I knew that Leon has been open for a while. I knew that it’s been touted as the healthy fast food, the healthy alternative to McDonalds. I knew that it’s affordable. I knew that it’s also been slowly expanding – I’ve seen Leons on Carnaby Street, in Spitalfields Market and now on the Strand. However, I’d never eaten there before. As we were looking for a quick and cheap meal around Covent Garden on Wednesday (before seeing Don Giovanni at the ROH – so good!), the shop on the Strand is the one we entered.
I’ll admit why I hadn’t visited for so long. There’s something about the place that screams “hippie food”: maybe it’s the brown rice on the menu, perhaps the colourful decor, could it be the advertising focused on healthy food? I expected lots of salads (with sprouted seeds, I bet) and granola, lots of granola.
There were a number of hot dishes, salads and cold desserts from which to choose. As we were only looking for a light dinner, we ordered one big dish, served with brown rice and coleslaw, and one starter to split. Grilled free-range chicken with herb oil and lemon was our big dish:
This came with the aforementioned brown rice and sesame coleslaw. The coleslaw was quite pleasant; I’d actually willingly eat it. The brown rice was alright – I don’t think I’ve actually had brown rice before. I’m Chinese and our rice is white! The grilled chicken was as you’d expect good chicken to be – dark meat chunks, still moist. They provided a lemon wedge on the side which we utilised.
Roasted sweet potato falafels were the starter:
The idea was novel and the result was well executed, but I still prefer the usual deep-fried chickpea spheres. All starters come with flatbread (brown!) which I found to be a disappointment. They were cold and tasted exactly like the flatbreads that I buy from my Middle Eastern shop at 50p for 5 pieces. I would have prefered a warm flatbread like that served at Hummus Bros and there you get a choice between brown and white.
Bizarrely, we got an extra pot of grilled chicken which the lady said was free. Or at least, I think she said that…she mumbled something and “free” and handed the whole lot to us. Right then – we ate it. It was the same grilled chicken as in our main dish and had yogurt and parsley on top.
Overall, the food wasn’t too bad plus it was fast and it was cheap. I like that they have stacks of glasses and jugs of tap water out for you to help yourself too. Our meal came out to be £7.90 altogether and there was a lot of food, more than expected since we got that extra pot of chicken. I’d eat here again.
By the way, they do have a sprouted seed salad!
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