Love Croydon, hate gluten? Here’s where to eat

By - Thursday 18th August, 2016

Andy Ellis’s essential guide to coeliac Croydon

Let’s begin with a few words about gluten. It is a mix of proteins found in wheat, rye, oats and barley and, by extension, common foods such as bread, cakes and beer. It also finds its way into numerous processed and packaged items. To avert a common misconception, gluten does not occur in corn, maize, rice, buckwheat or nuts.

Coeliac sufferers comprise about 1% of the UK population but it’s reckoned that over half of those don’t even know that they suffer from it. For those afflicted, gluten damages the surface of the gut thereby impeding its ability to absorb nutrients. Undiagnosed coeliacs may experience anaemia, brittle bones, unexplained weight loss and even succumb to bowel cancer.

For those who know they have the disease, cutting out gluten allows the gut, in time, to heal itself and restore proper nutrition. The problem then, however, is an intolerance to any gluten inadvertently swallowed even if it just a tiny amount. Sometimes this is just a mild discomfort but gluten can often cause a violent digestive upset which, in some cases, means a trip to the casualty department.

It is, therefore, not some faddy dietary whim but a genuine and serious condition.

So, where can the Croydon diner go for a restaurant which understands the problem and can offer gluten free dishes?

Below are the ones which I’ve visited. Not everywhere mentioned always has gluten-free on the menu every day but most will also go the extra mile if they know you are coming. Accordingly I’ve placed an asterisk (*) against those where it’s best to call up a day or two before you visit.

Alma Tavern*

Nothing on the standard menu but we phoned a couple of days before and the chef brought in some extra ingredients to make sure we were catered for.

127-129 Lower Addiscombe Road, Croydon CR0 6P; 020 8655 4008; 11:00am-11:00pm Monday-Saturday, noon-11:00pm Sunday.

Beirut Gate*

As the name suggests, Lebanese cuisine is on offer. A fair number of gluten free options.

127-129 Lower Addiscombe Road, Croydon CR0 6PU; 020 8655 4008; Noon-midnight every day.


An interesting and rather good Anglo-European restaurant. On the couple of times we’ve visited the chef has come to the table to discuss requirements and the kitchen has gone the extra mile to help.

7-8 Ruskin Parade Selsdon Road, South Croydon CR2 6PW; 020 8649 9990. Noon-11pm every day.


Offers a good variety of Caribbean food and staff helpful in selecting suitable dishes.

46 George Street, Croydon CR0 1PB; 020 8686 8009; 11am-10pm Monday-Saturday, noon-9pm Sunday.


Run by students at Croydon College. Food and service are of a high standard. Gluten-free items are clearly marked but the menu just has a few items so best to call first. Only open lunchtimes Wednesday to Friday during term time.

Croydon College, Park Lane Entrance, College Road, Croydon, CR9 1DX; 020 8760 5830. Noon-2pm Wednesday-Friday during term time (last orders 1:30pm).


Not my favourite eaterie in Croydon but this long established tapas restaurant remains popular. Staff well aware of gluten problems though.

269-275 High Street, Croydon CR0 1QH; 020 8686 0043. Noon-3:00pm, 6:00pm-11:00pm Monday-Saturday, 12:30pm-10:00pm Sunday.


This cheery family run Anglo-Italian café/restaurant always has something available.

1 Dartnell Road, Croydon CR0 6JB; 07946 854294;8:00am-6:00pm Monday-Tuesday, 8:00am-9:00pm Thursday-Saturday, closed Sunday.

Oval Tavern*

A gem of an eating place with a diverse menu through the week and meat and veggie roasts on Sunday. No specific gluten free menu but they know all about the problem and can usually come up with something. On a Sunday (roast day) always call up a day or two ahead to check.

131 Oval Road, Croydon CR0 6BR; 020 8686 6023. Noon-11:00pm every day (last food orders at 9:00pm).

Pizza Express

The Pizza Express chain is well geared up to the problem and has a selection of gluten-free pizza and pasta.

48 George Street, Croydon CR0 1PB; 020 8681 2550; 11:30am-10:30pm every day.

Thanh’s Bistro

Hovering deservedly around 5th place on Croydon’sTrip Advisor, this little Vietnamese place is a great choice. Much of the menu happens to be gluten-free anyway and staff and chef are well aware of requirements.

56 Lower Addiscombe Road, Croydon CR0 6AA; 020 8405 4308; 6:00pm-11:00pm Tuesday-Saturday, closed Sunday-Monday.

The Tramstop

This pleasant airy café offers an adequate selection and staff are knowledgeable.

231 Lower Addiscombe Road, Addiscombe, Croydon CR0 6RD; 020 8656 7885. 8:00am-5:00pm Monday-Saturday, closed Sunday.

The Windmill

Home cooked Indian food served lunchtimes and evenings from Tuesday to Saturday and they know all about the issues involved.

224 St James’s Road, Croydon, CR0 2BW; 020 8684 2272. Noon to 11:00pm every day, gluten-free Indian Tuesday-Saturday only.

Andy Ellis

Andy Ellis

Descendant of an old Devonshire family, Andy has spent over 25 years of his life in Croydon. He runs a small computer business, is a student at Seishin Ryu Aikido, helps to teach the Body Harmony community fitness classes held in several libraries across the town and, last but not least, dances with the Purley-based North Wood Morris Men.

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  • Anne Giles

    Also the Chateau, in Coombe Lane. I went to an event there and the organisers told them beforehand what I couldn’t eat, so they provided a wondertul three course menu for me based on my requirements. I am not gluten free, as it happens, just wheat free, so can eat oats, barley etc., but it is impossible to find anything anywhere which is only wheat free, so I stick to gluten free.