"It's not much but it's ours"

Friday, June 16, 2006


I really don’t you know? Whatever people think, I really don’t head out every night to eat crappy food and over pay for it. I really truly don’t. It just happens.

One of my chums, a food reviewer for someone famous, warned me that once I started trying to do reviews in any proper fashion, I would end up eating more crappy meals than good. How right they were.

The first time Hermano Primero and I ate at Leon it was the first branch in Carnaby St which had received reviews so bizarrely favourable that I suspected that the owner had Polaroids of the nationals reviewers pleasuring each other at one of their “secret” dinners with a wide variety of root vegetables.

Was it any good? Not really. I really didn’t get it then and have felt no need to return ever since.

However, in the interest of finding somewhere new to try, I pondered upon the new ( third, I think ) branch of Leon in Spitalfield and HP offered to tag along in support.

It sits alongside Giraffe and Canteen and, when we arrived, they had only been open little over 24 hours. That’s no excuse though and so, they must perish in the first burst of fire.

This was a very bad meal hampered by hapless if sweet service. There was nothing about it that gave evidence of good ingredients cooked properly and served efficiently. Quite the opposite.

We arrived a little after 7pm and the place was packed but, did manage to squeeze ourselves into a small table outside. We got our menus, quite charmingly hidden between the pages of Children’s annuals from the 1970’s ( in my case Asterix and in the case of HP, Dr Who – the only thing that made us smile in the whole meal ) there was lots on there that sounded quite nice and we ordered a wide selection of Mezze and a couple of dishes from the main courses.

Shamefully for them, there seemed to be more things off the menu than on. Most bizarrely, the Rose we ordered to drink. So, it’s a nice hot day in the City, they didn’t think anyone would be that keen on Rose so they only ordered enough for two services. Stupidy, stupidy, stupid. So we went for a slightly noxious Tourraine and a bottle of Cruzcampo to share.

The Mezze arrived all at once. Quite frankly, they were no better than those we have at The Angel Mangal. Decent Chorizo, Stringy meatballs, lumpen Sweet potato falafel and truly disgusting Halumi which could easily have been used for roofing purposes.

The clueless waitress had forgotten to order our main course which, given the quality of the food we had eaten should have been a blessing, but we pressed on and they finally brought it out. They really need not have bothered. The mixed grill was the poorest example of the species I have ever encountered and that includes eating at a Little Chef. Two miserable grey lamb cutlets that needed a microscope to see, a few oily bits of chicken and some gloopy rice. This was as bad a dish as I have had since I went to Gilgamesh, well three days ago. A side dish of “superfood” salad was a parsimonious mix of badly cooked greens and sprouts.

We wanted to leave and rushed to get our bill. Along it came and they asked me to join them inside because the machine was not working. The bill was a massive £58.78 for two including service and VAT. I offered up £35 in cash and asked them to put the rest on the card. Panic ensued and a five minute wait followed. When I asked what the problem was, they said they were looking for the calculator to figure out what the amount was to put on the card. Just to remind you.

Total Bill - £58.78
Cash - £35.00
Amount on Card - ££23.78

This simple equation was, it appeared quite beyond the staff at Leon. Young people, thick as a Ghurka’s foreskin or what?

When I finally managed to pay, we just wanted out and out fast.

This is the second time I have eaten at Leon. The first time I thought there was no reason to return. The second time I feel that the only way you would get me to sit in that place again was to staple my nuts to the seat.

Chalk another one down to the crappy meal column
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a shame to hear you had just a bad experience. The Leon on Ludgate Hill is excellent for a pre-work breakfast or a quick lunch. I agree we're not talking Michel Bras, but it serves the purpose a darned sight more than anything else in the vicinity.

Monday, June 19, 2006 11:45:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too am mystified by the great reviews this place gets. Our humuos tasted like they had forgotten to put garlic and tahini in it. Our waiter explained charmingly that a lot of people say that but that is how the cook makes it.
The rest of the food was not a patch on Green Lanes and double the price.

Friday, June 22, 2007 1:30:00 pm  

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