skillet at Bird

One of the goals during our dining research was to find places that served a gluten free version of a normally gluten laden dish. Like fried chicken. Normally dusted in flour and fried in cross-contaminated oil, finding a true gluten free take on fried chicken proved difficult. Then we found Bird.

Bird flies under the radar (pun intended), because they don’t clearly market themselves to gluten free diners. But rest assured, the fried chicken (along with many of the sides) is completely gluten free and delicious.

The Small Skillet contains a drumstick, thigh, and two wings, a perfect way to sample Bird’s fried chicken. The chicken isn’t greasy, but incredibly crunchy thanks to the rice flour base. There are a few options for sauces and glazes, but we stick with the buffalo glaze if we want spicy, or the honey ginger for a little bit of sweet.

Or just order both!

5 Best Gluten Free Dishes in London

Aged Cheeseburger Tacos at Temper

This new SoHo restaurant is one of the additions to the 2nd edition of the ebook. It’s a meat-lover’s paradise, and almost everything is cooked over an open flame. Here you’ll see large hunks of meat, from lamb to goat to whole pork loins, roasting and spinning over fires, dotted around the open kitchen.

The tacos are the best way to start a meal, and the seemingly simple aged cheeseburger taco is the best one on the menu.

The tortillas are excellent (made with 100% corn) and they are milled, formed, and cooked on-site. The dry-aged ground beef is full of intense funky “beefiness” and plenty of fat to keep it moist. Even better, it sits on a piece of melted, gooey Ogleshield cheese, one of my favorite cheese for burgers.

5 Best Gluten Free Dishes in London

5 Best Gluten Free Dishes in London

Hopper with Kari at Hoppers

Hoppers exploded onto the London scene last year and has been one of the most popular SoHo dining establishments ever since. The restaurant specializes in Sri Lankan cuisine, and hoppers are a staple of the menu. Hoppers are bowl-shaped pancakes, made from a batter of fermented rice and coconut milk. It gets crispy on the bottom, and a little soft and spongey on top. The hopper is meant to be torn and used as a utensil to pick up the accompanying curry (or ‘kari’).

We particularly like the fish and black pork kari. Both are rich, coconut-based karis, packed with warming spices. Adding a side of sambols (consisting of pol sambol, seeni sambol, and coriander chutney) is strongly advised for a more authentic Sri Lankan meal.

If you need a stronger vote for the quality of Hoppers, consider this. After recently dining there with a Bangladeshi friend, he said that Hoppers is the only southern Asian restaurant he would consider taking his mom, herself a master of home-cooked curries.

5 Best Gluten Free Dishes in London

5 Best Gluten Free Dishes in London

So there you have it, the 5 best gluten free dishes in London.

We don’t take these designations lightly and the next time you’re in town, run, don’t walk, so any of these amazing eateries for a meal you won’t forget anytime soon. Or try and cram them all into a single day of eating, like we sometimes try to do.

For tons more gluten-free recommendations all over London, as well as our favorite market eats and tips for buying gluten-free products in town, check out the ebook here. And don’t forget, it’s only on sale for the month of May.

Happy dining!

5 Best Gluten Free Dishes in London

  • May 6, 2017

    What a great round up of posts for dining on gluten free foods in London. I have yet to experience the Chicken and Waffle thing in the U.S. and I see…. duck and waffles appear to be a thing in London. Your photos make me hungry.. gluten free or not, let’s eat!

  • May 6, 2017

    It’s so handy for gluten free travelers to have a guide like this or even better to have your e-book! Even more so in a city like London, where the food choices are endless. I’d head to Shawarma because I’m a big fan of Middle Eastern spices and cuisine. 🙂
    Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie recently posted…23 Costa Rica Wildlife Photos to Make You Want to Visit Right NowMy Profile

  • May 6, 2017

    I am starting to do the transfer over to gluten free and as a local to London, this post has given me some great ideas where I want to check out. Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Danik recently posted…Happy Boat: Koh Phi Phi’s Non Booze Cruise OptionMy Profile

  • May 6, 2017

    Oh my, I could eat that lamb shawarma rice bowl right now!! It’s great to know that there is such a great variety of dishes to enjoy if you wish to avoid gluten products.

  • May 7, 2017

    I’m an equal opportunity eater and there is not one dish here that I would not happily devour.This would be a great resource for anyone with gluten sensitivity.

  • May 8, 2017

    My son is gluten intolerant (and vegan) so it’s always difficult finding meals with him when we travel. This list looks super yummy for me (and my carnivorous ways). While he might still be looking for the best tofu in town, I could find any number of meals here that would hit the spot. The hoppers looks particularly good.
    Jenn and Ed Coleman recently posted…Cloudland Canyon Hiking and Photography GuideMy Profile

  • May 8, 2017

    Wow! These dishes look delish! Lamb Shawarma and aged cheeseburger with tacos look unique and interesting. Never knew that London is home to these exquisite gluten free dishes. Thanks for doing the homework for everyone! 😉
    Reshma recently posted…10 Things To Do in Goa Than Chilling At The Beach!My Profile

  • May 8, 2017

    I think it is so great that the London food scene is starting to shift, I feel that here in manchester with more gluten free, dairy free and meat free options. I’ve grown up with my grandmother being celiac so in our family we’re always on the look out for dishes she can have and places where there isn’t just one thing on the menu for her. I’ll need to send her a link to this post there is a great variety on here 😉

  • May 9, 2017

    Thanks for the list! This should be handy for my next trip to London.Looking at the photos though, I’d probably head for lamb shawarma rice bowl first upon touching down in London!

  • May 11, 2017

    You just made me crave! LOL. I need to give that Duck and Waffle a try.