Don't let anyone tell you that you can't eat the good stuff too
Spare a thought for the gluten-free crew. One dietary protein found in three types of cereal (wheat, barley and rye) creates an eating-out minefield.
Pasta, cakes, most bread, pizza and a surprising amount of sauces are all technically off-limits in their purest forms. For people with coeliac disease and associated health issues, gluten can cause a seriously damaging auto-immune response in the body so it’s not something to be playing hard and fast with. Gluten-free is not a fad. There’s a difference between diets, lifestyle choices, allergies and an ingredient that inspires your body to attack itself.
What do you do when all of your friends think pasta and pizza is life? Where do you go for edible relief? How do you avoid the cop-out menu equivalent of a bowl of chips for vegetarians?
Read on for our selection of the best places to eat gluten-free in Greater Manchester.
Of the 40-odd food options on the Amma’s Canteen menu, spanning sides, curries, street food small plates and griddled goods, only two are stated as not gluten-free. Said options being the stuffed kozhukattai (garden veg-filled dim sum) and Malabar porathas (flaky flatbreads). Everything else is a gluten-free paradise of South Indian flavours, all lovingly made as if you were a guest in a mother’s kitchen.
That means that everything else is fair game. Pulled beef dosa, chicken thoran oothapam, allepey fish curry and all the other good stuff on the menu. The world is yours. Take that, gluten.
Amma's Canteen, 285 Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton M21 7GH
It’s no surprise that large swathes of the Bundobust menu are a gluten-free paradise, given how suited it is to vegan and vegetarian tastes. Granted, until they come up with some gluten-free bread products the glorious vada pav is off-limits, as are the options with puri and associated flatbreads but that still leaves plenty of pots of joy including various curries, the okra fries and Bundo’s trademark bhajis.
With Bundo's progressive approach to food you can count on them to refresh the menu accordingly. Of the five most recent additions to the menu, only the paratha flatbread wasn’t gluten-free. Add to that at least one gluten-free premium craft beer available as well as craft cider and you’ve got yourself a welcome stop-off.
Bundobust, 61 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 2AG
Up to Bolton and there’s two whole menus of gluten-free food awaiting visitors to The Cherry Tree at Blackrod. The award-winning restaurant takes coeliac-friendly food seriously with an indoor and outdoor gluten-free menu, both channelling contemporary British cooking with an emphasis on Lancashire ingredients and the odd South Asian flourish. The Cherry Tree backs the quality of its gluten-free bread enough to serve it throughout the menu with the likes of Cajun chicken skewers and sautéed wild mushrooms on toast as well as gluten-free biscuits for enjoying local cheeses.
The Cherry Tree, A6 Chorley Road, Blackrod BL6 5LA
It’s especially good that Dishoom has a comprehensive gluten-free menu because the last thing you want when visiting a place like Dishoom is to see everyone else ordering loads of amazing dishes and you’re left looking down at one the two things suitable on the menu. Whether picking from dishes that are naturally suitable or classics from the menu that have been tweaked, if you’re eating gluten-free you’re not going to feel short-changed.
Luckily, most of the main menu for lunch onwards is already suitable with the main changes coming to breakfast. Unfortunately no breakfast naans but Parsi omelette, the big Bombay and Akuri are by no means a downgrade when eaten without a bread companion.
Dishoom, 32 Bridge Street, Manchester M3 3BT
It’s not just Indian food, pizza and burgers, you can get your tapas fill too. Evuna, which has outposts in Deansgate, Northern Quarter and further afield in Knutsford and Altrincham has a satisfying amount of gluten-free options as part of a varied small plates menu. All but one of the mains are gluten-free (mixed vegetable plate the exception) and there’s plenty of meat, fish and vegetable tapas to mix and match for a small plate feast.
The paella to share at the Evuna Northern Quarter restaurant is also gluten-free in its various iterations, as is the majority of the fish and meat tapas.
Evuna, 277-279 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4EW plus Northern Quarter, Altrincham and Knutsford locations
It's no surprise that the OG GM holistic wellness cafe is out in chi-chi Hale. Yes, The Garden is very firmly inspired by Her Goopishness Gwyneth Paltrow but it's got some excellent breakfast/brunch options to choose from. Breakfast choices include organic porridge with berry compote, buckwheat pancakes with coconut yoghurt and mango coulis or rainbow hash. For lunch, the Buddha bowl, build your own salad or roasted sweet jacket would do just fine. You might even leave with a bendy yoga bod and a head of expensive highlights, if The Garden's "you are what you eat" philosophy is true. The menu is very clearly labelled, staff are conscious of food requirements and will do their best to accommodate where possible, so it's worth asking if a menu item can be adjusted.
The Garden, 154 Ashley Road, Hale WA15 9SA
Once you’ve nailed a quality gluten-free bun, we feel like the sky’s the limit when it comes to a good burger. Almost every option apart from the Blue Cheese burger is available with a gluten-free equivalent at Honest Burger, with everything helpfully signposted on the menu. Only two of the ten sides on the menu are not gluten free, with the majority of branch-specific burgers around the UK also adaptable thanks to the Honest bun gods.
Away from locally picked beers, there’s also usually a decent dry cider and gluten-free Daura Dam available if you’re in the mood for a drink.
Honest Burger, 36 Bridge Street, Manchester M3 3BT
As far as passion projects go, Off The Wheaten Track is one powered by first-hand experience. Hayley, who set up the business in 2009, was inspired by her husband’s coeliac disease diagnosis a decade earlier and has been on a quest ever since to produce and source gluten-free food that doesn’t compromise on safety or taste. All of the Altrincham deli’s bakery items are made in-house with a takeaway menu that also includes sandwiches, pies and select hot lunch items.
There’s also a notable selection of deli staples and welcome pantry additions ranging from artisan burger buns to risotto kits for cooking at home. A welcome addition to the often dull mainstream supermarket selection.
Off The Wheaten Track, 8/10 Oxford Road, Altrincham WA14 2DY
A new addition to Manchester’s pizza scene, Purezza comes north of the Watford gap with a host of plaudits for its award-winning vegan pizza. Sat in the old Dough Kitchen spot in the Northern Quarter, another gluten-free pizza venture, Purezza does vegan sourdough takes on the classics with the choice of wholegrain, hemp or freedom (gluten-free) bases. All of the toppings are also coeliac-friendly except slices of seitan.
Inclusive eating is a big deal at Purezza and its use of pea protein faux meats is a novel alternative to the use of seitan which is gluten heavy. Sides and desserts also lean towards gluten-free with a few exceptions - the dough balls and calzones limit the menu to 96% gluten-free. The restaurant group is also working on a gluten-free sourdough base so watch this space.
Purezza, 75-77 High Street, Manchester M4 1FS
Aimed at the health and fitness community and offering a bespoke luxury meal prep service catering to diverse dietary requirements, allergies and health preferences, Remedy Kitchen is a colourful and healthy option for eating in or taking away gluten-free. As well as being a self-described fully gluten-free restaurant, Remedy Kitchen is also fully dairy- and refined sugar-free too. Needless to say it takes nutrition and food safety seriously.
As well as meal plans delivered to your home, breakfast and dinner are available at the Royal Exchange eat-in restaurant terrace with dinner options ranging from a substantial satay chickpea Buddha bowl to Korean steak and eggs. Every dish is a big step forward towards your five-a-day.
Remedy Kitchen, Unit 19 Royal Exchange Arcade, Manchester M2 7EA
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