Gluten-free dining can sound distressingly like a synonym for salad. But London's demand for gluten-free food has rocketed, and now pizzas, lasagnas and pies all come gluten-free. Gathered up here is the comfort food - you know, the cheese-topped, piping hot or chocolate-stuffed sort - to warm the cockles of even a gluten-avoider's heart.
What restaurants mean by 'gluten-free' varies, with some pizza joints, for example, using gluten free flour but the same oven as their usual pizzas - so they aren't suitable for coeliacs. All of the places we've chosen, on top of turning out great food, should be happy to answer questions about their ingredients and cooking methods.
See our article on London's best gluten-free dining here - for more advice and inspiration to keep your gluten-free eating experience safe, unstressful - and importantly, delicious.
The brownies from the Free From Bakehouse
Brownies, blondies, Black Forest or Red Velvet - the gluten-free decadence being sold at this bakery's Borough Market stall comes in a range of colours. There's an impressive number of great gluten-free desserts on offer in London, but a comfort food round-up wouldn't be complete without some chocolate in there. Make the Free From Bakehouse's toasted nut brownie your gluten-free - and soft, chewy, rich - comfort food of choice and you'll never look back. And be aware that buying a sharing bag of them doesn't constitute an obligation to share them. Just saying.
The lasagna at La Porchetta
With branches scattered across Camden, Islington and Finsbury Park - and further central locations - you're rarely that far from a La Porchetta in north London. That's no bad thing - any of the pizza or pasta on their usual menu can be served up gluten-free, though they warn you might have a 20 minute wait. You'll find the best comfort food in the Al Forno section of the menu: the Lasagna della Casa is a traditional heap of pasta, minced beef, tomato sauce and a thick bechamel. And the four-cheese rigatoni dish, baked in the oven is... it's four cheeses. You can't argue with four cheeses.
Check their website for more locations.Deliveroo now from Chalk Farm
The pizza at Salusbury Foodstore
Hot, cheese-topped, and you can eat it with your hands - does comfort food get any better than pizza? This NW London institution - small, informal and hovering between deli and pizzeria - gets extra comfort points for offering delivery, meaning you can get your hands on their gluten-free pizzas without leaving your sofa.
An Italian we called in to consult swears he can't tell the difference between the mix of corn, polenta and rice flour in the gluten-free bases and the gluten-heavy version. Maybe he was just distracted by the toppings, which come with a bit of extra swagger - like the homemade chilli relish on the Vesuvio, morphing it into something more exciting than your usual pepperoni.
Read our full article on the best gluten free pizza in London here.Deliveroo now from Queen's Park
The Moo pie at Pieminister
A pie lives and dies on the quality of the pastry, which makes gluten-free pies a risky enterprise. Fortunately pie masters Pieminister are serving gluten-free versions of two of their best - the Moo pie and the Heidi. The Moo's a steak and ale pie, made with Savernake ale, a gluten-free stout from Wiltshire brewery Kennet & Avon. We think it just edges out the - also great - Heidi pie, with goats cheese, sweet potato and spinach, on the basis that the gravy turns the pastry from good into great.
Both pies and their gluten-free menu are also on offer at their Gabriel's Wharf location.
The parmesan and cheddar doughnuts at Niche
This is a difficult one to call - this EC1R restaurant is totally gluten-free, and a large number of dishes on the menu at Niche count as comfort food. A lot of strong contenders for first place.
Sausages and mash? Sausage, beef and pork oak-smoked and flavoured with paprika and treacle. The full English? Everything you want from a fried breakfast, including gluten free white, toasted bloomer. Buttermilk fried chicken? Brisket cooked in beer? Roasted garlic and truffle oil mash? But the two-cheese simplicity of the parmesan and cheddar doughnuts is a winner for gluten-free diners, vegetarians and just... people who like doughnuts, and dairy, and would like to support this holy coupling of the two.
The meatballs and flatbread at Feed me Primal
Meatballs wrapped in a flatbread. So simple. So warming. This paleo street food stall makes homemade, locally and ethically sourced gluten-free lunches at markets around town. Street food markets can be difficult places to eat gluten-free, but here you can choose from lamb or free-range pork meatballs, served in really good gluten-free flatbreads. Now also available at their location in Boxpark Croydon.
The pizza-topped cannellini stew at Sodo Pizza
Sodo offer a twist on gluten-free pizza. They'll do their usual pizza toppings on a cannellini bean stew, baked in the oven. A hot, rich, bean stew - already ticking a lot of comfort food boxes - topped with everything you'd usually get on the Jon Bon Chovy pizza (tomato, mozzarella, anchovies, capers and chilli) - or one of their meatier n'duja or ham-topped specials. Stew meets pizza, and it is a momentous thing.
The duck breast and potato cake at The Harcourt
If you ignore the siren call of the smorrebrod (Danish open sandwiches) and cinnamon rolls, Scandinavian food can be a great choice for gluten-free options - particularly when it's comfort food you're in need of. The Nordic countries are really good at stews, meatballs, and making exciting things out of potatoes. One of London's best Scandi restaurants is proving it, with several dishes on the Harcourt's short menu suitable for those avoiding gluten. For the most comforting hit of meat and potato warmth, it's got to be the confit duck breast, with the added crunch of potato cake and the sticky richness of figs. The restaurant is filled with alcoves and lamplight, so the backdrop will be as comforting as the dinner...
The polenta gnocchi at Leggero
Everything at this W1D restaurant is gluten-free, but for peak Italian comfort food, it's got to be one of their polenta dishes. You could go for a classic polenta with gorgonzola and walnuts stirred through it, but the polenta gnocchi is a heap of hot, chewy dumplings, porcini, truffle cheese and butter. It really hits that sweet spot where comfort food meets full-on decadence.
The duck and waffle at Duck & Waffle Local
The cooking methods mean the Duck & Waffle guys label their waffle options 'gluten-conscious' rather than gluten-free. If you're alright with that, this unlocks their insanely decadent signature dish, with confit leg of duck, fried duck egg and syrup, and the Full Elvis (a waffle heaped with peanut butter, jelly, caramelised banana and cream). Waffles are also available 24 hours a day at the Heron Tower restaurant.