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Going against the grain: Beyond Bread
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Going against the grain: Beyond Bread

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With its array of bustling restaurants, cafes and cuisines, you’d think London would have options for gf-eating galore. Think again – finding a place sandwiches that I can eat at lunch or sweet treats I can delve into as refuge on a bad day remain few and far between. As a result you can only imagine my excitement when I received word of new gluten-free bakery/café in the heart of the city.

Beyond Bread is a chic but homely eatery nestled down a quaint side street in the depths of Fitzrovia, just a few minutes’ walk from Oxford Street. Despite only being open just shy of a month, it’s already receiving rave reviews, oodles of customers and a number of regulars. Sitting down to chat with founder Elena, I discovered that she has no background of working with food, just a simple love of cooking ­– which makes the project’s fruition and early success even more impressive. So what motivated her to take a risk and start the bakery? She explained, ‘People hold the stereotype that gluten-free food is going to be tasteless; but I know it can be otherwise. I love food and for me, Beyond Bread is not only a business, it’s a pleasure.’

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And it shows. Forget ready-made flours and run-of-the-mill recipes – the on-site bakers have created their flour mixes from scratch by mixing various types of gluten-free flours together to create unique but utterly delicious breads, cakes and pastries. From baguettes to ciabatta and sourdough to pumpernickel, there are breads for all tastes. But despite great choice, you don’t feel overwhelmed and everything has been well thought through. ‘I wanted a clean and clear but diverse range of items on offer,’ Elena says. ‘We’ve tried lots of things and received feedback – if it doesn’t work, we don’t do it.’

There’s no signs of any boring BLTs at Beyond Bread – when I popped in they had proscuitto, minted goat’s cheese and sweet chili jam baguettes and pulled pork, fennel and apple slaw buns. Don’t panic if you’re not a meat eater, they also have veggie options, quiches and amazing-looking salads. For your all-important sweet tooth, they serve up some of the most delectable Danish pastries I have ever had the pleasure of tasting, along with cookies, cheesecakes and muffins to name but a few.

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Sadly, my eyes are bigger than my stomach and on my first trip I wasn’t able to try everything here that took my fancy – but I can say that what I did sample was all truly fantastic. Gluten-free or not, you need to do yourself a favour and take a trip to Beyond Bread; you won’t be able to tell the difference between the items created here and those made elsewhere with regular flour. ‘I wouldn’t forgive myself if I put out products I wasn’t proud of,’ states Elena. ‘But I’m proud of everything I sell here, from the bottom of my heart.’ And there’s absolutely no doubt she should be.

Beyond Bread, 2 Charlotte Street, London W1T 1SB; www.beyondbread.co.uk

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