one aldwych london
Thanks to its location and beautiful any-occasion atmosphere, I have frequented One Aldwych for a number of years. I have staycationed in the hotel during Fashion Week, spent many memorable evenings in the Lobby Bar, and indulged in my fair share of business lunches at Indigo (One Aldwych’s all-day restaurant).

I have not, however, been to the spa nor Indigo since its sneaky gluten-free and dairy-free menu transformation.

With a healthy half-day retreat dreamt up to resolve said issues, my friend and I hot-footed it to the belly of the hotel for a spot of pre-lunch indulgence.

While she swam and sauna-ed herself to euphoria, I enjoyed a 75-minute OSKIA Signature Glow facial Utilizing a multitude of active ingredients in the brand’s multi-award winning nutritional skincare, the facial is able to cater equally to both the health-lovers and self-rewarders. We’re talking cleansing, massaging, facial extraction, masks, and moisture – all capped off with a back massage using melted candle wax.

Fighting the urge to then fall asleep in the changing rooms, we left our underground haven and travelled two floors upwards for lunch at Indigo.

Though he doesn’t promote the restaurant as such, executive chef Dominic Teague has grafted one of the most incredible gluten-free menus in London. As it has always been, the dishes are still heavily influenced by traditional British faire with a large focus on foraged foods. Just secretly, wonderfully, gluten and dairy-free.

Whilst being charmed by one of Indigo’s genuinely lovely waiters, our ‘ladies lunch’ took charge of a man-sized culinary exploration: hand-picked Dorset crab (with potted shrimp & pickled mackerel), cured Loch Duart salmon (with citrus fruit, coriander & avocado), organic Rhug Estate lamb rump (samphire, smoked aubergine, capers & anchovies), a medium-rare single muscle rump steak (with roast shallot, hand-cut chips & soft herb salsa), crushed swede, and braised red cabbage.

Not forgetting fresh gluten-free bread so fantastically moreish it almost makes you cancel the rest of your order.

To tie the bow on the day, we shared Dominic’s genius orange polenta cake (with toasted pistachio) and Amedei chocolate mousse (with honeycomb & almond milk ice cream) before saluting the hotel’s special OSKIA Rose de Mai cocktails in the Lobby Bar.

I would be more than happy to Groundhog Day this retreat for the rest of my life.

one aldwych london
one aldwych london
View Post

the gate london
My steadfast love affair with polenta chips started two years ago at The Gate. Back then, I was an altogether more carnivorous individual than I am today yet left the vegetarian restaurant literally rejoicing.

When my nut-allergic, sober & vegan friend (I know, right?!) and I found ourselves with a string of successes to celebrate, The Gate was the only rational option.

Over fresh juices, we kicked things off with the soup of the day and Vietnamese rolls (filled with smoked tofu, cucumber, mango, mint, alfalfa sprouts and served with soya dip) before allowing ourselves the long-lost pleasure of perfect polenta.

In between bites of our aforementioned garlic aioli-covered vegan chips, we shared the vegan Aubergine Teriyaki and Thai green curry. The former – breadcrumb coated chargrilled aubergine – was layered with coriander pesto, roasted red peppers, shiitake mushrooms & horseradish and served on stir-fried noodles with a pickled ginger & mango salsa. The latter – a vegan and gluten-free curry – combined lotus root, fried tofu, baby corn, mange tout and mushrooms in a Thai-spiced creamy coconut sauce and was served alongside wild & basmati rice with green papaya salsa.

With sauteed kale thrown in for good measure, natch.

Though we were incredibly satisfied at this point, my dietary requirement-ridden amiga could not ignore the promise of a pear and rhubarb crumble with vegan chantilly cream so I threw in a lemongrass, lime leaf and coconut cheesecake (with chilli and pineapple confit) for good measure.

Every single plate served up fresh “HOW IS SOMETHING THIS GOOD VEGAN?!” Realness. The Gate is the vegan restaurant of vegan restaurants.

(And it’s not even a vegan restaurant.)

the gate london
the gate london
View Post

maple and fitz
While I appreciate the fortune of a life peppered in Michelin stars and gargantuan tasting menus, my most genuine foodie thrill is the discovery of places like Maple & Fitz. The pint-sized cafe occupies a small space in Fitzrovia and serves the most fresh, healthy, and delicious meals around.

I chose to embark on my first visit with a fellow clean eating-lover in tow and my most health-conscious hat on. For the amount of skanky ‘salads’ (dressing with leaves) and ‘smoothies’ (pre-prepared, pasteurised sugar snacks) you can get in the area, I have long been searching for a truly nutritious lunchtime soulmate.

Maple & Fitz is The One.

With emphasis on the gluten-free, their freshly-prepared salads can be mixed and matched to your preference and topped with your choice of free-range chicken breast, salmon, tofu, poached eggs, grilled halloumi, or grilled avocado.

Wanting to try a bit of everything, I mixed the Julius Caesar (shredded kale, romaine, mangetout, toasted buckwheat, cabbage, toasted pumpkin & sunflower seeds, pecorino, Dijon-lemon yogurt dressing) with the Cauli in Mumbai (quinoa, roasted spiced cauliflower, shredded carrot, peppery rocket, white shallot vinaigrette) and Mexican Standoff (bulgur wheat, avocado, black beans, grape tomatoes, fresh jalapenos, red onion, coriander lime pesto dressing), then topped it with chicken and washed each bite down with a sip of their cold-pressed Green Queen juice (spinach, parsley, lemon, cucumber, celery, ginger). It was the best lunch of my life.

Having wooed the both of us, we took the staff’s naughty gluten-free brownie recommendation, paired it with two raw cacao energy balls (medjool dates, almonds, raw cocoa, chia seeds and coconut), and split the loot over flat whites and work chat.

When my lunch date brought up the desire for another brownie less than two hours later (recoiling at their 5pm closing time – “…but no other brownie is as good!”), Maple & Fitz gained official hidden gem status.

A photo posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on


maple and fitz
View Post

shrimp feast
Once upon a lazy weekend, The Manfriend and I were really in the mood for a shrimp feast.

Or, ‘prawn feast’, as he will have just corrected me when reading this.

I wanted a gluten-free wrap. He would rather eat toilet paper than eat a gluten-free wrap. Swapping his feast’s carrier for a carby, starchy dude roll, we were both able to enjoy this simple, healthy (and surprisingly spicy!) recipe in personalised bliss.

Ingredients:
8-10 shrimp (cooked or raw, just make sure they’re peeled and cleaned if raw)
The gluten-free rolls/wraps of your choice
¼ cup sliced or diced onion (your preference)
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 teaspoon red grapefruit zest
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon celery salt

For the remoulade:
1 onion, sliced
2 tablespoons red grapefruit juice
1 teaspoon red grapefruit zest
½ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon mayo (I used low-fat)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon horseradish
½ teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
1. Heat the butter in a large pan at medium/high. Cook the onions until they begin to soften (likely

2. Stir in the garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, salt, black pepper and celery salt.

3. If your shrimp are raw, add them and cook until they become opaque (this will take roughly 3 to 4 minutes). If they are pre-cooked, simply add them.

4. Stir in your grapefruit zest and remove the pan from heat.

5. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, mayo, mustard, grapefruit juice, horseradish, zest, and paprika. Follow with your onions and parsley.

6. To serve, throw some cabbage onto your bun/wrap, top with your shrimp and onion concoction, then add a few tablespoons of the remoulade, to taste.

Enjoy!

shrimp feast
shrimp feast
View Post

banana protein squares
In my eyes, banana bread is one of the most delicious things on the planet. As the world likes to make lols of me at times, it is also a food that makes my blood sugar skyrocket and my slightly-celiac body pretty angry.

NO MORE, banana bread! NO MORE!

I have whipped up the recipe below for ladies and gents who, like me, crave a healthy and gluten-free alternative to banana bread that doesn’t just taste like bananas and cardboard. Say hello to Gluten-Free Banana Protein Squares.

Ingredients:
2 egg whites
2 generous tablespoons of vanilla greek yogurt
1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 ripe bananas, mashed to your liking (I didn’t want mine too smooth as I love the look of banana chunks in banana bread)
1 cup of gluten-free oats

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350/180 then mix your dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Follow with the rest of your ingredients – ‘wet’, though I hate the word – and mix well.
2. Grab a silicone baking tray (no cleanup, yay!) and pour the mixture in.
3. Throw it in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. You can play it by sight and preference, but I waited the full 40 until my edges were browned.
4. Let it cool for five minutes and dive in. It is really that simple. And delicious.

banana protein squares
banana protein squares