Rome: The Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

My earliest memories of Rome are full of gluten – a smorgasbord of pasta, pizza, arancini, pastries and more. Going gluten free definitely made me fear that this city – a long-standing favourite holiday destination of my family’s – would never be the same again. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Like much of Italy, Rome takes coeliac disease and gluten free eating incredibly seriously and if anything there is now too much choice! I have pulled all my favourites together into one handy guide and I highly recommend you work your way through all of these gems! Buon appetito!

Le Altre Farine del Mulino

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One of the newer additions to the Roman gluten free scene, Le Altre Farine del Mulino is a 100% gluten free bakery near the Vatican. With an epic cake, sweet and pastry selection as well as lactose free options, Le Altre Farine is an ideal spot for breakfast or a snack on a sightseeing day. I loved the calzone here so much I had two – so make sure you grab one to go!

Where?
Via di Porta Cavalleggeri, 151/153
00165 Rome, Italy

Pasticceria Napoleoni Gluten Free

Located next to the Colli Albani metro station, Pasticceria Napoleoni is an impressive bakery with a dedicated gluten free counter and cake fridge. I sampled a selection of pastries when I was last there and they did not disappoint. At lunchtime, fresh sandwiches, pizza and other savoury delights are brought out. Worth stopping here for a coffee and some people watching, especially at breakfast time when some of Rome’s busiest espresso drinkers appear. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Via Appia Nuova, 590
00179 Roma RM, Italy

A Gogo – Gluten Free

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Another regular bakery with impressive gluten free options, A Gogo offers a variety of cakes and savoury snacks, which are displayed in their own separate counter. I had some of the best arancini that Rome has to offer, which I took to go and fuelled me during a busy day of walking. Make sure you check for any daily specials as A Gogo sometimes changes up its gluten free offerings.

Where?
Viale Giulio Cesare 66/68
00192 Rome, Italy

Celiachiamo Lab

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I cannot explain the excitement I felt when I cam across Celiachiamo Lab – a 100% new hot spot which is home to both a supermarket and bakery. I found a huge array of gluten free items I had never seen before and of course couldn’t resist buying them to fill up my suitcase. The pastry selection is outrageous, with Nutella-stuffed croissants, tarts, cakes, freshly baked bread and much much more. Celiachiamo also sells hot pizza by the slice with dairy free options available too. A MUST visit!

Where?
Via della Magliana, 183
00146 Roma, Italy

Pandali

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Pandali is another 100% gluten free bakery situated near to the Pantheon. It is open every day of the week for late breakfast and lunch, and specials change most days, with wholesome vegan salad bowls, arancini, pizza and sandwiches on rotation. Pandali also has a huge array of cookies and cakes, some of which are dairy free. Don’t forget to order a gluten free beer to wash all the treats down with!

Where?
Via di Torre Argentina 3
00186 Roma, Italy

Grom

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Our favourite gluten free gelateria has multiple locations across Rome, which means we can indulge in gelato worry-free! The joys of eating ice cream in a cone will never get old for me, especially as the ones on offer in Grom do not taste gluten free in the slightest. Grom has also added several other sweet treats to its menu including brioche, cookies and fantastic hot chocolate. Check the company website for your nearest branch in Rome.

Voglia di Pizza

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My original favourite in Rome, Voglia di Pizza is home to some of the best pizza I have ever had. The dough is so good, I cried the first time I ate here seven years ago and have been going back ever since. The pasta options are also vast, as well as a number of deep fried starters like supli and arancini. Voglia di Pizza takes dietary requirements incredibly seriously and places a little flag in each and every gluten free dish they serve. Don’t forget to save room for a gluten free tiramisu to finish!

Where?
Via dei Giubbonari, 33
00186 Roma, Italy

Mama Eat Gluten Free

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I’ve eaten a number of fantastic meals at Mama Eat – including some of the best gluten free rigatoni I’ve ever tried and brilliant arancini, deep fried mozzarella and pizza dough. All the gluten free food is prepared in a separate kitchen to avoid cross contamination so it is an entirely worry-free environment. The staff are clued up and the service is perfect and it is no wonder this restaurant is always packed! Open 7 days a week and well worth a visit (or two).

Where?
Via di S. Cosimato, 7/9
00153 Roma RM, Italy

Mama Eat Street Food

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A grab and go branch of the above mentioned Mama Eat restaurant, this 100% gluten free hole-in-the-wall eatery is located close to the Vatican and perfect for lunch. On the menu is a selection of pizzas, arancini, fried seafood, and a monster meatball and fries combo which I feasted on in the street, barely breathing as I was eating it so fast. While the restaurant is advertised as street food and light bites, I strongly advise you go hungry – the portions are incredibly generous.

Where?
Borgo Pio, 28
00193 Roma Italy

La Soffita Renovatio

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Eating here was truly one of the best dining experiences I have ever had. The gluten free menu is mind-blowing and even includes homemade ravioli, which I enjoyed in a classic butter and sage sauce and fantastic pizza. Start your meal with a generous serving of calamari and fried zucchini because why not. It’s easy to not have enough room for dessert after a meal here so I highly recommend you take it to go. Ask your waiter for the daily cake options and prepare to be amazed! Booking in advance to avoid disappointment is recommended.

Where?
Piazza del Risorgimento 46/a
00192 Rome, Italy

Pantha Rei

Another gem tucked behind the Patheon, Pantha Rei offers up a fantastic gluten free menu upon request and does everything it can to ensure there is no cross contamination in its restaurant. I turn into a creature of habit whenever I visit, and usually order gnocchi (who here is surprised?) which never disappoints. Wash it down with gluten free beer or a lovely glass of Italian wine for the ultimate and relaxed lunch or dinner experience.

Where?
Via della Minerva 19
00186 Roma, Italy

Il Viaggio

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If you’re in the mood for some fine dining while in Rome, Il Viaggio offers a delicate twist on many classic Italian dishes and a tasting menu for those with a bit more time on their hands. All the menu can be made gluten free and again, the staff here take dietary requirements incredibly seriously and the restaurant is accredited by the Italian Coeliac Association. The homemade gluten free bread is delicious and a great pre-cursor to a lovely main course. I enjoyed gluten free cannelloni last time I ate at Il Viaggio and hope it’s still on the menu when I next go back!

Where?
Via Isonzo 14
00198 Rome, Italy

McDonald’s

Yes, you read right! McDonald’s in Rome, like the rest of Italy offers a gluten free burger and cheeseburger and safely fried French fries to those of you who are in the mood for something fast! Check the Mcdonald’s company website for your nearest branch in Rome.

Tooting: The Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

Those of y’all who follow my Instagram account will know by now that I LOVE my neighbourhood. I grew up in South East London and three years ago switched things up by moving South West to Tooting. In the past three years alone, this area has seen an immense amount of change, especially when it comes to food! Home to the famous Tooting Market and Broadway Market, this area has something for everyone, and is especially great when it comes to gluten free. Enjoy reading through my guide and seeing for yourself just how awesome this southern corner of the capital is!

Boom Bap Burger

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I’ve tried a lot of burgers in my time, and since going gluten free seven years ago, I’ve tried even more. However, top of my list for anyone visiting Tooting has got to be Boom Bap Burger, which offers delicious gluten free patties, packed full of flavour, and perfectly sguidgy gluten free burger buns to boot. The french fries are fried in their own separate fryer and are the perfect vehicle for mounds of cheese if you’re in the mood for epic cheesy fries to accompany your burger. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Unit 2, Tooting Market
20 Totterdown Street
London SW17 8TA

Mamma Mia Pasta

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If you’re a gnocchi fan like me, you won’t be disappointed that gnocchi is your only gluten free option at this family-run pasta restaurant inside Tooting Broadway Market – you’ll be ELATED. Gluten free gnocchi is still incredibly hard to come across on the London restaurant scene and here at Mamma Mia Pasta, the chef will top it with any sauce you desire, whilst taking extra care to avoid cross contamination. I highly recommend you opt for the slow cooked tomato and basil sauce with burrata – absolute winner! State your allergy or dietary requirement and you’ll be wonderfully taken care of. Closed on Sundays and Mondays. 

Where?
Tooting Broadway Market
The Cave
29 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RJ

Herbies

Tooting is now home to Herbies – the market’s first vegan takeaway restaurant, which is both reasonably priced and perfect when you’re in the mood for something on the healthier side. Currently gluten free on the menu are the turmeric cauliflower with a zesty tahnini and lemon dressing, the garbanzo salad with a chive dressing (without the pearl barley) and the signature squash and green bean satay, served with cauliflower rice. A little birdie also told me that the Herbies kitchen is working on a gluten free batter for its indulgent fried items so watch this space! Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Unit 13, Tooting Market
20 Totterdown Street
London SW17 8TA

Plot

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Another sleek addition to Tooting Market, Plot specialises in small plates with a Michelin-star-style twist. The menu changes frequently, in line with what is in season, but there are always naturally gluten free options on offer here. Perfect for date night or for an occasion warranting more than a burger! Plot has seats all the way down its chic bar where you can eat and watch the action in the kitchen, whilst sipping on a glass of wine from the hand picked list. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Where?
70-72 Broadway Market
29 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RL

The Gorringe Park

This isn’t just my favourite pub in Tooting because it’s local but because a large portion of the menu is gluten free! And the items safe for us to eat are not just steak, or grilled fish and mash – they include things like croquettes, breaded camembert, calamari and much much more! The Gorringe Park has a separate fryer for all of its gluten free items, meaning the chips are safe to eat – something which sadly seems to be a rarity in pubs these days. If you’re in the mood for culture with your meal, pop on down to the pub cinema in the basement, which shows several movies daily and is free – just buy yourself a drink or a snack and enjoy!

Where?
29 London Road
London SW17 9JR

Brickwood Coffee and Bread

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This Australian-themed brunch spot has a plethora of gluten free options available for breakfast or brunch each day. Brickwood offers gluten free bread to its diners which can be easily swapped into your meal to make signature dishes like the Avo toast with chorizo or feta or eggs any way safe to eat. Brickwood even has hash nuggets to accompany your brunch – just be warned you may not want to share they’re so good! Be sure to state your dietary requirements upon arrival and you’ll be in good hands!

Where?
Tooting Market
21-23 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0SN

Barra 10

Argentina has come to Tooting! The team behind this traditional style parilla restaurant (or Argentine steak house) are from Buenos Aires itself and offer an array of traditional dishes, many of which are naturally gluten free. Venture here for perfectly cooked steak, wine from the famous Mendoza region, oh and a provoleta – barbecued provolone cheese – for a quintessentially Porteño experience! Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Where?
16 Broadway Market
Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RL

Milk Teeth

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I definitely can’t complain when it comes to Tooting’s brunch offerings. Milk Teeth – sister restaurant of Balham’s Milk – is always spot on when you’re in the mood for eggs, perfect flat whites and retro hip hop, all at the same time. Gluten free diners can choose between several dishes but are likely to be drawn to signature numbers like sweetcorn fritters with kasundi and the Young Betty – Milk Teeth’s answer to Eggs Benedict, served atop homemade cornbread and drizzled with Espresso Hollandaise. Those in the mood for sweet treats can also order a slice of the pistachio and polenta cake with buttercream frosting – it’s truly delightful AND gluten free!

Where?
110 Mitcham Road
London SW17 9NG

Green Monkey

Tucked away behind Tooting Bec station, Green Monkey is a hidden gem for gluten free. Serving up delicious coffee, Green Monkey has a selection of sweet gluten free treats on offer including one of the best brownies I’ve ever had, topped with a salted caramel swirl. If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, Green Monkey whips up an epic Avo Toast on gluten free bread or a salt beef and chicken sandwich.

Where?
2d Tooting Bec Road
London SW17 7TS

Mud

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Another spot for the breakfast fans out there, Mud serves up all sorts of egg-based dishes seven days a week. Gluten free eaters can replace regular bread with gluten free bread on most breakfast dishes or can tuck into the buckwheat pancakes which are served wtih caremalised pear puree, pecans, lemon balm and maple creme fraiche. I tend to go big here and order the Eggs Benny with pork belly, and usually finish with at least three coffees just to bring me out of the food coma. Be sure to flag your requirements upon arrival so the team at Mud can take care of you!

Where?
141 Mitcham Road
London SW17 9PE

The Little Taperia

If you’re in the mood for Tapas, The Little Taperia has got you covered. This charming, neighbourhood restaurant has a traditional menu, featuring naturally gluten free favourites such as Tortilla Española, Garlic Prawns, Grilled Octopus and more, not to mention the amazing Jamon Serrano and cheese selection on offer. It’s worth mentioning that the team at The Little Taperia could not be more accomodating when it comes to dietary requirements, so while you can’t tuck into the fried items or the bread, they will do everything they can to make sure you don’t miss them!

Where?
143 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RU

Nuvola – A Little Bakery

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I’m usually in the market for something sweet after all of the savoury treats that Tooting has to offer, and so tend to head on over to Nuvola – A Little Bakery. This organic bakery is not a gluten free dedicated facility but always has at least two delicious gluten free baked goods on offer. Run by former pastry chef Nuvola Tivoli, this bakery prides itself on handmade cakes made only with the best ingredients, which will make you even prouder to support such a great local business! Closed on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Where?
Unit 25, Tooting Market
Totterdown Street
London SW17 0SN

Rosa’s Thai Cafe

As well as a plethora of independent shops and restaurants, Tooting has a number of reliable chains which offer solid gluten free options. Rosa’s Thai Cafe is one of those, offering a detailed gluten free menu upon request. Take your pick from a number of fragrant curries, stir fries, Asian salads and more and you’re sure to be well looked after.

Where?
70 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RN

Honest Burgers

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A restaurant these days which needs little introduction, Honest Burgers has long had a home in Tooting. A great and fuss-free option for gluten free diners who want to tuck into a familiar and great-tasting burger, Honest Burgers offers all patties on a gluten free bun as well as coeliac-safe rosemary fries and onion rings. Wash it all down with a gluten free Daura Damm beer and you’ve got a winning combination!

Where?
72 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RN

The Athenian

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You won’t even miss the pitta bread when you tuck into some naturally gluten free Greek street food at The Athenian. On offer for gluten free folk, the Naked Souvlaki box comes jam packed with fresh Greek salad, herbs, grilled meat and is made even better by a portion of grilled halloumi on the side. Staff members will change their gloves for you if you state your allergies and are intent on giving you a stress free ordering experience. The Athenian is part of a chain with locations now all around London and I couldn’t be happier to have it in Tooting!

Where?
Unit 3, Tooting Market
21-23 Totterdown Street
London SW17 0SN

Cardamom Club

Last but not least: Cardamom Club has been my favourite Indian food delivery restaurant since I moved to Tooting. This independent Tooting Bec takeaway has good allergy awareness and always delivers delicious meals that are piping hot. While I’ve tried a number of dishes from here, my number one has got to be Butter Chicken – a perfect combination of spice and creaminess. The Paneer Tikka is also fantastic, and makes for a great starter and is perfect for sharing!

Where?
18 Trinity Road
London SW17 7RE

Ardiciocca: A 100% Gluten Free Trattoria Experience in Fulham

London’s ever-expanding gluten free scene is full of Italian food. Pizzas, pastas and more can often be found in gluten free form at restaurants across the city. Italian restaurants that cater entirely to gluten free diners are however, still a novelty. 100% gluten free trattoria Ardiciocca opened up shop three months ago in Fulham and has since remained a hidden gem – well until now.

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Ardiciocca is the latest project from Roberto Costa and the group behind Macellaio RC, which owns four other Italian restaurants in London and one in Milan. The goal for the new Fulham eatery was simple – Costa wanted to make the “comforting, homely” recipes of his childhood available to everyone – not just gluten eaters. The menu lends itself to simple and delicious flavours, many of which will instantly make you feel like you’re on vacation in Italy, as opposed to southwest London.

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With a chilled glass of Prosecco in our hands, we took our pick from the eclectic selection of starters, settling not on one, but three small plates to share between us. The mussel and potato croquettes instantly caught my eye in the typical way that a gluten free person is drawn to breaded, deep fried treats after lengthy periods without. While the croquettes were crispy, warm and bursting with flavour, I couldn’t help but think how a light aioli would have completed the dish. We also chose the salami, broad bean, pecorino cheese and fresh bread plate – the star of the show of which was most certainly the salami, dominated by a strong truffle flavour. I was incredibly impressed by the homemade bread, which was served warm from the oven. My dinner date Mateja also insisted on trying the brain – a delicacy which came fried in light crispy batter.

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Ardiciocca has a wide array of main dishes to choose from, which go way beyond the traditional pizza/pasta offering of many Italian eateries. These range from pickled fried mackerel to sausage stew and homemade hearty minestrone. However, we simply could not resist giving the Sardinian gnocchi and sausage ragú a go, as well as the Nduja pizza – the dough of which is made with gluten free flour and Ferrarelle water before it is left to rise for 72 hours. The ragú was perfectly seasoned and incredibly moreish, leaving me wishing for a second bowl. The pizza crust was thin and light, and topped with flavourful passata, creamy mozzarella and spicy sausage, the kick from which was neutralised softened slightly by the addition of fresh lemon and rocket.

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While we had next to no room left for dessert, I could not pass up the opportunity to sample the basil infused panna cotta – a flavour combination I had never seen on a menu before. It was tangy and refreshing, served with a drizzle of Italian honey on the side. The homemade chocolate torte is also definitely worth a try, only lacking in a side dollop of creme fraiche or gelato, which I’ll be sure to request next time I go.

Anyone in Fulham and beyond must not miss out on the opportunity to eat here for a meal full of flavour, tradition and excellent service to boot. Don’t forget to try a different glass of Italian wine with each course – you won’t be sorry!

Ardiciocca

461-465 North End Road

Fulham

London SW6 INZ

020-3848-6830

(Tables Bookable via email or telephone)

Gluten Free Pasta by Mamma Flora

Where From? Mamma Flora
Available Directly Via the Company Website

Despite the wide range of gluten free pasta available on the market today, finding a brand that cooks properly and does not fall apart is still incredibly difficult. Cue Mamma Flora – an Italian start-up based in London and run by the wonderful Maria. Maria has worked hard with Italian farmers and manufacturers to create the perfect gluten free pasta recipe, which comes in three different traditional Amalfi coast varieties: Mezzi Paccheri, Casarecce and Gnocchetti Sardi. The texture is fantastic and perfect when mixed with some of Mamma Flora’s Sundried Tomato Pesto or Pumpkin Pesto – both of which are 100% gluten and dairy free. Order online via the company website and prepare to be wowed!

Coori Free From

As my favourite gluten free brand Coori gets ready to open its new shop in Richmond, I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you more about their story and how they came to be the household name that they are today. Many of you will know Coori from their 2013 pop-up in Selfridges Food Hall, which was the pioneer for gluten free space in the famous London department store and is now occupied by London bakery Beyond Bread. Coori closed its concession after several months, leaving customers eagerly anticipating its next move after almost ten years on the gluten free market in various shapes and forms. Others may remember Coori from the large scale Allergy and Free From Show which comes to London’s Olympia every year, where the team would prepare fresh stonebaked pizzas for the masses.

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I first came across Coori (which means heart in Sicilian dialect) when I moved to Tooting in south west London, several years ago. One day walking through my new local market I did a double take when I saw a small hand-written “100% gluten free” sign and realised that fresh pasta was being cooked and arancini being rolled, ready for the fryer. It was then that I met founder Julia, a gluten free scene veteran and cook, who was testing Tooting out as a pop-up space.

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Born and raised in Italy, Julia had always been exposed to good, simple cooking. However, when her sister was diagnosed with coeliac disease and Julia discovered she was gluten intolerant, her interest in food took a different turn and she leapt on what she saw as an opportunity to fill a huge gap in the market. “I wanted to take things back to the basics and start over with gluten free food,” Julia told me in an interview, as we sat enjoying a classic, and naturally gluten free Italian dessert: affogato. “Not only would creating good simple food for coeliacs make people happy, but it would help change perceptions of gluten free products, which for a long time were lacking in flavour and yet packed with additives and excessive amounts of sugar,” Julia said. This mindsight, as well as help and support from Coeliac UK, led Julia to open up a restaurant in 2008 – Bruschetta – in Kingston. The restaurant specialised in Italian classics like pasta and pizza, which back then were still a huge novelty.

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Julia commened that when she launched, she did not initially advertise the restaurant as gluten free, to test out her food on doubting customers. “I invited restaurant critics, journalists and bloggers to try my food without saying it was gluten free. After they ate it, I revealed that what they had just feasted on contained to no wheat, barley or rye and they couldn’t believe it,” she said. Julia continued to work on products and food that not only appealed to those unable to eat gluten, but to a wider audience who simply craved good food made from high quality ingredients. Julia soon became well-known in the gluten free community and after several years, switched her focus to manufacturing, which aided the launch of the company’s online business.

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Coori online began to ship pasta, flour mixes, sweet treats and more across the UK, quickly becoming a booming venture not only in London but in the north of the UK, where a staggeringly high percentage of coeliacs live. Julia still remains dedicated to working with a range of manufacturers, both in the UK and in her home country, to keep the company both localised and true to her own heritage. What makes Coori individual however, is that all recipes are created by Julia herself and then recreated by the manufacturer, as a means of keeping the business, which is headed up by Julia and her two close friends and business partners, “very much a family affair.”

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As business boomed, Coori was able to grow its customer base and venture into new fields, including the catering industry and department store scene. The pop-up at Selfridges was revolutionary. It drew in both gluten free customers desperate to try tantalising fresh pasta with a range of sauces or pizza slices fresh out of the oven, but also people without any particular dietary requirements. “The queues were always made up of a mixture of people, most of whom I quickly recognised as returning, happy customers,” Julia told me, adding that working in a customer facing environment is her real passion. “Seeing people come in on a daily basis and almost cry at the array of safe food they could choose from was really the highlight for me,” Julia said.

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However, after several happy months it was time for Coori to move on and focus on securing its own space again, now that it had so much backing and a fantastic reputation to boot. The new store, which will occupy an old local dairy dating back to 1980, will have a very similar offering to the Selfridges stall. Customers will be able to take their pick from an array of hot and cold snacks, meals and packaged food both prepared by Coori itself and by collaborating brands, including Italy’s Nutri-Free. Please join me in supporting this wonderful company, as it embarks on an exciting and utterly delicious new chapter.

Coori’s Richmond Cafe will open its doors to the public on June 2, 2018.

84 Hill Rise
Richmond
TW10 6UB

Photo Credits: Ilmi Perez-Stubbs