Before I started doing my Whole30, I Googled ‘where to eat Whole30 in London’. Pretty much nothing useful came back. Googling ‘where to eat Paleo in London’ was slightly more helpful, although there were about twenty seven mentions of Pret. Compiled over only 30 days, this is obviously by no means a comprehensive list, but I thought it would be useful to share a few places I had success (and one or two places not so much) whilst doing my Whole30. As I’ve said before, get ready to eat a lot of burgers…
Where to eat Whole30 in London
55 Baker Street, W1U 8EW
What: Aged Scottish steak beef burger (comes with mature vintage cheddar, caramelised red onions, baby gem lettuce, vine ripened tomatoes & crunchy coleslaw) – £12.95
How: On the menu, it states “we are happy for you to go skinny and replace the bun with a delicious salad”. Very good start. Additional subs required were holding the cheese and coleslaw, and asking to have Parma ham and avocado instead (the Baker Street branch were super nice and gave these for no extra charge, the Trinity Square branch didn’t give us avo and charged the ham as an extra – it’s on the menu for £1). Additional extras of sweet potato fries (£3.25) and grilled Portobello mushrooms (£2.95).
Verdict: I went here twice, to two different branches (there are four in total), both with Charlie. Both times we each ordered the skinny burger and shared the sides. When you’re making menu changes, it depends on the waiting staff as to how well these are accommodated. We found that the Baker Street branch were much more on the ball in general, and as such were really good at listening to, and catering to our requests. But both times the meals were large, but still light and fresh, with good helpings of salad. There probably are one or two more dishes on their menu that could be easily adapted to be Whole30 compliant, plus over lunch they have a full fresh salad bar which although pricey, looks amazing.
What: Classic Beef Burger (free range beef patty, tomato, pickle, leaves, mayo) £7, twelve additional extras available from 50p-£2
How: Six of us (four runners and two support crew) stumbled across this place post-Run Hackney when we were famished after a hard morning of running hard/cheering hard in the hot hot heat of East London. The menu is just brunch and burgers, but for such a small menu, there was so much choice. When we explained all the thing we could and couldn’t have, the waitress said “so you want a burger salad… with as much protein as possible”. YES, that’s exactly it! What we got was a burger, fried egg, bacon, avocado and LOADS of salad. Admittedly, one slice of tomato had mayo on it, but that was scraped off and we were good to eat.
Verdict: Potentially a bit of a random one, but this was one of my favourite dining experiences of the whole month. Thanks in no short part to the brilliant waitress, but they staff in general were happy to cook up and serve up whatever we wanted. It didn’t feel like the healthiest version of burger-and-add-ons ever, and I would bet there was some non-compliant oil going on in there somewhere, but sometimes you just gotta let that go. I want to go back here.
What: Bill’s naked hamburger (with red onion, tomato, lettuce, horseradish mayonnaise and a a large mixed salad and tzatziki instead of sesame seed bun and skinny fries) – £9.95, guacamole £1.20 extra, sweet potato fries £3.55, tender stem broccoli
with red chilli and toasted sesame seeds £3.25
How: With the obvious bun and skinny fries gone, even the tzatziki in the ‘naked’ version had to go to. We were still charged for the guacamole, but did manage to nab the salsa pictured as a sub for the bits we couldn’t have. We also added sweet potato fries and the oh-s0-scrummy chilli broccoli as sides too. It did get quite pricey with all these additions though.
Verdict: I really, really like Bill’s – it’s one of my favourite chains. I’ve also been to the restaurants in Soho, Wimbledon, Hammersmith, Covent Garden, Islington and Shoreditch (see, quite a fan). I only became slightly less of a fan when they took moules et frites off the menu *sad face* However, because of this, this was the only place where I felt like I was missing out by eating what I did, because the rest of the menu is also so good and I wanted to eat some of it. That being said, this was a really good, really tasty Whole30 option. It was very similar to the skinny burger at Natural Kitchen and again the brilliant waitress made our meal.
How: I ordered, it came. Easy as that. The only thing I ate out that required no substitutions! Other than ignoring the massive basket of bread placed next to me.
Verdict: A mere 10 minute wander from my house, I will be back here for sure. Friendly, authentic, really reasonably priced and just really flavoursome – I loved this breakfast. The whole breakfast menu is very egg heavy (ace for Whole30!) and you can get a full English for less than £8.50 including coffee. WIN.
What: Sausage and sunblush scrambled eggs (with British free-range sausage, sunblush tomatoes, spinach, basil and chia seeds) £3.99
How: Post spin one morning I was ravenous, and hadn’t had the time or bother to pack my own post-workout brekkie. I tried the Eat near my office (nothing), but then remembered Pod tucked away down the street opposite.
Verdict: Technically, I doubt very much that sausage is compliant, but at least it’s free range. The eggs were well cooked (I watched them prepared as I waited), they weren’t spongy or plasticy which is what eggs on the go usually up like. Only negative point was that they accidentally made some toast with my order, and with no one else to give it to, I got it for free. No one in my office wanted it. I had to throw away toast! I love toast. So upsetting.
All over the place. No, really. There are EIGHT Prets within 400m of my work. (That is a verified fact and everything. I checked.) Crazy.
What: Crayfish and Avocado No Bread (wild crayfish, avocado, salad leaves, Dijon French dressing)
How: Hold the dressing, and you’re all good.
Verdict: I know you already know how ace Pret is, but it’s really handy to have this salad as a back up for when you’re out and about and starving. They also do an egg and spinach pot, also compliant. Personally I can’t think of anything worse than a boiled egg practically on its own, but if you need it, it’s there.
What: Organic scrambled eggs with crispy Prosciutto and grilled mushrooms, side of fresh fruit salad
How: Easy subbing of bread with extra sides. Ask for the eggs not to be cooked with butter.
Verdict: Another fave, I have had many a post-long run brunch in the Southbank Centre branch. Le Pain’s food is always top notch, even if the service can be a bit patchy (“table for five please”… “we don’t have any space at the moment”… “we can see all the spare tables over there, can we have one of those?”… “umm, yes… okay then”. Hmmm.) Couldn’t fault this breakfast. I even tortured myself a little and had a wander over to the cake and pastry displays. They’re just so pretty.
Where not to eat Whole30 in London
What: Glenarm mighty-marbled steak (rib 200g) £20, sides of lettuce heart salad £3.95 and grilled field mushroom £3.95
How: A LOT of explanation and subbing, followed by plates of really quite plain food.
Verdict: At the time, I raved about this meal (okay, the steak was gooood), but this is not a place to go unless you can fully embrace the menu. I wrote about my thoughts in this post, but in hindsight, not all that Whole30 friendly (even though you’d think a chicken a steak restaurant would be).
What: Skinny (6oz hamburger, lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayonnaise with side salad) £7.50, courgette fries £3.25
How: Avoid the mayo, ask for no dressing on the side salad (or check what’s in it).
Verdict: To prove that not everywhere can do a ‘skinny’ burger well, there is Byron. Even though they have it as an option on their menu, the naked option was just a bit measly. I want a BIG salad to replace the bun and chips. Just because I’ve asked for less carbs doesn’t mean I’m not hungry, jeez. And don’t forget the courgette fries come battered. I did, hence the bowl of batter pictured above. Also, this was the least nice Byron I’ve been in. It felt like a ever-so-slightly version of McDonalds, not the warm, cosy, atmospheric restaurants I’ve visited in Covent Garden and Soho.
What: Avocado and smoked salmon egg pot £2.95
How: Just as it is (although technically the smoked salmon isn’t compliant – it contains sugar. Oops).
Verdict: Oh, Leon. How you disappoint me. One egg, half an avo and a square of smoked salmon is not breakfast. It tasted alright (massively complimentary word right there), but really?! Come on now, a girl’s gotta eat more than this.
Right… now hit me with your restaurant recommendations – Whole3o, Paleo or just plain scrummy. GO!