Scream if you wanna go gluten free…

Finding good gluten-free baked treats is often as easy as finding something good to say about Donald Trump’s hair. It takes dedication, perseverance and the ability to accept it’s likely to never happen…or so I thought until I stumbled into Cookies & Scream on Holloway Road.

An offshoot of the original cookie bar which popped up in Camden Market seven years ago, this little sit-down shop has all the original favourites plus a whole host of new faces on London’s gluten-free baking landscape. Small glass cases at the front of a shop that’s part goth-part Mary Berry were full of everything from cookies the size of dinner plates to brownies that seemed to be melting in a puddle of their own chocolaty goodness to My-Little-Pony coloured fruit pies…oh and did I mention that everything they make here is gluten, wheat, egg & dairy free?

Servings are generous (translation – wear your most elasticated of waistbands) and well worth their price-tags which hover around the £3-4 mark. Staff are friendly – one guy sporting what are unarguably the best curls in the capital FYI! – and patiently welcoming to a small queue which included everyone from school kids to OAP’s on the afternoon I visited. Read More

Turning Japanese in the heart of Soho…

Like the back end of the annual nativity donkey costume, the bottom end of Wardour St is not generally somewhere you want to find yourself. Littered with all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets and thick with air that hangs ripe with the perfume of coloured sugar from nearby cultural landmark M&M’s World, it’s not a part of London I’d associate with cool, new food but recent opening Ichibuns may bring with it more fragrant winds of change.

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Despite having a name to make passing tourists snigger, if, like me, you’ve never been to Japan, then I imagine stepping inside here is like a sensory overloaded snapshot of what the centre of Tokyo might be if it had a brief, torrid, snogging-in-the-back-row affair with the heartland of Americana diner culture. It’s way cool, with an 80’s flavoured techno-pop soundtrack and it’s certainly not short of things to keep you entertained visually as you wait for food. Sat downstairs, we had walls of arcade games, plastic dollies behind metal mesh, the front half of a van surrounded by the oversized stereo speakers you had when you were 15 and a ceiling covered with black & white Japanese comic pages all vying for our attention.

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The menu offers a slightly curious mix of ramen, burgers, sushi & the sort of shakes that will slay a bride-to-be in her tracks as well as beers, whiskeys & juices. You’ll find the sour cherry with orange & lemon refreshingly sharp enough to cut through the richness of the meat & bread with ease. Read More