Gluten Free London in Lockdown - Why it's important to support small businesses if we can.
At the beginning of March, none of us new what the next three months would bring. I remember thinking that there might be a possibility of working from home for a couple of weeks, but I would have never imagined that when the lockdown began that I would be leaving my office for the last time. A couple of weeks ago I was made redundant, an experience that unfortunately many people will be sharing all over the world. It has turned my thoughts to other businesses that may be struggling in this time, especially the ones particularly close to my heart (and stomach).
At the beginning of lockdown, I began to see posts from several different gluten free restaurants in London, informing their followers that they will be closing their doors for the foreseeable future. I've been lucky enough to have eaten at most of these places in the past, and it was incredibly sad to hear that they weren't able to continue their business. There is something so lovely about the gluten free restaurants in London, I've only ever had great experiences. This may be because many of them are small businesses, some even family run.
As someone that cherishes eating out at places where I don't have to worry about cross-contamination, I was worried about what this was going to mean for these business. Thankfully, many have adapted to these strange circumstances and I've created a list down below of where you can still get your favourite gluten free foods.
Why are small businesses important?
There are many reasons why small businesses are important. From contributing 60% of all private sector jobs in the U.K., to boosting communities, and being a more ethical way to spend your money. They generate competition and inspire innovation in their industries.
Unfortunately, small businesses will be the businesses that will be hurt the most by the economic effects of coronavirus.
Why should we care?
Well, that's something you have to ask yourself. For me, I would hate to see these restaurants having to close their doors for good. I am a foodie through and through, so selfishly, I love the food and experience. Sometimes these places are the only places you can get gluten free versions of your favourite foods like churros, or fried chicken, or dumplings or.... you get the point. But aside from that, these restaurants are also peoples's livelihood. It takes a lot of hard work to create a successful business whether it's in London or not.
What can we do?
If you are in the position to help and want to, here are some of the gluten free businesses in London that are still operating, albeit in slightly different parameters: (N.B. it goes without saying, but if you don't live close to the places below that offer click and collect, then please stay home!)
Naturally Chinese, Surbiton - Offering a click and collect takeaway.
Maize Blaize, Hackney - Available on Deliveroo, Uber Eats, and also click and collect from their own website.
Niche, Angel - Restaurant is closed for now, but you are still able to purchase vouchers for when they reopen.
Ugly Dumpling, Soho - Offering frozen dumpling deliveries all over London. They also have a pay it forward option for buying vouchers for when they reopen.
Leggero, Soho - Offering delivery of ready made pasta meals as well as fresh pasta, sauces, bread flour, and desserts.
Vida Bakery, Brick Lane - They are still delivering their products, and have also brought out ready mixes for you to cook at home.
Paladar, Southbank - Order and collect from their restaurant available from their website
Yorica, Cental London - Store closed but you can still buy their products from Ocado, Holland & Barrett, and Waitrose
Apres Food Co., Central London - Delivering ready meals, DIY Recipe kits, fresh breads etc.
Cookies & Scream, Highbury and Islington - Bakery is open again for a takeaway service only from Thursday - Saturday 12pm-6pm.
Ruby's of London, Greenwich Market - Orders available online for delivery.
But mostly, if you are able, let's be there when they reopen! Let's book them out, and show them how much they mean to us. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.
Written by Morgan McKenzie Moore (a very passionate eater of gluten free food)