Sarah’s Rap: As mentioned in a recent post of mine, I recently had the good fortune to visit London for the first time. I fell in love with the city on day one, despite the pouring rain we had. One thing about living in the Seattle area– it’s made me virtually immune to precipitation. We arrived by train from Glasgow, hopped in a cute black cab and checked into a charming hotel in Soho. We struck out to see the city, taking in such grand sights as Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey. Over the course of 5 days, I averaged about 25K miles per day on my Fit Bit, taking in as much of the city as possible – Abbey Road Studios, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Covent Gardens and the Tower of London to name a few. The city is immense and we barely scratched the surface, but what we saw of it did not disappoint.
In addition to the wonderful things to see and do in London, restaurants are plentiful and varied. However, if you’ve ever had to travel with food restrictions you know that sometimes it can be a little stressful finding a place to eat that can accommodate your needs, even in as metropolitan of a city as London. I managed to find several places that fit my needs for a Paleo diet and wanted to share them here on the blog in case others can benefit from my experiences there.
I’ve already shared some excellent breakfast options on my recent post, Paleo Brekkies in London. For lunch, dinner and snacks, see below for a few recommendations!
An interesting combination, casual burgers alongside fancy full lobster meals, but it works. I had a bun-less burger but the steamed lobster would have been another good choice. Other patrons around me had ordered that and it looked delicious. The lobster roll is also an option, if you are okay with non-Paleo mayonnaise, but ask them to hold the roll and put on lettuce instead. All meals come with a small salad and fries (a.k.a. “chips” in the U.K.).
I mentioned this place in my breakfast post, but it bears mentioning again here if you’re looking for a fancy dinner location. The menu is extensive, offering heritage beef, plenty of vegetable sides and superb service. They were very accommodating with substitutions and omissions to dishes. Sashimi and butter leaf and avocado salad made a great starter (hold the Gorgonzola – gag!), followed by steak paired with tender stem broccoli and heritage carrots with peas and mint). This restaurant is located at 34 Grosvenor Square in Mayfair – NOT 34 Mayfair (it’s the name, not the address).
This place was the perfect stop before shopping in Covent Garden. Healthy and filling– just what I needed after too many french fries the days before. It’s the type of place where the food you request is dished up as you ask (like Chipotle here in the states, but not Mexican-themed). You choose one main (meat, fish or eggplant, known as “aubergine”), then two sides (six of the ten side dishes were Paleo and you can add mixed greens!) I love these “make your own meal” places. This one I would go back to every day if I could!
Okay, I debated whether or not to add this one as it’s not the best place for Paleo food overall, but if you’re traveling with someone else as I was, this is a good Pub for them to grab a beer and pot pie, while you enjoy a tasty meal of meat and veggies of your own. I had a delicious, tender Sirloin steak sandwich (minus the bread) with tomato and rocket, (a.k.a. arugula), fries and side of greens (which ended up being a cooked, tender cabbage). There were a few other options on the menu too that were either Paleo or could easily be modified to be so.
Near Abbey Road Studios, this is a Lebanese restaurant that I was really looking forward to trying. Unfortunately the day we went to Abbey Road, this restaurant was closed for a private wedding, and we never made it back there. You may want to call ahead, just to be safe. I’m including it here, even though I didn’t get to enjoy it, because it has so many Paleo options. Things like grilled chicken wings marinated in garlic and lemon juice, vegetable soup, salads, grilled eggplant (aubergine), assorted meat skewers with fries, grilled fish, and more. Check it out and let me know how it is! It’s definitely on my list to try when I return.
A lovely cafe serving raw and plant-based foods. PLENTY of fruit and veggies available here. To drink, enjoy fresh juices and smoothie, teas, organic coffees or organic wine. For noshing, try the healthy Wild Summer Wrap, veggies wrapped in nori, or a Summer Goddess Bowl (which is what I had). Pick up some kale chips or BBQ almond clusters for the road and be sure to ask about their desserts. They don’t use refined sugar and some of the options might fit the Paleo bill!
Snacks & Sweets:
These snack places were essential for the plane ride to Amsterdam, while trekking all over town and for those times when I needed a sweet treat.
This place is a little slice of healthy heaven when you need something sweet – chocolate chia pots, a paleo-friendly breakfast porridge, and a Dragonfruit Bowl are great all-day options. They also have a raw desserts menu, which includes a chocolate mousse pot sweetened with coconut nectar which my chocolate-starved system gobbled up way too quickly. For the road, grab some Rum Rum Truffles, BBQ Trail Mix or a hemp-filled Protein Bar sweetened with dates. They also offer some meals, such as kale salad, kelp noodles and swede (a.k.a. rutabega) noodles which are great options for stocking the hotel fridge.
This place is great for a quick snack, partly because there are many locations. It’s sort of like a Panera in the U.S., but with a lot of organic options. I enjoyed an organic coffee as well as took a protein pot (hard-boiled egg and spinach, also available with avocado) to go. They also have a yummy sounding Crayfish and Avocado salad as well as a Tuna Nicoise salad, which would make great Paleo meals to go. For snacks, try the Crisped Kale, Naked Nuts, Vegetable Crisps or Roasted Coconut Chips.
Okay, I’m sure you all could find this on your own, but I wanted to share a few things I got from the Piccadilly Circus location of this familiar health food store chain. I picked up a carton of unsweetened full-fat coconut milk yogurt, vanilla powder, a small pack of cocoa powder, a teeny tiny bottle of liquid stevia, fruit, carrots, nuts, jerky and unsweetened coconut yogurt. I stocked the fridge with the cold stuff, had the yogurt and berries for a refreshing treat and made a delicious chocolate pudding for dessert one night:
Hotel Room Chocolate Pudding
Fill a hotel room glass 1/2 full with unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk. Add a heaping spoonful of cocoa powder, a large pinch of vanilla powder and 8-10 drops of liquid stevia extract (to taste). Mix together and stick the glass in the refrigerator. Repeat with remaining ingredients/glasses until desired number of servings is reached. NOTE: The small carton of coconut milk I found at Whole Foods made 1 large serving. This is not an exact science and tastes great no matter what. If not sweet enough once chilled, stir in some additional stevia. If you’d rather have vanilla flavor, omit the cocoa and add extra vanilla powder.
If you go to London and are looking to eat Paleo, I hope that these suggestions help. If you know of any good Paleo-friendly eateries, please share in the comments!