Leon Restaurants

leon-naturally-logoOne of the perks of my job is my occasional visits to London, as that means a visit to a Leon restaurant!

I hadn’t come across a Leon restaurant before, but it’s rise on social media made me want to give it a go and now I am totally hooked! Its convenient location between the London office and the tube station means it’s the only place I have lunch when I’m there on a day trip.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with Leon, their slogan is ‘naturally fast food’ and it is just that. Think of the immediate turnaround of food in somewhere like McDonalds and it is the same in Leon, but the food is considerably healthier.

Here’s the Leon Vision, taken from their website:

There is something magical about fast food. Both of us, as children, considered a trip to a fast food joint the biggest treat imaginable. John used to lie on his back and wave his arms and legs in the air with excitement before his once-a-term visit to McDonalds. But then we grew up, and realised that most fast food makes you fall asleep and wake up fat. So, we asked ourselves: why can’t fast food be good food?

We opened Leon because we wanted to prove that it was possible to serve food that both tastes good and does you good. We want to make it easy for people to eat well on the high street. We want to do this in every major city in the world.

The best thing about Leon (aside from their amazing food) is their outstanding labelling! That probably sounds silly, but for us coeliacs that is crucial, and Leon has labelling in abundance! GF, WF, DF, V (Vegetarian) and Ve (Vegan) to name but a few, all clearly labelled both on their instore menus and online.

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There are a lot of gluten free options available on their menu including hot boxes, salads, super pots and even fries, but I’ve only ever had one item from the menu. I love it so much I just have to have it every time I visit and that’s the Moroccan Meatballs Hot Box! 🙂

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The first time I ordered it I did have to ask if it was spicy, but when I was assured that it wasn’t I went for it, and I’ve never looked back!

A Leon hot box is full of nutritious goodness and this particular one contains ‘grilled meatballs cooked down in a tomato sauce with spices, served with freshly chopped parsley & mint, toasted seeds and garlic aioli. Served with Italian brown rice and fresh slaw’. Mmmmmm…..

The cost of this particular Leon hot box is £6.85 and yes you could buy a gluten free sandwich down the road in M&S for cheaper, but this is a much healthier lunch and I also find that it fills you up for longer.

Takeaway options are available, but on my lunch break I find it nicer to sit down and enjoy my lunch in peace, especially when in the middle of the hustle and bustle of London.

When I last visited the London store in High Holburn, it was the first time I’d noticed their massive selection of cakes, most of which were labelled gluten free! Obviously I was going to try some, but which ones?! Well, yeah the answer was obviously going to be most of them, to the extent that I bought 4 and kindly got given one for free!

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I had a Billionaire’s Shortbread, Better Brownie, Lemon Ginger Crunch and Pecan Pie, but there are also Cranberry Bakewells and Almond and Orange Cookies available to us glutenfree-ers!

The observant amongst you will note I said I had 5 cakes, and rest assured the other one wasn’t for me. I bought Rich another of the Lemon Ginger Crunch cakes as he loves lemon cakes and as I’m such a loving wife I thought he’d appreciate one of these, whilst I devour the other 4 cakes!! 🙂

Billionaire’s Shortbread

DSC_1807On the Leon website this cake is described as ‘a polenta & almond shortbread, topped with salted caramel and dark chocolate. Surprisingly, not too rich’, however I may have to disagree with the final statement as I did actually find it too rich for my tastes.

It was a lovely cake and the caramel was absolutely gorgeous, but the dark chocolate was just a little too much for me. I would also describe the chocolate topping as a thick slab, which unfortunately meant that when biting into the cake the rest of it fell apart, as it was just a little too thick. If this had been a little thinner it would have been great and obviously not as rich, so potentially perfect.

By the way, the cakes are normally better presented than the one shown above, but mine had to endure a train journey home before I could take a photograph!

Better Brownie

DSC_1805I have to say that this brownie took me by surprise, as I was not expecting the orange flavouring! This brownie is described as ‘proof that you can have your cake and eat it, a low GL pleasure made with dark chocolate (70% cocoa), ground almonds, a few chopped walnuts and a bit of orange oil.’

The texture of this brownie is just sublime and the added bonus of orange is gorgeous.

Lemon Ginger Crunch

DSC_1806This was the cake that was first choice on my list, as it looked the most appealing yet most random of the four different flavours.

It certainly didn’t disappoint!

This cake is described as ‘a soft mix of ground almonds and fresh lemon juice on a gingery biscuit base.’ It had a great texture with the sugar sprinkling on top and it all held together very well. The lemon and ginger flavours were both very identifiable and at just the right level for my palate, as I’m not normally a massive fan of ginger.

Pecan Pie

DSC_1809Up until recently this wouldn’t have been the type of cake that I’d have gone for, but this ‘sweet and sticky pecan pie’ looked particularly appealing (if a little squashed by the time I got it home) so I had to give it a go!

Again, it didn’t disappoint, as it was perfectly gooey (but not messy) and felt very indulgent, but being crammed with nuts made it healthy yeah?! 🙂

Conclusion

If you come across a Leon restaurant give it a go! They are absolutely amazing for gluten free options and I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

I have to add that I was even happier a couple of weeks ago when I went to Birmingham and found that Birmingham New Street station now has its own Leon! I don’t just have to go to London to get one now!

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The New Street branch is obviously brand spanking new given the station’s recent reopening and it can be found near to Oliver Bonas (my only reference point as I happened to go in there!).

DSC_1851I bought a Lemon Ginger Crunch again (told you I liked them!), but this one came prepackaged which was a surprise, but from a cross contamination perspective I’m happy with that!

Finding a branch at Birmingham New Street made me very happy, but the one thing that will most definitely top this is Bristol getting one. Come on Leon, when’s our turn?! 🙂

If you’d like to find out more about Leon you can visit their website, follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook.

Have you been to a Leon restaurant? What did you think? Do you love them as much as me?! I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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