Before I start this post, I just have to flag that this is probably the best gluten free menu I’ve come across in London. Now I’ve got that delicious nugget of info out in the open, let’s proceed.
This little gluten free hot spot seems to have just sprung up out of nowhere. Located smack bang next to Canada Water (my neck of the woods – get in), Leadbelly’s Bar and Restaurant was never really on my radar. Truth be told, they’ve been around since 2010, but only in the last few months has their menu transformed. When I say transformed, I mean transformed.
Roughly 90% or so of their menu is gluten free. Now I don’t mean these guys offer gluten free versions/options /adapts of dishes, but the menu IS gluten free. The main one. Not a different one. Unbeknown to any Tom, Dick or Harry, almost everything is naturally deliciously gluten free, without any even realising. A fully labelled menu proudly states in brackets what’s GF, and veggie and vegan for that matter, which of course is a dream to coeliacs.
What’s great about the quality and flavour of the food, and the way Leadbelly’s market themselves, is that it doesn’t put off your average Joe into thinking this is going to be a ‘gluten free restaurant’ that’s only enjoyed by a gluten free-er. How many times have you been out for dinner and felt family and friends have been put off by a 100% gluten free restaurant. They feel like they’re not getting a good deal out of the situation, but here they would honestly be none the wiser, and you can eat the lot without worry.
Arriving with a friend Ellie, we browsed the menu and were amazed what I could order. Pretty much anything. Brunches, burgers, picky bits, desserts, beer, roast dinner. You name it, it’s there.
Asking the manager more about why Leadbelly’s have decided to transform their menu, and they explained their chef found out he was gluten intolerant very recently. He became more and more interested in not wanting to substitute flavour on great dishes, and so went on a mission to make sure as much as possible could be gluten free on their menu, and still maintain great taste.
I really was blown away. We started with two Celia Lagers, who I’ve always been a fan of, and then ordered our mains. Due to the sheer amount of great choices, this wasn’t an easy decision to make. I went for food I wouldn’t usually be able to ever get, even at some gluten free restaurants. We decided to share Waffles with Maple Syrup and Bacon (drool), and a Southern Fried Chicken Burger, with Chips and a GF bun (normal buns also available).
Tucking in, it was the perfect balance of sweet and savoury, and a lot of beige. The waffles were lovely a squishy, smothered in maple syrup, butter and bacon, and southern fried chicken perfectly crisp. The bun was a little crumbly when cut, but otherwise held together pretty well. The southern fried chicken (and delicious dip it came with), was probably the highlight for me. It’s almost unheard of for come across GF fried chicken, so I was rather chuffed.
Unbuttoning the jeans, it was time to squeeze in a dessert and coffee – I mean, you have to when you can choose 5 out of the 6 options! We had the peanut butter brownie, which was warm with ice cream, and a banaoffee cheesecake to share. The cheesecake was so lovely and fluffy, almost reminding me of a mousse, with a solid crispy base. It could have fed a family of four, but we managed that and the brownie between us, sharing again to try as much as possible.
Then, being the greedy pig that I am, whose eyes have never been wider, I had to come back the following day for a roast… Yes I ate here twice in one weekend! I was so chuffed with the food, that the thought of a GF roast with gluten free Yorkshire puddings available would not leave my mind.
This time with my housemate, we headed back, and tucked into a beef roast with all the trimmings, a glass of red, topped off with a sticky toffee pudding, smothered in a caramel sauce. It may have been the best of the three desserts I tried.
We rolled ourselves home, as I thought up the next excuse for a visit. Perhaps an evening at the cinema and trying some of their picky bits – hello chicken wings and mac ’n’ cheese.
You can view the full (and incredibly delicious) dream menu here.
*A huge thank you for Leadbelly’s for having us as guests on the Saturday for a lovely menu. Although we were guests on the Saturday, our Sunday visit was completely self funded. As always, all opinions are on my own.