The Anonymous Widower

A Plaintiff Plea On Wake Up To Money

I regularly listen to Wake Up to Money on BBC Radio 5 Live.

One morning, they were talking to Kentucky Fried Chicken about their new vegan burgers. As a coeliac, I say Yuck! to that!

Somebody else texted the program and said something like.

I’m a coeliac, how about more gluten-free food.

In fact it was a bad week for me as a coeliac last week.

  • I found Beyond Bread had closed on Upper Street.
  • Le Petite Bretagne  closed in Dalston.
  • I spent about twenty minutes looking for a coffee and a gluten-free cake in Liverpool Street.

All this passion for vegan and vegetarian food, is marginalising those like me, who have to avoid gluten.

I’ve still got a couple of cafes in Dalston, where this is possible and I could always go to M & S and take a cake home.

But I refuse to buy an expensive coffee maker.

After Liverpool Street, I ended up in Leon in Moorgate.

Note the excellent gluten-free cake and the posh cup and saucer.

Note, that because of my stroke, I like a proper china cup or mug

I tend to avoid American-owned chains like Costa and Starbucks, as some American gluten-free practices are suspect to say the least. I used to like Cadbury’s Bournville chocolate, but now I believe it uses addictive wheat-derived glucose, I wouldn’t dare touch it.

As I said finding good cafes and restaurants that do gluten free well is becoming more difficult.

  • Carluccio’s is creaking and many that I used regularly like Glasgow, Islington, Liverpool and Westfield have closed.
  • Pattiserie Valerie is struggling and has closed a lot of outlets.
  • Jamie’s Italian has gone bust.
  • If I go a bit upmarket, there is Bill’s and Cote, but they are not ideal for a fast pit-stop.

As last week, I suspect that most coeliacs hope that Leon or others following their relaxed, quirky and customer and diet-friendly model, prosper.


These days many pensioners like me, get free public transport in their local area.

Londoners like me, get a Freedom Pass, which gives free buses, Underground, Overground, trams and trains, within the M25.

I will often get up, look at the BBC London News, the weather and other sources. I may then decide to go to Canary Wharf, Richmond ir wherever  to have a walk, see an exhibition or whatever.

London is an amazing cornucopia of delights, which is a sentiment echoed by others who live close to our other great cities.

Free public transport enables this lifestyle.

I think the various cafe and restaurant chains can tap into this lifestyle, as often one of the reason to go to a place is to have a good meal or a drinki.

If like me, you like particular chains, I believe that their web sites could be an important part in planning how to waste a few hours.

Suppose, their web site  had the following features.

  • A simple list of all their cafes and restaurant, with st most a short description like “Close to Pierhead”
  • The ability to sign up to a simple e-mail alert of new openings and closures. Note the word simple!

I believe that if I got a message saying a chain had opened in say Kingston, it might prompt me to go and have a walk and perhaps lunch, with a friend I haven’t seen for years.


  1. Lists are much better than maps, if you don’t know the area.
  2. Companies are relying too much on apps, which are OK for finding places near where you are, but are useless, if you are using the cafe or restaurant, as the resewn to go or the starting point for an explore.
  3. I believe Carluccio’s troubles started, when they abandoned their list on their web site. I told them so in strong terms.

Patteriserie Valerie has an excellent list.


June 23, 2019 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gare du Nord Now Has A Good Testaurant

Apparently, it’s called the L’Etoile Du Nord.

December 5, 2016 Posted by | Food, Transport | , | 1 Comment

No Wonder Lyle’s Is On The Evening Standard Shortlist

I was walking to Dalston Kingsland station today, when in a small park, I saw a guy picking elderberries from a tree in the children’s play area.I asked what he was doing and he said he was a Glaswegian chef from Lyle’s restaurant, and he was collecting it for cordial.

I read today in the Evening Standard that Lyle’s is on their short list for New Restaurant of the Year.

No wonder if the chef goes foraging in Hackney!

May 26, 2015 Posted by | Food | | Leave a comment


This unusual spelling was used by my son, when he was suggesting where we might go for supper.

Is it a restaurant that serves moggies?


February 2, 2014 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

Coeliac Or Just Gluten Free?

I was asked this question in Jamie’s Italian in Edinburgh.

How professional is that?

I had a very nice rabbit pasta.

October 24, 2013 Posted by | Food, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Supper At Savini

Savini is one of the most prominent and well-known restaurants in Milan. It is in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and sitting outside the restaurant, as I did, is one of the best places, I’ve ever found to people watch.  Or as C used to say, watch the bimboni!

I had a good meal and thoroughly overfilled myself. I would of course, have had a better meal, if I’d had a suitable bimboni with me.  But preferably one with intelligence, style and some worldly experience. If a lady can’t remember the 1960s, she’s too young for me!


When C and I met there, I missed a story, that I could have sold to the tabloids.  At the time, there was speculation, that a certain England footballer might be pursuing his career in Milan.  He’d gone missing, but turned up at the next table, with his very pregnant girlfriend. I do remember though, that he chose and ordered her meal for her. But at least they didn’t do anything that might have besmirched their good name, that of their club or their country. In fact his politeness to his girlfriend was a complete surprise, as on the pitch he generally didn’t behave as well.

I think that a few years later, they are still together, so it looks like the tabloids got his antics and personality wrong.

October 12, 2013 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

A Big Mistake In Naples

I know Naples well and I like the city a lot, but I still made a big mistake, by not getting a hotel right in the middle and preferably by the station.

I choose to stay at the Holiday Inn and it all went well getting there as the taxi was just ten euros.

I then needed to get back into the city to have something to eat. I wanted to get to Umberto’s restaurant, which is one I’ve used before that is very celiachia-friendly.

I thought there would be a bus, as coming in, I’d noticed the stop on the other side.  But the guy at reception said that the only way to get back to the city centre was to take a taxi and he would call one. Like an idiot I believed him.

The taxi driver appeared about twenty minutes later and insisted I wanted to go to Pompeii.  I ignored him and felt that perhaps the best thing to do was take an early night.  He then called the receptionist and as I was hungry, I negotiated a trip to Umberto.  I didn’t get the direct route and it cost me twenty euros to return.

But at least the meal was worth eating, even if I was a bit stressed. I finished the meal off with this ice cream.

Ice Cream at Umberto's

Ice Cream at Umberto’s

It tasted as good as it looked. But then I trust Umberto’s, as everything gluten-free is clearly marked GF. And they even do gluten-free pizza!

Coming back, they sorted the taxi for me and I got back to the hotel for fourteen euros. As they said, I should have got a hotel in the centre.

The room in the Holiday Inn was actually quite comfortable and good value.

In the morning though, when asking another receptionist (female) how to get to the city centre, she gave me the timetable of their free shuttle bus. And of course, one would have been convenient to have used in the evening.

I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere near a Holiday Inn again. Especially in Italy!

October 9, 2013 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Supper In Palermo

The hotel recommended a restaurant round the corner called Gagini.

The food, staff and atmosphere were all excellent and of course gluten-free.

The starter was particularly good as it was three types of seafood blended with salt from Trapani on Salina and spices. I’ve actually been to that island in the Aoelian Islands.

October 8, 2013 Posted by | Food | , , , , | 2 Comments

Gluten Free Bread In Carluccio’s

On Friday night after the film, I had a quick supper in Carluccio’s in Islington, where the manager informed me that they now had gluten-free bread.

As I was in a hurry and only having a salad, I didn’t partake.

But this morning, I went back for breakfast on my way to football at Ipswich and had an eggs florentine with gluten-free bread.

Carluccio's Gluten-Free Eggs Florentine

Carluccio’s Gluten-Free Eggs Florentine

It was so much better, than one without, as the bread was ideal for soaking up the yolk of the egg.

The bread incidentally is Yes You Can, who would appear to be an Australian company, who don’t have a UK web-site. My only problem, could be that the bread is manufactured in Norwich.

Are we starting to see a tipping point, where no professional cafe or restaurant doesn’t offer gluten-free bread? After all, I found that this was very much the case in my visit to  Stockholm a couple of months ago.

I did hear that new menus are being printed in Carluccio’s, but certainly Islington has jumped in to offering the new bread.  I’ll try a couple of others in the next week or so.

August 10, 2013 Posted by | Food | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lunch In Copenhagen

I had lunch in Copenhagen, by a canal that was lined with restaurants.

A Restaurant-Lined Canal

A Restaurant-Lined Canal

The food was good, but it was probably served at the slowest pace I’d ever received. I was so bored at one point, that I took to taking a photo of the chair opposite.

An Unsuitable Chair

An Unsuitable Chair

Why do you put such a chair in a restaurant? It’s impossible to put your coat over the back of it, so I used the chair next to me for my coat. So they might have lost a cover because of the unsuitable chairs.

In the end, this restaurant ruined my afternoon, as they were so slow on service, I didn’t have time to visit the Jewish Museum in Copenhagen. I’ve always been fascinated, as was my father, about how the Danes got most of their Jews out of the country to Sweden, after the Nazi invasion.

At least though I ate well! Albeit very slowly!

June 19, 2013 Posted by | Food, World | , , , | Leave a comment