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Leon (Restaurant)

Picture of Leon in Soho, London

35-36 Great Marlborough Street, Carnaby Street, Soho, London, W1F 7JE
Cuisine: International Average Price: £25.00
Tel: 020 7437 5280 | Email to Leon | Transport: Oxford Circus | Write review

Leon Review

Looks can be deceiving and Leon certainly falls into this category. The small counter of the Carnaby Street branch is squashed between an O’Neill’s and a clothes shop and looks, well, like a fast food diner. Out of all the joints in central London, I’ve been sent here. I take a deep breath, walk past the counter and stand patiently at the ‘please wait here to be seated’ sign. I’m brought down a narrow walkway that embraces the kitchen with far too much closeness at this stage of the evening as my expectations continue to run wild at the pokey experience that awaits me. I find out very quickly, however, that observations can change one’s perception very quickly.

Observation number 1: Leon and the grandfather.
Leon follows a concept of being a grandfather. Looking around, this is clear and uniquely expressed around the restaurant. Photos of a young Leon with his children and grandchildren are found on the walls alongside posters of yester-year advertising as the restaurant is shown in all its glory from its baby days. This stylish and chic gesture encapsulates Leon’s fifties retro-ness with menus featuring an innocence of a simpler life. Oh, and there’s a newspaper article about Leon in the toilet. Class at its best, if nothing else.

Observation number 2: Leon and the living room.
Photographs aside, the restaurant area itself is, er, homely. Each wooden dining table is reminiscent of its coffee counterpart and the dimmed lampshades and almost wallpaper effect make it just like somebody’s front room. The only thing missing is an LCD TV but that may take the whole effect a step too far. Seats are rather crammed; one has to literally slide across (or end up on) the neighbouring table when heading toward the toilet or the exit. But I guess that’s what homes are generally like. Or at least flats in London anyway.

Observation number 3: Leon and the sharer.
So, the food: Leon is a sharing family and that concept continues to the table. The menu offers soups, salads and wraps, but for dinner the grazing dishes bring together groups and their taste buds. Three to four grazing and sides should do the trick. The Moroccan meatballs (which Ramsay says are ‘amazing’ and I agree) are ordered with aioli chicken for tantalising tastes of garlic, yoghurt and chilli. Dish of the day, lamb Rogan Josh, is a surprisingly tender taster with sides of flatbreads and lemon brown rice complementing the food nicely. The serving concept is also quite kitsch as a mesh of smaller bowls and a serving board are the perfect invitation to steal or share food (choose who you dine with wisely).

Observation number 4: Leon and the beverage.
The power smoothie is the beverage of choice by day but by night, I go vintage. Ordering a sweet Italian red, the tipple is refreshing but reminds me far too much of my university days as the student tumbler is identical to my water goblet. No wine glasses in this living room then, hey granddad?

Observation number 5: Leon and the Carnaby Street factor.
Leon’s homely experience continues with it being the only branch in London with table service. Fit for any queen (and I am quite picky when it comes to food), a helpful smattering of table orders see staff responding to the raising of arms. Score. No need to place an order at the counter to make it fairly fast food (see prior reference to the counter). However, speed and length of an arm may have to be taken into consideration, as there is a danger of hitting someone in the face.

Leon is home grub at its best, costing two people a mere £40 for plates and wine. Whether for the photos, the food or the music, Leon's delectable taste and unique atmosphere offers a different experience every time. So just grab a tumbler, a plate or a sharer and enjoy a home away from home – even if he isn’t your grandfather.
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Customer Reviews for Leon

Average (based on 1 votes): 1 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Leon.

“Went there with a friend when I was visiting London. Thought the food was pretty good (especially the meatballs) and the smoothies were excellent. One of the waitresses was a bit stroppy though. And it does look a bit small from the outside, so I was relieved when we got in and saw all the space behind the kitchen.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Liam Ring, Nottingham (8 years 5 months 18 days ago)

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Additional Information

  • Cuisine Type: International
  • Average Price: £25.00
  • Dress Code: Not Specified
  • Group: Leon

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Venue ID: 19392

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Loved

"My Gulascheintopf war perfekt and so was the Weissbier. I was in Kingston Steins. I do have a few suggestions for decor and table. 1. you need a little jar of toothpicks on the table to get meat out from..." Which venue is this?

Hated

"My Gulascheintopf war perfekt and so was the Weissbier. I was in Kingston Steins. I do have a few suggestions for decor and table. 1. you need a little jar of toothpicks on the table to get meat out from..." Which venue is this?

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