Saturday, 14 June 2014

Introducing Ilumi

When I see and hear the words "Wheat Free this, Gluten Free, Low Carb and Zero Fat" my immediate reaction is eyes rolling looking elsewhere because so far all my experiences with food within this range has been tasteless mush akin to gruel.  Everywhere you look when food shopping now has big says and even their own sections pointing out that this Gluten Free or Wheat free and it has become a bit of a trend, so many of my friends have now swapped to both varieties when choosing food.

A few weeks ago I was invited down to quaint little cafe called Vozars in Brixton. Vozars is London's first Cafe that is fully wheat and gluten free and my reason for being there was to try a gluten free dinner with Ilumi. Most of you, like me probably will have never heard of Ilumi, but they are a cooking brand who make gluten, wheat, dairy and nut free products suitable for home cooking. With home cooking in mind, the Ilumi food is sold is pouches which can be quickly heated in the microwave, and can also be heated on a hob if the contents are transferred to a saucepan first or you can heat the pouches by immersing them in boiling water. So already this is a simple form of cooking that anyone can do and if you are still unsure, all the information you need is on the pouches anyway.

Now I will be honest and say that It wasn't an event I was looking forward too, I didn't think I would enjoy myself and fully expected to leave hungry, after all my taste buds so far had been almost killed off with trying gluten and Wheat free foods and nor was it something I would ever opt for out of choice. 

Ilumi state:

"At ilumi, our absolute guiding principle is to make food that tastes great for everyone to enjoy. Nut-, gluten- and milk- free shouldn't mean free from taste - and with ilumi, it doesn't".

Hmm well okay, I was prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt and go to the event with an open mind.

At the time of the event, Illumi had just launched their Asian flavours range, and to go with each course there was a specially chosen wine which also happened to be gluten free (the mind boggles) or a beer which guess what - also gluten free!.  


The first course we sat down with was Sweet Five Spice and Chilli Pork with some rice and it is described as follows:

The spicy aromatics of this dish come from the Chinese 5 spice, with hints of star aniseed, cinnamon, fennel, cloves and black pepper - these combine with the honey to give a dish that is powerfully fragrant & spicy but subtly sweet.

With this, I was surprised to find that actually I really liked it, it was full of flavour, you could see the pork and it wasn't very cardboard like in flavour.

The second dish was Beef in Black Been sauce and again as with the first course, it was full of flavour, had different textures and the meat most clearly present. 

Described as follows:

The unique slightly salty, bitterness of the fermented black beans gives a caramelised note and a depth to this Asian dish much as an ale does to a classic beef stew! The beef is cooked in a sauce made from the black beans, along with chili, garlic, soy, vinegar, and a touch of sugar...a great balance of salt, sweet, sour and heat!"

The third dish was Chicken Laska which is described as follows:

The wonderfully aromatic ilumi Laksa uses a wonderful coconut base sauce, to which we add our marinated chicken, and many aromatic ingredients including lime leaves, ginger, tamarind, red chilli and turmeric. This dish is truly warming, perfect balanced with a kick of chilli.

Well it was a lot creamier than the previous two dishes but again full of flavour, a bit of a kick from the chilli and again you could see the meat and so far my favourite dish of the three we had tried so far.  

The final dish was vegetable biriyani, not something I would ever choose out of choice, if I am choosing a meal there will always be a meat in there somewhere but I was surprised at how filling it was and how tasty it was.  Described as follows:

"The biryani dish originates from Persia before making its way to India and establishing itself as an Indian favourite. There are many variations of biryani and our delicious ilumi version adds one more to that long list! This mild aromatic rice dish is full of flavour from spices such as cardamom, cloves, coriander and cumin, and includes lots of fabulous vegetables!"

If that wasn't enough, at the end of all these dishes there was a beautiful platter of cakes presented to those present and placed in the middle of the table and yeah I know what you are all thinking, were they also gluten free, well the answer is yes they were and they had been made by Vozars themselves. Now I love cake, I am not going to lie, show me cake and my pupils dilate with excitement, I love it, but a gluten fee version, hmmm that is either going to be stodgy and tasteless or a mixture if the two right? No totally wrong, infact they were absolutely tasty, full of flavour, quite light and airy and not at all stodgy.

The experience was something I did enjoy and the Illumi team being on hand to answer all the questions my mind had going round was really helpful.  Outside of my own world and existence there are people who simply need food that is wheat and gluten free and the fact someone has come up with something that is so simply to use and tasty is amazing.  As we left, feeling very full and slightly surprised that I enjoyed the food so much and with an amazing goody bag too. 

Whether you are a fan of Gluten free food or whether you have simply not tried it because like me you judged a book by its cover before trying it, I really would recommend Ilumi products to try and if you are feeling a tad more adventurous and are in and around Brixton pop into to Vozars for a brew and some cake, like me you will be surprised!

Unit 26 Brixton Village

The Hubby was also at this event and his review can be found over at


  1. This is so nice to see, I have had an intolerance to wheat and gluten since I was a baby and it is so nice to see restaurant embarrassing it. You wouldn't believe how excitet I got when Pizza Express started a Gluten free menu. Great post,and love your blog header, I have just added you on bloglovin, cant wait to read more.

    Gaby x

  2. I'm so glad you had a better time than you thought and I'm really appreciative of the information. None of us are gluten intolerant but my mum, Ethan and I do react to bread products from time to time so we would probably benefit from throwing the odd gluten free alternative into the shopping basket

    All of that food looked goood! And cake, if you can still have cake when eating gluten free?Well then life is good! xx

  3. it all looks super yummy, may give this a go looks lovely x

  4. A wheat and gluten free restaurant sounds really exciting! The main courses look really good, but the desert sounds the best :P

    Olivia Beauty from the Fjord xxx

  5. That's such a good idea if you have daitry requirements, and the food looks so yummy too! x

    Beauty Soup || UK Beauty Blog

  6. The cakes look delicious!

  7. I enjoy the way you have presented this great information.
    It makes me wonder why I had not thought of it before! Thanks for sharing


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