Breakfast, lunch and dinner: eating gluten-free in Leeds
Words by Lauren Entwistle
1 in 100 people are diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, a life-long auto-immune disorder that is caused by the immune system reacting to gluten which damages the small intestine. But with only 24% of people being diagnosed and even more who seemingly don’t know that they have it, it’s all the more important to recognise the need for gluten-free as more than an dietary fad.
As this week marks Coeliac Awareness Week, we’ve chalked up the best places to go for food in Leeds for any time of day and for any mood. Whether you’ve got a taste for tapas or thai, brunch or brasserie – we’ve got you covered.
Breakfast and brunch
If you’re looking for what has been hailed as “the BEST gluten-free brunch in Yorkshire” (reviewers words, not ours) then look no further than Wapentake.
This artisan bakery, cafe and bar is tucked away on Kirkgate, only a stone’s throw away from the market where they aim to get all local and seasonal produce for their menu. For breakfast, help yourself to Wapentake’s gluten-free Full English and be sure to grab a mug of some of their great coffee whilst you’re at it.
There’s a wide selection of other picks that might take your fancy which also includes vegan and vegetarian options, with a host of cakes baked by Brian and the rest of the in-house team!
With its cosy décor, Yorkshire-based recipes and relaxed-atmosphere, Wapentake is a great place to start the day off right.
Tea and snacking
We did just mention cakes, but we feel like the gluten-free chocolate brownies at Cha Lounge really do deserve an honourable boost. Hidden down the back of Call Lane near the canal, the lounge is the perfect setting to have a cup of tea (from owner Mandeep’s huge collection) or a coffee over a slice of something sweet.
Personally, I’d make a beeline for the white chocolate marbled brownies. When served warm, they are little showstoppers.
Indian at Bundobust
If you’re looking for authentic Indian cuisine with a host of rich flavours, then Bundobust is the place to go. With an entirely vegetarian menu featuring a large amount of gluten-free and vegan options, head to this little gem near the train station for a good night out.
From Okra Fries, Biryani Bhaji Balls to Massala Dosa (a mini rice crepe filled with tasty onions and potato served with lentil soup and coconut chutney) – you’ll be hard pressed to find cooking like this anywhere else in the city.
Bundobust is great for a night out with a group of friends so you have reason to order from their sharing menu. Most of it is gluten-free and comes in hearty portion sizes so you can really fill your boots.
A top pick for spice lovers.
Italian at Bibi’s
Effortlessly glamourous, Bibi’s is a family-ran Italian restaraunt, cocktail-bar and cafe that has been going since the 1970s. Housed within a glitzy 1920s-style front, they offer an entire a la carte gluten-free menu, which takes the faff out of picking through numerous choices looking for the little ‘gf’ symbol.
From sumptuous antipasti’s and delicious mains with a whole section of sides to choose from, Bibi’s is admittedly a little on the pricier side. But if you want a dinner with a difference or are quite the seasoned foodie, it really is worth it.
It’s also worth saying that all of Bibi’s pasta dishes from their mainstream menu are also available to be made in a gluten-free variation upon request, but they do ask for patrons to allow at least 20 minutes more to prepare their dish.
French cuisine at The Oxford Place
Set in the sleek section of city near the Town Hall, The Oxford Place is arguably a Coeliac’s Dream. With a 100% gluten-free menu, patrons are free to come and settle down in the eclectic space, which channels the best possible mix of English tearoom and French bistro.
From tasty fish feasts such as the ‘North Sea Fish Pie’ to more meatier dishes with steak in a rich peppercorn sauce, there is something for everyone. You can even complement your dinner with a rather nice French martini and then finish with chocolate truffles and crème brulee.
When you’ve visited once, dinner here is likely going to become quite a regular thing.
Spanish Tapas at Pintura
If you want a taste of Spain (more specifically, from the Basque region) then Pintura is the place to be. Effortlessly stylish with an entire basement dedicated to gin, you can while away your time picking over the eating menu before settling on what you fancy.
From whole boards of cooking meats and cheese to olives with a champage filling, which sounds odd but is a must-try, all of Pintura’s supplies come from either local sources or a genuine Basque retailer – so what you’re getting is the real Spanish deal.
Whilst it should be noted that Pintura doesn’t have an entire menu dedicated to gluten-free options, any of the servers would be happy to help you should you ask, and are very quick to sort out any queries.
Trying to find great places that serve great gluten-free food can be a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but we hope that with this handy guide – you’ll go out and take a real bite out of Leeds.