Many of you will have heard of Leon the ‘healthy’ fast food chain whose restaurants have been popping up all around London but have you eaten there? I had always glanced at the menu board displayed at the Brent Cross site as I hurried on into the Wagamama or Gourmet Burger Kitchen nearby but had never ventured in until the 29th of September this year when I took over the Brent Cross twitter feed sharing tweets of the shoptacular event that they were having.
Leon is located in the main eating area section with a range of other restaurants giving diners a great choice to foods to choose from. It has the look and feel of a fast food place but with a large range of healthy options available.
The staff there are all very friendly and helpful. Say hi to Sergiu if you pass by. He normally works in the kitchen but came out to say hello and pose for a photo. There are plenty of drinks to chose from including their own sparkling mango and orange and sparkling apple which have half the calories of the Pret a Manger ones. Great to know if you are watching the calories. There are also freshly made (instore) natural shakes including ‘Clean Green’ and Carrot Apple and Ginger’ which sounded pretty yummy.
Our orders on the evening were taken by the lovely Jess who was extremely knowledgeable about the various foods and the most popular dishes. Jess is normally to be found at the Southbank site but was filling in at the Brent Cross site when we came to visit.
The menu is pretty varied with a range of breakfast foods, hot and cold boxes, burgers, sides, wraps and foods that are not coated in sauces and a bit simpler to please children’s palates too.
We placed our order, had a little chat about our evening in Brent Cross and before we knew it the food had arrived.
Off to our table to start on our baked fries. These are 302 calories, 38 calories less than the equivalent medium fries from McDonalds which have an average of 340 calories per portion.
Lamb Kofte Meatballs Hot Box
This was delicious. There was a good amount of flavour for a chain restaurant meal. The box comprised of brown rice topped with lamb kofte balls and a tasty, tangy pickle relish, aioli and chilli sauce for that added kick but not excessive heat so as to have you gulping down copious amounts of fluids. Accompanying this was a delicious fresh slaw made up of peas, red cabbage and lettuce. This is what you call a hearty healthy meal! The combination of flavours from this meals various parts work well together and the addition of the rice makes the meal all that more filling. I must admit this was gorgeous and a dish I would now revisit for.
Another filling meal with chargrilled chicken, roasted chorizo, sweet red peppers, chopped parsley and mint. Again the flavours work well and the addition of the fresh herbs really breathe that bit more flavour into the dish. I did think this was a great dish but having sampled the Kofte first the thought of that one stuck in my mind as it had a far stronger flavour to it. I did like that the chicken used here was not at all fatty and the pieces were of a good chunky size too. The chorizo added a great deal of flavour to the dish and there was a fair amount included within the dish.
These were nicely seasoned and had a good crunch on the outside. We had been chatting a bit before we had begun to eat so by the time we started on these they had cooled down so were not quite as good as expected but I am sure they would have been better hot. They went very nicely with the aioli.
The sparkling O’Joy (mango and orange) was only 73 calories which was great and it tasted good too, not at all bland as one might expect from a low calorie drink. The lemon, lime and ginger had a few more calories (149) and was also full of flavour.
Now that’s a great photo a a healthy fast food!
I must confess I struggled to finish it all! In fact by the time I had this much left I was considering stopping as I was fit to burst but couldn’t bare to waste the food.
I finally managed to eat the whole serving and was so full that I literally had no room to put dessert, OMG seriously! Fortunately Jess suggested that we take dessert to go, what a fabulous idea. So she packed us both a Better Brownie which has a low GL (glycemic load) and therefore doesn’t result in an excessive blood sugar rise. The brownie is gluten free, vegan, contains coffee, almonds and orange zest and tastes delicious.
My little package of heaven. Sssshhhhhhh don’t tell the kids or hubby.
Still feeling pretty full when I got home I decided to save the brownie until the following day and ended up sharing it with my little girls who gulped it down amazingly fast, I doubt it touched the sides of their mouths. Lucky for me I had saved myself a slither and had this with a cup of herbal tea. I was divine and again something I would be sure to revisit and buy on another visit.
I really enjoyed my visit that evening and was pleased to have finally tried Leon. There are so many great looking dishes on the menu that I feel I simply must try some of which have spiralised vegetables which look gorgeous. The menu caters for various dinners including vegetarians, vegans, wheat free, dairy free and gluten free diners and also have foods that have low saturated fats. For the carnivores as you can see you needn’t fear there is plenty of meat on the menu to keep you more than satisfied.