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May 15, 2013

Gluten Free Dining at The Parlour at Fortnum & Mason

While the English say that there is nothing that a good cup of tea can’t fix, I’m a firm believer that ice cream has even more magical powers than a cup of tea (especially if there a million and one sprinkles on top).


After a busy working week I was in London on Friday afternoon so I thought I would take the opportunity to do a little bit of gluten free research and check out what gluten free dining options are available at Fortnum & Mason at their Ice Cream Parlour.  I’ve tried their gluten free afternoon tea many moons ago if you fancy reading my review.



If you know me well then this won’t come as a shock to you but I generally order dessert first and then order my mains (it’s all about the dessert!).

So I started with the sundae menu!  Oh yeah….a giant Knickerbocker Glory (and probably the coolest named dessert ever – Spotted Dick is definitely the weirdest and thankfully not on the menu, phew!) plus I ordered a lemon floater at the same time.  I don’t do things by half and this was all for research purposes so no calories were involved at all.

There were lots of oooohhhs and aahhhs coming from the table next to me when the Knickerbocker Glory was delivered super fast to the table and yes I ate the whole thing by myself…



Now check out the Lemon Float…perfect for those diary free folks out there since you can’t have a coke float (that was also on the menu and I was tempted but thought you would all judge me if I ordered more than one float in one setting – plus you can’t eat the whole menu in one go as there would be no reason to return right?!).  Seriously this Lemon Float was amazing with a giant scope of Lemon Sorbet on top which screamed eat me so I did!



As you can imagine I felt pretty full however I beckoned over the waiter who thought I was pretty messy and crazy at this point (there was ice cream dribbles everywhere…I’m a messy eater, you have been warned!) and asked what the gluten free savoury options were – apparently they can change the bread on the avocado chilli toast or the coronation chicken – as I love the Queen I went for the coronation chicken option (it is where the queen does her shopping and no she doesn’t push a trolley around Fortnums with curlers in her hair but wouldn’t it be grand if she did).  Anyway I digress….way too much sugar!

The open Gluten Free Coronation Chicken Toasted Sandwich with a  few pesky lettuce leaves to keep things slightly healthy….


…I was tempted by the cake but I don’t have hollow legs unfortunately but I did ask what they could provide gluten free cake wise and the only option is gluten free scones (a cheap way to eat just a cream tea / scones at Fortnum and Mason rather than having a full afternoon tea.)

And don’t worry about all the calories either as you will walk them off by strolling through Fortnum and Mason admiring all it’s gorgeous merchandise!  If only I could live inside Fortnums!


Gluten Free Information

The menu doesn’t state which items are gluten or dairy free so you will need to put your trust into the staff working in The Parlour.  I was told that all the ice creams were gluten free however things got slightly lost in translation when I asked about diary free options (I’m guessing it will be the sorbets but don’t quote me on that!).  The staff were well up to speed on the gluten free dietary requirement which is an asset to Fortnum and Mason.


The service was attentive throughout my time at The Parlour, while it was super busy when I first arrived just after 5pm it was soon quiet when I left just over an hour later and the service was consistent the whole way through my dining experience.


I love the fun decor and atmosphere of The Parlour and it’s not fussy like you would expect – kids of all ages including really big kids (who have jobs and mortgages) will love this place.


Would I recommend – totally, it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon in London especially when its toasty warm outside!  I loved it and it’s casual gluten free fine dining at it’s best.  Make sure you book so that you don’t have to wait for a table which you can do directly through their website here.


The dress code is casual leaning towards elegant however I went in there wearing a t shirt, jeans and my new Superga shoes (they’re pretty bright so don’t look directly at the print!).


What are your favourite places to have ice cream in London?  Recommendations please as I’m addicted to ice cream at the moment…addicted to the point that if I had to choose between G and a bowl of ice cream with sprinkles currently there would be no fight, the ice cream would win.


Square Meal

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