Even though greater numbers of restaurants these days are offering gluten free options and taking coeliacs into more careful consideration, entirely gf restaurants are still few and far between. Finding one is like striking upon a pot of treasure and so, along with their utterly delectable dishes, Apres Food is a true gluten free goldmine.
While the entire menu is entirely gluten and refined sugar free, there’s a lot more thought gone into creating it than just jumping on the ‘health bandwagon’ that a lot of restaurants seem to be privy to lately. Founder Catherine is also a trained nutritional therapist, so has aimed to create appealing options made with ingredients that are nourishing and good for the body, but don’t compromise on taste – and she’s certainly succeeded.
The daytime menus offer up everything from pancakes and bacon rolls to salads, fritters, risotto and meatballs – there’s plenty to suit all tastes and fancies, and many of the dishes can be made dairy free, too. However, my visit took me to Apres in the evening, at which point the menu changes to an array of platters and sharing boards: from meat and cheese to veggie and fish, they’ve got them all covered. My friends and I settled on four platters between us – meat, fish and two bruschetta (one dairy free), along with several bread boards to accompany.
The Fish platter was a particular highlight for me, thanks to the smoked salmon and cream cheese blinis. I’ve had gf blinis before but they’ve often been small and dense, whereas these were large in size and had a light, fluffy texture. The cream cheese on top was wonderfully soft and smooth, and the salmon deliciously fresh and bursting with flavour. Served alongside the shredded crab meat (my favourite) and giant marinated king prawns, I was in heaven. Meanwhile, the Meat platter had an array of glazed ham, salami and chicken liver pate – the latter of which had me quickly hooked. Thick, velvety and rich, it was the perfect partner for the crispy bread.
Talking of bread, we’d heard that the one on offer here was unmissable, and the rumours were true – it is genuinely some of the best gluten free bread I have ever eaten, both in terms of flavour and texture. To make the most of this, the Bruschetta board is a must, and comprises four different topping varieties: smoked salmon and cream cheese; cherry tomato. red onion and balsamic; slow roast red pepper and cream cheese; and avocado and homemade pesto. All ingredients tasted fresh and worked well together, and each left you wanting more – as a result, I devoured more bread in one evening at Apres than I have the rest of the year combined!
And whatever you do, make sure you leave room for cake (or get some to take away), as there’s a variety of temptations on offer. I succumbed to a slice of date cake, which was insanely good – a beautifully soft crumble topping layered on top of an incredibly moreish, thick, soft, sticky date paste; and a choc brownie, which had just the right amount of richness and a perfectly fudgy texture.
Situated on a little street in the heart of Clerkenwell, this eatery is slightly off the beaten track – but with delicious food you can be certain is safe from gluten and cross contamination, a warm welcome from the staff, and charming decor, it’s most definitely worth stepping out for.