We were over the moon to read Benjamin's (of Forever Free From) recent review of Lu-Ma! As an avid food blogger who has to watch what he eats due to a Coeliac diagnosis in 2011, it was a privilege to have him come to the Café and try out some of our dishes (and really enjoy them too!)
Here is a just a bit of what he has to say, full blog available on his site here: foreverfreefrom.com/lu-ma-cafe/
LONDON 100% GLUTEN FREE LU-MA CAFE
"What is wonderful in Wimbledon? Without a doubt the list includes Lu-Ma Cafe which offers a 100% gluten free and dairy free menu with plenty of veggie and vegan options. Dishes are mostly simple, mostly healthy and not at all pretentious. There are LOTS of treats available too including pancakes and some very, very lovely raw desserts. This is another place with an Instagram feed you must NOT view whilst hungry!
I have had this charismatic cafe on my *need to visit* list ever since it won a Free From Eating Out Award several years ago. I did *nearly* visit it during a stroll with a girlfriend through Wimbledon but . . . offered the choice, she chose Pizza Express! What did we miss? I finally made it to Lu-Ma Cafe to find out!
LU-MA CAFE COMFORT, STYLE & SERVICE
Lu-Ma Cafe is tucked inside a boutique hotel about five minutes walk from Wimbledon Broadway and station. The olive and white interior is light and airy and offers a very relaxed setting. For warmer months there is outdoor seating. This felt like a delightful place to relax and chat or just read a book whilst slowly savouring something delicious.
One interior wall features a beautiful calligraphic inscription writ large. This is a message from the mother and daughter team, Lucy and Maria, responsible for Lu-Ma. The message welcomes you to Lu-Ma and shares some of their food philosophy. It also puts on display the passion they have for wholesome, healthy eating.
Before ordering I asked about the ingredients of the gluten free bread & pancakes and learned they are made from the award winning mixes from Rana’s Bakery. Unfortunately whilst Rana’s mixes are definitely delicious some contain gluten free oats. I avoid even gluten free oats as I do not know whether I can or cannot tolerate them. Upon learning that bread and bakes are made using oats I usually just order something else without much regret. However at Lu-Ma I was surprised and thoroughly impressed that the chef came out to offer to whip up a batch of oat free pancakes! Lovely service!
That kind chef is Angela Agrati Prange. Angela is an experienced macrobiotic chef and the Lu-Ma Cafe events page offers group “Cooking with Angela” classes. I would happily take instruction from Angela if I was seeking to develop the skills to prepare wholesome, varied, healthy dishes.
LU-MA CAFE FREE FROM CREDENTIALS
Eating out gluten free in London has become far easier and safer. There remain fewer options for eating out whilst avoiding multiple allergens either as an individual or within a group. Lu-Ma shines as a place that can cater safely both gluten free and dairy free.
The healthy eating emphasis translates to dishes based on fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes & pulses. Red meat, dairy and refined sugar are entirely absent. Preference is given to organic ingredients. Curiously whilst dairy free and refined sugar free are highlighted online within the Lu-Ma website and social media the gluten free status is not.
However owner Maria confirms that Lu-Ma is a gluten free cafe. Caveat only that Lu-Ma has some take-out products for sale that may not be gluten free. There are also some drinks, Barley Cup and Yannoh, that contain gluten. The entire food menu itself for table service is 100% gluten free and prepared fresh on site. Given the negligible risk presented by the drinks and take-out food La Ma is included within my 100% Gluten Free UK map.
LU-MA CAFE FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD
Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch Menus offer variety. Breakfast options include an Acai Bowl, Golden Granola and “Indulgent Pancakes” served with maple syrup and fresh berries. Are there other types of pancake, and if so, why? Hearty dishes such as Lentil Vegan Meatballs, Bean Burger with Sweet Potato Chips and Chickpea Curry appear among the Brunch and Lunch dishes.
I almost always browse menus before visiting and made no exception here. So I arrived keen as mustard to order a Sharing Platter for 2 including kale crisps and falafel. I regularly make my own world beating garlicky nutritional yeast cheesy kale crisps but am always willing to try others. The big hook though was the falafel. I have the falafel fanatic gene and am compelled to eat them wherever they appear. But, alas, catastrophe! I had arrived too early and they were not yet available! Falafels . . . you are under notice for my return."
Read more of Benjamin's blog here foreverfreefrom.com/lu-ma-cafe/
Thank you Benjamin for your fantastic and honest write up. We will soon be releasing a Spring menu, so you are welcome back to do another any time!