Any coeliac will be with me on this feeling, I’m sure – once I discover an eatery that has plenty of delicious gluten free options, it’s immediately ingrained into my mind for umpteen future repeat visits. This is exactly what happened when I discovered Crussh a couple of years ago – and their fabulous salad boxes and hot pots have graced many a lunchtime of mine since.
So I was really excited to hear about the new Crussh concept branch that’s just opened in Debenhams on Oxford Street – and even more thrilled to be invited to check it out just a few days after its opening. Forget your usual drab in-store cafe, this is a beautiful space with sleek design and chic decor. Rather than the grab-and-go boxes and pots that you’d find in other Crussh outlets, this menu is based on a deli style ordering system, with lots of large bowls of tempting varieties of salad and delicious accompanying proteins to choose from (though you can still pick up your on-the-go favourites, too).
The Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese salad is a definite highlight; its beautiful dark pink colour and thick, creamy texture making it unbelievably moreish (I may or may not have returned for second helpings). Despite making plenty of salads myself at home, I can’t say I ever think about adding butterbeans into the mix – but after sampling the Butterbean, Cherry Tomato and Parsley salad at Cruush, this will definitely be changing in future. While these salads, and the other varieties on offer, are hearty enough to mix and match and eat alone, if you feel like you need something extra to bulk it up, there’s several delectable options to suit all tastes: subtly flavoursome Turmeric Chicken, fresh Seeded Mackerel and my favourite, the Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Frittata; which isn’t to be missed and is equally delicious for carnivores and veggies alike.
To satisfy the sweet tooth, there were more amazing gluten free options – for once, I felt completely spoilt for choice! Usually I’d roll my eyes at yet another gluten free brownie, but the one at Crussh is utterly delectable – thick, fudgy and rich. The flapjacks are unbelievably moreish (and one variety is also refined sugar free if you’re trying to be extra healthy), while the Chocolate Mousse (made with avocado) was delightfully smooth with a good cocoa flavour. If you’re after just a little nibble, there’s plenty of energy balls on offer – the Carrot Cake one tasting just like the real thing.
It’s not just coeliacs that the menu at Crussh caters too fantastically well – there’s some great options if you’re dairy free, vegetarian, low FODMAP and even vegan. The added bonus is that everything is healthy, but at no point compromises on taste to be so. Plus, because it’s in Debenhams, the cafe is open til 10pm – meaning you can stop by for dinner as well as lunch. I’ll be honest… I’ve got a little bit of a crush on this place and think you will, too.