nce upon a time, I worked in Investment Banking which meant many late dinners at my desk. The novelty of a dinner expense budget soon wore off and after a pizza too many, I started seeking healthier food. Sushi did the trick for a while, until Leon opened its first branch at Carnaby Street, a mere 5 mins away from the office.
It was love at first sight! Flavoursome and healthy meatballs – what a treat! Dark chocolate brownie with candied orange bits – drool! Brown rice – yum! We were there so much in those early days that we were on first name basis with the staff and even scored an invite to the opening party.
Since then though, I moved offices there hasn’t been a Leon near me for a while. It was with great joy then when I had a meeting in the City which was handily located right next to a Leon outlet (they have 12 of them now!), which gave me an opportunity to taste the food again.
So the verdict 8 years on? Still loving the concept and loving the food. The Aioli Chicken Rice Box was well-flavored and cooked and even reminded me of Singaporean Chicken Rice. The chicken was poached chicken thigh which ensured the meat was moist and tasty and the aioli added a tangy gutsy flavour. The brown rice was lightly fragranced, probably garlic, onion or some combination of the two. And the crunchy herb slaw on the side added texture. Only thing missing was the traditional chicken rice chilli!
A special shout-out also goes to the Better Brownie. I used to consume at least one of these a day (no thanks to the dinner expense budget). These are “better” for you because they contain no flour (only almonds), dark chocolate (why would you consume anything else?!) and are perfumed with a light citrus flavour. Having said that though, they tasted better from 8 years ago in my memory than the recent slice I had.
It was really good eating at Leon again. As Ming puts it, “I like Leon more now that I don’t eat there every night and it doesn’t remind me of late nights in the office!!” It’s almost as if I have watched my child come of age. Now if only one will open up near me again soon…
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Good for: Takeaway lunches, casual mid-week dinners with friends (they do table service and serve booze in the evenings)
p.s. here’s a link to the recipes for some of their food (including the brownie) in case you want to attempt at home