At Leon, we believe that food should taste good and do you good. When we looked around for inspiration, we were drawn to the richness, flavours and natural healthiness of Mediterranean cooking. We base our food around the Mediterranean diet, meaning our menu focuses on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seeds and unrefined cereals. We look to replace butter with healthier fats such as olive oil, use spices and herbs instead of salt to flavour dishes and look to encourage more chicken and fish in our diets, with a little red meat thrown in for good measure. We do also understand the need to have a treat, be it a glass of red wine or something sweet, but only as a small part of our diet.
Our overall view on nutrition is well summed up by Michael Pollan in his great book In Defence of Food: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants". A diet that follows these principles will be a good diet. We use natural ingredients and favour good fats and good carbs.
We work closely with our nutritionists Yvonne Bishop-Weston and Carole Symons to make sure that the overall menu offers options for everyone whether you're a hard exercising gym bunny or take a more sedentary approach to life.
We also use Children's Food Trust guidelines to help create a balanced and nutritious children's menu. During the development of our meal options for kids we focused on keeping sugar, salt and saturated fat to a minimum.
All our nutritional figures on the menu pages are provided as guidelines. They are all correct to the best of our knowledge but may vary occasionally with ingredient provenance and seasonality. We use a range of nutritional symbols to help you quickly identify the dishes we have on offer.
Low Saturated Fat
These dishes are low in saturated fat. Just as there are good carbs and bad carbs, so there are good and bad fats. Good fats such as olive oil, fishy fats, and the fats found in some vegetables (eg. avocado), in some seeds and nuts (and even goose fat) are now actively promoted as essential to health. Bad fats, such as most animal fats and other hard fats are still seen as potentially harmful. We mark dishes with less than 1.5% saturated fat with a heart, as the British Heart Foundation recommends. Note: there has been recent research to suggest that not all sat fat deserves the demonization it has received. We will be following developments on this closely.
Low Glycemic Load
We use the tick symbol to denote dishes that have a low Glycemic load. The GL refers to the extent to which a food raises ones blood sugar levels as it is digested. Initially, the concept became known as the Glycemic Index (GI) which measured food on a sugariness scale relative to glucose (which was given a score of 100) - all foods with a score above 50 were seen as bad news. More recently this has been modified to the idea of the Glycemic Load, which recognises the effect of the whole food not just how sugary the carbohydrate element of the food is. We give any dish wish a GL of 11 or under a tick.
All mammals, including man, need milk in infancy. As adults many of us lose the enzymes to digest milk and other dairy products. This can lead to poor digestion. Since the widespread use of milk by adult humans, some of us have developed the ability to retain the enzymes to break down milk, but many still have an intolerance.
For a number of reasons, wheat has become a problem for many people. Modern wheat is very different from traditional 'ancient' grains such as millet, spelt or kamut. It has been bred to be easier to harvest and higher yielding and now contains much more gluten than these traditional grains. Among other things, wheat can leave those intolerant to it feeling sluggish with flu-like symptoms.
At the extreme, gluten intolerance manifests itself in Coeliac disease. But many people without the disease now steer clear of gluten, which is becoming more common in our food.
These dishes are entirely meat-free. The secret to life is to be able to make vegetables taste good. Succeed in this and the world is yours. You will eat better, more cheaply, and stress out the planet a little less.
These dishes do not contain any animal products whatsoever. No dairy, no egg, no nothing. We are always looking to introduce new vegan treats, if you have any suggestions, do let us know.
These dishes have nuts in. We create many dishes that are nut free, and take segregation very seriously in the kitchens so that you can eat confidently with us. However, we cannot guarantee a nut free environment for those with severe allergies.
These are dishes that are a little bit naughty - high in sat fats, sugar, or salt. We don't recommend you have them everyday. We believe that treating yourself occasionally is important. Happy people are healthy people. Our treat items are clearly marked on our nutrition page, based on whether a dish contains more than any of the following: - 15% Sugar - 5% saturated fat - 1.5% Salt.
We have introduced an energy guide to help you quickly identify what kind of occasion this would be in calorie terms.
1 - Snack (Under 350)
2 - Light meal (250-500)
3 - Main meal (over 500)