Bodyism Cafe is a wonderful little known cornucopia of delicious, wholesome, healthy food. It is also a very welcome addition to the tiny number of 100% Gluten Free eateries in London. I discovered Bodyism Cafe quite by accident whilst scouring Google Maps for a great place to eat gluten free near Hyde Park. The cafe is newly opened in 2017 but is co-located with a Bodyism Health Studio that has been open for longer. The cafe is entirely separate to the Health Studio and open to all.
Bodyism Cafe emphasizes seasonal organic produce, whole foods and sugar in moderation. Many dishes are colorful rainbows on a plate. The cafe and menu are an implementation of the Nutrition guidelines within the ‘Blueprint for Health‘ advocated by Bodyism founder James Duigan. This blueprint promotes four pillars of health. Nutrition, Movement, Mindset and Sleep. These are robust, no pseudo science woo. Add in clean air, hygiene, strong social bonds and a sense of purpose in life and you have all the ingredients long, healthy, happy life.
I admire the Blueprint for Health guidelines and if they appeal to you too that will make Bodyism Cafe an especially great place to eat. However even if they do not I would still confidently recommend Bodyism Cafe on the strength of the interesting menu, tasty food and friendly service.
Bodyism Cafe for gluten free & vegan diners
Bodyism Cafe is 100% Gluten Free. No food served contains gluten and Bodyism have their own dedicated kitchen in which no gluten is used. Bodyism therefore joins a very rare and select group of places to eat that are 100% Gluten Free. For all the venues that I know of please do see the map at the bottom of this post or embedded into the home page.
There are gluten free oats used in many of the breads, cakes and bakes. I was thoroughly impressed by the response when I mentioned I was not sure if I could tolerate gluten free oats. Without any prompting the lady speaking with me gave instruction that when my sandwich was toasted baking parchment must first be placed on the toaster to avoid cross contamination. Within seconds she also produced the full ingredient list for all the food on sale and helped identify those with and without oats. I was also pleased to note that both coeliac and cross contamination risk were very familiar things to the staff.
Full vegan options including Acai Bowls, CoYo Bircher pots, rainbow salads and woohoo, their Walnut Brownie! Veggie options are even more extensive, including Toasted Cheese, Halloumi Wraps and Pancakes.
The menu is viewable online and clearly indicates Dairy Free and Vegan options. Note there are also daily specials that do not appear on the menu. On my visit these included Sweet Potato Wraps which were duly sampled.
Bodyism Cafe venue and style
This is a tiny place. There is room for perhaps 20 people total including both inside and outside seating. Inside seating includes a long bar running along the window so you face out whilst eating. This is rather nice and well suited for eating together in pairs or dining solo. During my visit I noticed a fellow diner reading a Kindle and idly glancing out the window whilst eating. I would happily visit to do the same. Outdoor tables could probably a maximum of 4 people and any larger group would struggle to sit together.
Ordering is done direct at the counter but table service delivers the food. A particular plus point is that there is readily available infused water – free of course. I really wish more venues would provide the same instead of charging for bottled water. Bottled water has a hugely negative environmental impact so I applaud the places that help reduce it. Positive mentions to Farmstand and Beyond Bread as other places that freely provide water in jugs or via filter tap.
In a first for any venue I have dined at I was amused and again a little impressed that there was a little jar of sweetener available for free use. Why impressed? Well that sweetener was xylitol! Xylitol is the very low calorie, low GI sweetener which has proven tooth protecting qualities.
Be aware that similar to other tiny venues the cafe does not have its own restroom and instead staff offer directions to the nearest accessible restroom located nearby on the same street.
Bodyism Cafe gluten free dishes
My dining partner tried a Bulletproof Coffee. This is basically an Americano, or Long Black, with Butter from grass fed cows and Coconut Oil. Whether or not the various health and mental performance claims for Bulletproof style coffee are valid it does have a dedicated following so having the option here is certainly interesting. If you are a regular black coffee drinker and lover though be warned the flavour is dominated by the butter and coconut oil rather than the coffee beans.
Since I do not eat oats, even gluten free oats, I did not opt for the Protein Pancakes served with berries, coconut yogurt and nut butter. Thankfully my friend tried these too and described them as fantastic. Very tasty with goldilocks level helpings of nut butter, yogurt and fruit. His main of Sweet Potato Wrap with Chicken & Avocado filling was a flavour hit too. Sprinkled chili flakes delivered a spicy hot kick and the chicken actually tasted of chicken rather than a bland, this could be anything white meat.
Enough eating vicariously. What did I have? My easy favourite was a gorgeous and protein rich Acai Bowl. For the unfamiliar, Acai Bowls are Acai fruit based smoothies eaten with a spoon. This one was blended together with coconut yogurt and almond nut butter and topped with various coconut flakes and berries. Decadently rich and creamy and bursting with beautiful fruity and nutty flavour. The Bodyism Cafe Acai Bowls have been featured within a top 10 list of Acai Bowls in London. I volunteer to try the other nine because this one was lovely.
I wasn’t keen on the name but did enjoy my Kanye West toastie. The paleo bread with chili flakes certainly looked enticing but it was the umami rich goat cheese and tomato filling that was the star. Definitely not Kanye West.
Finally, there was a Brownie. It was Gluten Free and Vegan and generously laced with Walnuts. Of course I had to try it. If there is a Brownie, I must sample it. For science. I want to develop a Brownie flavour wheel to help me describe these things. There are flavour wheels for wine, coffee, cheese and chocolate. Time to fill the gap and have a Brownie wheel. Suffice to say on my existing rating wheel-less scale whereby everything is compared to the Leon Better Brownies, this one was at least equally good. Since it is also Vegan unlike the Leon Better Brownie which is dairy free but includes eggs, it receives extra Brownie points!
Bodyism Cafe Recommendation
Things I loved –
- Finding a little tub of Xylitol sweetener for drinks in place of sugar
- Having jugs of water available for self-service and so no need to buy plastic bottles or pay for water at all
- The wide range of vegetarian and vegan options
- Emphasis on seasonal and organic produce
- Extremely engaged staff who were both allergen aware and clearly enthusiastic about good food and drink
- Bulletproof Coffee on the menu, it is worth trying once :-P
- My gorgeous Acai Bowl
Things I would like to change –
- Banish the oats! Go fully grain free or replace oats with buckwheat, amaranth or quinoa flakes!
- Access to a restroom (there isn’t one for the cafe, they offer directions to the nearest alternative close by)
If you set aside the health and lifestyle appeal of Bodyism and its founder is the cafe food worth visiting for the food alone? Simple answer, yes. The dishes are well prepared, flavoursome, pleasurable and nutritious.
Bodyism Cafe Locations
In addition to the Bodyism Cafe in Notting Hill there are currently two Bodyism stalls located within other shops. Fenwicks has a tiny take-out stall. It does not have any space to sit and eat but is ideal for buying food to go for local workers. The menu is available online and pictured below. Orlebar Brown in Chelsea incorporates a small Bodyism cafe together with limited seating for eating in. Both locations are included in the 100% Gluten Free Map of the UK offered below.
Use the map below to find Bodyism Cafe and all the other 100% Gluten Free venues I know of within the UK. Tell me if something is missing. If it is in London, I will visit it and review!