Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Lunch at Leon Restaurant

Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Leon Restaurants.  Somewhat a popular outlet in many a London borough and it made its way up to Birmingham at the end 2015 as part of the restaurant ensemble for the re-vamped Birmingham New Street station.
 
Photo:  A Kobic

It’s funny as I’d not really had Leon on my radar before and then all of a sudden Leon was everywhere I went!  I spied them in London when on my travels (bizarre how I hadn’t noticed before) and I even clocked one of their cook books on the bookshelf of the set of The Saturday Show on Channel 5 with Gaby Roslin.    Leon was all around me.
 
Photo:  A Kobic

So what is Leon?  Now with over 45 stores, it was set up in 2004 by John Vincent, Henry Dimbleby and chef Allegra McEvedy, their mission was to make it easier for everyone to eat well.  The menu is inspired by the flavours, variety and natural healthiness of Mediterranean cooking.  Their families have Mediterranean roots, so it was a natural fit to weave that into their business ethos.
 
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways
 
Having received a vintage style postcard inviting me to try out their wares, myself and friend Adela headed off to sample the menu.

Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Must do a shout-out here: Adela writes Beau’s Breeches – a fabulous blog for bookworms everywhere and those that like a little social commentary, please do take a peek.
 
Photo:  A Kobic

Now do be mindful, there are two entrances to Leon within Grand Central/Birmingham New Street station, one which is for people that have come especially to dine there ‘off the street’ so to speak and the other one, is for those who have gone through the ticket barrier and are ‘train side/Grand Central side’ of the station.    We did spend a few minutes perplexed how to get in, so bear this in mind when you visit.


Photo:  Word In Veg Ways
 
Upon entry, the colourful Moorish floor slates adorn the threshold whilst modern white tiled walls are all around you with hints of Mediterranean and Latino décor breaking up the stark whiteness. 
Photo:  A Kobic
 
Occasional bookcases are packed with Leon’s literary merchandise (a la the cook books as seen on The Saturday Show).  It’s fresh, vibrant and vintage without trying too hard to be. 
 
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Leon adopts a ‘fast food’ discipline so the food was presented in boxes with disposable cutlery on trays making it suitable to dine in the restaurant itself or it bears the versatility to take it away.  Very much a canteen style of dining, we enjoyed the informality of it and the fact we were just being left to eat our order in peace rather than having the constant waiter/ess service.
I had: Sweet Potato Falafel Vegetable Mezze, fries with Tarragon Mayo and a Clean Green Shake.

Adela also had the fries with Tarragon mayo, Clean Green Shake but she had a Chicken Quinoa Salad.
 
Photo:  A Kobic

Although Adela anticipated hot chicken rather than chilled, it didn’t deter her enjoyment of it and it had a good, almost smoked flavour.  A varied dish which was given a fruity element c/o the pomegranate seeds.
 
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways
 
My mezze had variety with a mixture of textures and was filling, the hint of tarragon in the mayo gave a cool, herby contrast to the fries.
 
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

The Clean Green Shakes made us feel like we were ‘being good’ by counterbalancing the fries we were eating.  The shakes consist of a mix of avocado, spinach, apples, ginger, lemon and pear juice and consistency-wise, an equilibrium between smoothie and shake.
 
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

There were many vegetarian options on offer which made a nice change and it was a joy to have a number things to choose from instead of the usual one or two token items. 
 
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

The ‘meal deal’ offers are good value and with a variety of sides and drinks to choose from, it offers that pick ‘n’ mix element which is even better when there are more than one of you as, for example, as you can share different side orders.
 
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Adela felt Leon was almost like a Mediterranean Pret a Manger and I can kind of see what she meant as they have a similar stance of providing good food quickly.

Photo:  c/o Leon Website
 
We came away enjoying our experience at Leon and I would definitely go back when I’m in need of a quick, healthy meal whether that be here in Birmingham or elsewhere.  It’s in an ideal location for commuters who can buy and then go with a healthy meal in hand.  In fact, I’ve even recommended it to my work colleagues when they’re working away and are in search of good food with a quick turnaround - Leon can certainly do that.

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Disclosure:    This post has been written following a kind invitation from Leon Restaurants to sample their meal deal.  This review was conducted honestly without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review.  For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website.  **Our visit was a year ago, so all food descriptions are as of the 2016 menu.**.      
 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 



 

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