Express's secretive food reviewer has been hunting for gluten-free sandwiches on his lunchtime outings and, so far, the search has not yielded much.
Anonymous, unpaid, hard-to-please and gluten-free critic Harry Smiles had this to say...
I truly started this column with the best intentions. I wanted to be cheerful and smiley to match the good weather that we have had recently. Sadly, my good intentions went away as quickly as the sun, and that means you are going to have to put up with one of Harry's ‘hangry’ rants.
This month's programme is brought to you by the lack of gluten-free sandwiches / rolls / wraps on offer in town...
Pictured: A bleak outlook for those wanting a gluten-free sandwich.
I normally pack a lunch, but the summery weather had led my motivation to dwindle, and I have spent more time outside than in my kitchen. So, naturally, I found myself having to hunt for food like many others one day at lunchtime and it didn’t go down well: I couldn’t find any gluten-free sandwiches, even after carefully perusing the shelves at the local Co-op, Tesco, M&S and Morrisson’s.
On that note, the majority of those do not even have gluten-free salads, as the choice is between pasta salads (a.k.a. really painful tummy ache) and Caesar salads with croutons (a.k.a. mild discomfort).
I was pressed with time and by the rumbles in my stomach that were growing louder by the minute, so I obviously didn’t check every single place and ended up going back to a ‘valeur sûre’ - see below – but a more in-depth search at the weekend didn’t yield anything better. (Please send recommendations if you have any, I promise I’ll keep it a secret!)
Pictured: The lunch rescuer.
Luckily, I was rescued out of my hunger by Nude Food and their salad bar. They always have a nice selection of options on offer, and - good news - they are all gluten-free!
No matter what you choose, you are sure to get something delicious, full and flavour and most importantly, filling for just £4.50. I am particularly partial to their ‘coleslaw’, their quinoa / sweet potatoes mix and their rice noodles but there’s never been one I didn’t like.
One tiny complaint thought, feeling particularly peckish after coming up empty in my sandwich hunt, I asked for some salmon with my salad – you can add ‘proteins’ such as chicken, feta, etc… - and the £4 charge for the tiny sliver I received was hard to swallow. Don’t get me wrong, the salmon is always cooked to perfection, but I really can’t justify charging £4 for it – almost the same price as the whole salad. I was too dumbfounded to say anything but let’s just say I won’t be caught at it again.
Pictured: The Deli always delivers.
As I don’t want to end this column on a sour note, I will once again give kudos to The Deli on Bond Street for not only having an awesome salad bar but also offering luscious gluten-free ones such as the one pictured here which had the most decadent feta cheese and black olives: my favourites. The Deli never disappointed when I was able to enjoy their wraps, chicken burgers and others and they are still delivering excellent lunches now.
I also want to give an honourable mention to La Frégate Café for their excellent carrot cake. It was so good I got worried it did contain gluten (some GF cakes can be a bit on the dry side) and had to double check it was definitely safe. My apologies to the kind lady behind the till who thought I didn’t trust her word – I just couldn’t believe how good it was, which I guess is a compliment?
Pictured: A scrumptious cake from La Frégate.
Moral of the story: we need more gluten-free options. It might be only a ‘trend’ for some but it affects real people in a real way and we can’t just ‘choose’ to not be ill when we eat gluten. Think of all the extra money you could make. Go on, throw us a bone… or a sandwich… we will be super grateful!
This article first appeared in Connect Magazine, which you can read in full HERE.