Where to eat gluten free: Mora

Mora, Italian Restaurant – 487 High Road Leytonstone, London E11 4PG

  • Cuisine: Italian and Sardinian inspired dishes.
  • Price: ££ – mains cost between £9 & £17.
  • Location: Leytonstone, East London.
  • Gluten-free: Two types of gf pasta available, gf starters and a couple of desserts.

East London, my neck of the woods, recently got a new restaurant that is making waves. Mora is a small unassuming Italian, positioned on a lack lustre high street lined with chicken shops and newsagents – an unusual place for a restaurant serving newsworthy food but very exciting for locals like myself. Having read some of the rave reviews, I’ve been keen to try this place and unsurprisingly struggled to get in with the tables fully booked. Last night I got lucky and boy was it worth the wait!

The restaurant was very welcoming on arrival, the decor is simple, modern & smart and the owners have done a good job getting a lot of tables into a fairly small space without making the diners feel crowded. Sadly I didn’t get a picture but will do next visit because I’ll absolutely be going back!

We (hubby-to-be James & I) were almost 20 mins early for our booking but they were able to seat us anyway which was great and the waitress was very friendly. We got the wine flowing and studied what the menu had to offer – a selection of antipasti, pasta dishes, secondi and sides. On the specials board there were some interesting options including a lobster spaghetti, sheep prosciutto starter and a duck secondi dish. It all sounded amazing but having seen the bresaola on the next table, I ordered that for my starter. Here it is:

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Melt in the mouth bresaola with a nice bit of parmesan & rocket – it was delicious and of course gluten-free! James had a Melanzane alla parmigiana (baked aubergine, tomato & mozzarella to the rest of us) which I was very jealous of, it was so meaty and cheesy. I’ll be ordering it next time (I was a bit silly and didn’t check it was gluten-free for you guys, but it really should be given its ingredients!).

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For the main I was given two choices of gluten-free pasta for my spaghetti lobster from the specials board, fusilli or spaghetti. I was pretty impressed with this considering Mora is a small independent restaurant – I find the big Italian chain restaurants who pride themselves on giving gluten-free options, rarely have a choice of gluten-free pastas. Gluten-free spaghetti Bolognese that comes with gluten-free fusilli (because that’s all there is) really annoys me! So I was happy to be able to choose gluten-free spaghetti for my spaghetti lobster. Here it is when it arrived, smelling amazing:

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It was so tasty. A very fresh, simple tomato & lobster bisque sauce with fresh tomatoes and perfectly cooked lobster mixed through – it didn’t take me long to finish the lot! I really couldn’t tell the difference in the pasta (some gluten-free pasta tastes a bit powdery to me) it was a good quality gluten-free alternative cooked the Italian way, slightly al dente. So good! James had the duck special which came with carrots and a red currant sauce which was just as yummy – the duck was cooked perfectly and the fat crispy, so nothing got left on the plate.

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I was quite stuffed after all that but trying the dessert was a must (in the name of research of course)! The gluten-free options were what I expected at an Italian where most desserts are biscuit or pastry based – ice cream or Panna cotta. I’m completely happy in a restaurant if I have another option apart from ice cream – the worst is when the waitress looks pityingly at you and says ‘sorry there is only sorbet for you’. The ice cream option sounded pretty good though with salted caramel and Madagascan vanilla flavours, but I decided to go for the Panna cotta ‘al mirto’. What a good choice it was!

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Perfect Panna cotta loveliness flavoured with myrtle liqueur with a strawberry sauce on top, it had just the right amount of jiggle and was so light and creamy.

So that was dinner at Mora! Perfect atmosphere, friendly staff, fantastic food – this will certainly not be the last visit we make to this place. I can’t wait to go back and am so thrilled to have such an amazing restaurant so close to home. If you are in the area it’s well worth a visit!

Thanks for reading! Why not try: Where to eat gluten-free: Dishoom

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