Gluten free guide to London

Gluten Free Dining at Leon Restaurant

When I worked for a few months out in the Canary Wharf office, I went to Leon sometimes for lunch to pick up a gluten free salad. That branch was always crazy busy and there were never any seats free so I didn’t have the chance to eat in the restaurant. I’d simply collect my gluten free salad and head back to the office to enjoy at my desk. I always kind of wished I could eat in though, I wanted to see what other diners were eating. I’m nosey like that.

So one day when I was having a cultural afteroon at the Tate Modern I decided to nip to the Leon branch tucked behind the gallery on Bankside for lunch.

I was impressed with the menu boards over the counter which clearly displayed the allergy information for each menu option. The menu itself contained many gluten free options for lunch. There was also a separate kids menu.

On the counter in front of me were a number of sweet treats including a brownie and pecan pie which were labelled gluten free. These were not individually wrapped so you might want to check if they have wrapped versions of these if you are concerned about cross contamination.

The only downside for me was that I couldn’t actually see what any of the dishes looked like before choosing. You order from the Leon menu over the counter, pay and then your food arrives. Being a bit of a ‘visual’ person this proved a bit difficult for me.

Undeterred, I chose the BBQ Chicken. The box says grilled chicken (another menu option) but I think they used the wrong box since the description of BBQ Chicken matched what I received.

I rarely find BBQ sauce which is gluten free and it was for this reason I chose the dish. The Leon website is really informative and lists every item contained in each dish. Check out the BBQ Chicken ingredients here, for example.

So how did it taste? All of the dish’s ingredients tasted fresh and flavoursome. The BBQ sauce was deliciously smoky. I was really happy to find a little smattering of gherkins. How tastes change, eh? I can remember picking gherkins out of burgers as a kid but now I love them! Like the BBQ sauce, I rarely eat gherkins so another unexpected and rare treat.

I chose the BBQ Chicken as part of a Leon meal deal which included a fresh lemonade and a side of corn off the cob.

When I got home I spent some time reading Leon’s excellent website. I was particularly interested and impressed with the information on the Sustainability page.

Where: Leon have 9 branches in London. See website here for locations. There are also a further 2 Leons at Brent Cross and Bluewater shopping centres.

Cost: Very reasonable. I paid £ 8.10 for BBQ Chicken, a side of corn off the cob and a zingy fresh lemonade.

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