I love Leon. I still remember the first time I visited Leon
on a trip to London and hoping, eventually, they would expand outside of London as they already had 20+ outlets around the London area.
A year or so after that they opened an outlet in Birmingham, slowly moving further up the country and closer to me, while Birmingham isn't exactly the furthest from me I was still hoping for a Manchester branch.
Chicken Satay on a bed of brown rice from Leon
Last year my dreams came true when they opened a branch in the Trafford Centre followed by one right outside Piccadilly station in Manchester City Centre.
Despite being fairly local I haven't had chance to visit until last week, though I have been a few other branches in London since visiting the Strand branch back in 2014
, and they have all been amazing, Kensington, Brent's Cross and Leicester Square all included...I just hoped the Manchester one lived up to the London branches.
Last week I went for a trip to Manchester and decided to eat at Leon and took my Mum for the first time who is also on a gluten free diet.
Leon are a fast food outlet, like McDonalds, but much healthier, their motto always used to be natural, healthy fast food, so everything comes in recyclable containers and with plastic cutlery. You can eat in or out too, we chose to eat in but struggled getting a seat, the place was packed with business people grabbing a quick lunch and there were loads of people waiting to order. However none of that was an issue at all.
Chicken and Chorizo salad box from Leon
The menu at Leon is clearly labelled with what is gluten free, dairy free, nut free, vegan etc and it is also all listed online. When it comes to gluten free. really the only things at lunch times which aren't safe to eat are anything with bready products, so burgers and wraps. All the hot boxes, salads, sides etc are gluten free (they have started to do a gluten free breakfast box with sausages in at breakfast too!). We both chose different boxes, I ordered a Chicken Satay and my Mum had a Chicken Chorizo Salad and we had a side of baked fries to split between us.
The beauty of Leon is nothing is deep fried, the chips are baked and clearly labelled gluten free, they even have a southern fried type coating. I've checked multiple times these are safe and they definitely are, all baked and nothing else is baked with them.
In terms of price, it's a tad more expensive than normal fast food, for two meals and two drinks we spent £17, so around £8.50 per person, which I don't think it too bad really, not when you are getting good, wholesome food for it anyway.
Baked fries from Leon
The hot boxes/salads are all well labelled and in all the branches I have visited I have barely had to even say I need gluten free, when I have they are always so knowledgeable and reassuring, the same went for this branch.
Despite being very busy, we got our food hot and within minutes, pity they same can't be said at other fast food places!
Both our dishes were delicious, my Chicken Satay had a bed of brown rice and a cabbage and pea salad type thing with it, topped with the most delicious chicken with a satay sauce, all in a cardboard box so you can eat on the go too, delicious filling food you can eat on the move, absolutely fantastic and it tastes amazing too. It's not easy to get good food to eat on the go that is gluten free!
I mentioned my Mum went for the first time too, well she had the Chicken and Chorizo Salad which was a bed of quinoa, peas, broccoli and avocado with chicken and chorizo and a chilli sauce, she said straight after finishing it "I could eat that again" and she doesn't say that very often so it must have been good!
Leon also do a selection of cakes and biscuits, now most of them are gluten free but there are one or two which aren't and they are in the same cabinet as the others. I've chatted to them a couple of times about this and always told the same thing, they use separate tongues and utensils for each different cake and biscuit and the none gluten free ones are always kept on the back so they aren't lifted over the gluten free one and they are always kept well apart so they don't touch.
I've had a few different cakes and biscuits from there before but didn't have one this time. They also have a few wrapped options including popcorn and some bars which were gluten free.
I do love Leon, it is so fast and convenient, amazing wholesome food and the staff are always fab, not been a bad one yet and I've visited my fair share. Now there is one much closer than London I hope to visit more frequently and I hope they grow even more, there is certainly a space in the market for a healthy fast food outlet, I know if there was one in my town, I'd be there everyday!