The Gluten-Free Survival Guide to Grabbing a Bite in Nottingham City Centre

Words: Mollie Stone
Monday 13 February 2017
reading time: min, words

Coeliac disease is no laughing matter, especially when you want to grab a bite to eat in town. Sufferer Mollie Stone gives us a handy guide to the places in Nottingham that will sort you right out... 


Following a gluten-free diet can become a giant pain in the rear when it comes to eating out. Whether it’s by force or choice that you go gluten free, the fact remains. The reason that most people require a gluten-free diet is Coeliac disease, an autoimmune disease that is becoming increasingly common across the UK. As someone with this disease, a few years ago in Nottingham I'd be stuck with the single option of McDonalds fries for lunch - that was all that was available. Now thankfully this is not the case. Thankfully, in recent years the gluten-free market has grown drastically and Nottingham has embraced it and run with it. A city that once quivered at the question, "Do you do anything gluten free?" now invites you in, sits you down and offers you the menu entirely comprised of gluten-free options. 

Picture this. It’s half three in the afternoon. The sun is setting and you’re standing on Market Square. You want coffee. No, you need coffee. Your mouth is watering just thinking about a chocolate brownie with that coffee. You know full well that Starbucks have gluten in theirs. But then your cast your eyes beyond the right lion. The quote on the A board stands outside with a witty, coffee related quote written in white chalk. 200 Degrees has a glass cake display with a lush looking brownie coated in glossy icing. The label above says ‘Chocolate Brownie, Gluten-Free’. Now it’s time to decide if this brownie is better than the one in Wired, or the Fox Café. 

200 Degrees and Wired always have at least one gluten-free cake on offer. This is both a blessing and a curse, especially when the new year diet is supposed to be in full swing by now. The Fox Café also has a range of gluten-free meals and cakes, this is one of my favourite cafés in town, not only for their food but because I'm a big fox fan and the décor fully embraces the fox theme. The best fox in my opinion is in the loo, don’t miss it. 

If you’re looking for lunch, go deeper into Hockley and you'll find Hartley’s. They do the ultimate gluten-free sandwiches. My choice would always be the halloumi and roasted veg. If you’re still peckish after your sandwich they also have what could arguably be the biggest range of gluten-free cakes in Nottingham. I recommend the battenberg; never mind the hips, it's heaven on the lips. Hartley’s is a family-run business and everyone is chatty and friendly and more than happy to help with any allergy information, a bonus when you really don't want to suffer the consequences of a miscommunication. 

Another of Nottingham’s gluten-free hot spots is the Alley Café, one of the city's hidden gems. If you don't think a meal is complete without meat, you're out of luck here as their menu is entirely vegetarian and vegan. What they lack in animal-based protein, they more than make up for in gluten-free options. They've got burgers galore.

Now I have saved the best until last. This is any sweet tooth’s dream. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for gluten-free crepes. Yes, Aubrey’s Creperie in West End Arcade, do the best gluten-free crepes known to man. They offer all the options on the menu gluten-free and even remember not to put a biscuit on your saucer when you order coffee. I dream about the delights of Aubrey’s - their ‘Zesty Orange’ is the secret to having a good day. 

Eating gluten-free in Nottingham is no longer an issue with so many places now welcoming the specialist diet. Zizzi’s, Pizza Express, Pizza Hut, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Handmade Burger Co., Bill’s, Bella Italia and Bagel Nash are a mere drop in the ocean of high street names that now offer an array of gluten-free options. I once wrote that Nottingham was not a gluten-free friendly place, so now I am forced to eat my words, only if they’re gluten-free of course.

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