there were a few firsts for my blog this weekend; the first time i'd been to a leon, reviewed fast food and been to a departure gate without jetting off somewhere sunny. for i was trying out the menu over at the newly opened restaurant and takeaway in east midlands airport. with my "imagine you're going on holiday but don't get too jealous that you're not" head on, i set about sampling the delights of naturally fast food.
as a very nervous flyer, a delicious meal in a comfortable environment is a must at an airport. i hadn't been on a plane for three years until this may, for which i insisted on spending my waiting time in departures sipping on prosecco and nibbling on sushi. call me high maintenance, but it really helped.
i'm sure you'll agree, a meal at an airport needs to be ordered as simply as possible, arrive in haste and yet appear relaxed, fun and fresh. not always easy. since in a matter of hours you're probably going to be on a beach in a bikini, it makes it all the better when the menu is mostly healthy, too.
as you can see, leon has a clean and contemporary layout, with a few homely, mediterranean inspired accessories thrown in. i have to say, i was quite taken by the table tops.
to drink we ordered fresh lemonade and peach & white tea, a soothingly refreshing drink for a hot weekend.
as promised, our food arrived promptly. this was the point where i'd almost forgotten my food was going to arrive on a tray. i instantly fell in love with the quirky packaging, yet at the same time wondered how i was going to make a tray of food look pretty in a photograph. i just wanted to arrange it all on a beautiful white plate! i reminded myself that on the scale of fast food presentation, their designers are pretty top notch.
it turns out their chefs are pretty top notch too. upon opening the box, i unveiled a colourful combination of chargrilled chicken, chorizo and glistening red peppers resting on a broccoli and green leaf salad. as this was chicken thigh, the meat was tender and the flavours just sang! i felt the spanish chorizo portion was really generous too and lived up to expectations as a classic chicken and chorizo combination.
i also had their super crunchy fresh slaw to accompany, which is made up of red and savoy cabbage, peas, sesame dressing and herbs. i could definitely detect some lemon and mint in there which made it taste extra fresh. for me though, it could have done with more dressing of some kind, so we stirred some of the sour cream through to smooth it up.
sam enjoyed the fish finger wrap and baked fries, which is made from sustainable cod fillet, sliced pickle, cos lettuce and their own tartare sauce. it went down rather well... and i was very happy they took the time to source sustainable fish too.
oh yes, time for that little space i saved for dessert. sam opted for pecan pie, whilst i was lucky enough to sample their better brownie and billionaire's shortbread. (what... i had a salad... plus i'd walked at least ten minutes from my car...)
first up was the billionaire's shortbread, which delivered a smooth and fudge like chocolate topping, oozing caramel and a very crumbly base. the shortbread was very short, and very messy, but i'm going to say it was worth it. the brownie, which is gluten free, was made with orange oil and nuts giving it a hint of chocolate orange with a divine chewy texture.
the one thing i was a little disappointed about was the presentation. although the candy pink stripe bag was cute, i was expecting more of a printed paper plate or a pretty napkin for my messy chops. that said, it's always great not to see a waste of packaging too.
there were a few leon recipe books to get you inspired on the way out too. having seen their full restaurant menu, available in mostly london based venues, i love the look of their fancy burgers and extensive range of side dishes. they also do breakfast and "the bits inbetween."
i actually really enjoyed my light lunch at leon. naturally fast food is definitely the way forward for a speedy, seasonal, sustainable and super tasty meal. they make fast food, good food. although it would have been nice if i was jetting off on holiday afterwards...
find out more at leon restaurants ♥
you'll find the east midlands airport leon in departures, to the right of the check in desks.
note: i was invited to sample a complimentary lunch at leon. all opinions are honest and my own.