Monday, 5 January 2015

Travelling with the dairy free 'Baby' - Leon at Heathrow Terminal 2

What a sight for sore eyes!

And the journey was only just about to begin! We were travelling to Zurich with Swiss Air. I already had an idea that Swiss Air couldn't fully accommodate my dietary requirements, and was relieved to locate Leon fairly quickly, on the lower concourse (by the way, Leon also have a restaurant at Terminal Three). 

An added benefit, we soon discovered, was the presence of a free soft play area, just around the corner!! Which gave me time and space to investigate further.

Difficult to miss this one!

I have to say this particular branch of Leon appeared popular - it was certainly busy!

Not living quite so near to London as we used to, it's been a while since I'd visited a Leon restaurant, so I was interested to see what I'd find. 

One thing I was pleased to see was that the boards behind counter indicated certain dietary requirements (i.e. 'gf' for gluten free and 'df' for dairy free) so you could see at a glance which meals might be suitable.

It was also great to see that Leon's almond milk milkshakes are still on the menu.

However there weren't that many food options open to me (both dairy and gluten free) that weren't spicy, and I wanted to avoid anything too exotic to ensure that my sensitive tummy had no reason to complain!

I could perhaps have opted for one of the salads, but so many modern salads stick Edamame beans in, which I can't eat as they're basically immature soya beans, so I didn't want to take that risk.

Look out for 'DF' on the menu displayed behind the counter.

In the end, I selected the gluten free 'Bunless Burger' (chicken burger without a bun - see here) and added a side of fries (see here). 

Dining DF and GF in the air, Leon style!

When I opened the box, it wasn't so much a burger as a juicy chunk of chicken - which was good, in that it was quite definitely chicken and not processed, but there wasn't much salad around it so it really did require the extra side order of fries to bulk it out and make it more filling. 

Personally speaking, I thought £5.95 for the 'chicken burger' was a bit on the pricey side, but The Hub just shrugged and pointed out that it was 'London prices!'

This is it!

As it turned out, the fries were quite spicy. So 'Baby', normally quite the chip monster, decided against them - leaving me to reflect that none of the menu at Terminal Two was particularly suited to children (unless they enjoy spicy food and have a more sophisticated palate). Their normal children's menu looks like this, see here.

The same went for the almond cookie, which I bought to follow (see here). It was the only gluten and dairy free biscuit/cake type thing that I could see available. I quite liked it, but the slight hint of orange was not appealing to my particular little one.

That said, Leon's clientele are perhaps (more usually) hip young professionals, who enjoy food that's a bit different!

The almond cookie came in a candy-stripe bag

In summary, Leon's food was infinitely preferable to the food served by the cabin crew - it was such a relief to find something that was safe for me to eat and it was tasty. However, costing over £10 in total (I also bought a cold drink) I'm not sure that I really felt that I had value for money, and as there was nothing there that appealed to 'Baby', it meant that she had no other option than the food on the plane. 

BUT if it wasn't for Leon I would quite definitely have gone hungry, so I really hope they continue to prove popular at Heathrow, as I'm sure a lot of people like me will benefit greatly from their presence!

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  1. That's great news Leon are now at Heathrow! Am I reading this correctly that they don't offer the children's menu there? The twins love the Leon kids boxes.

    1. Hi Sian!

      I'm afraid I didn't see the kid's menus there, but then I was on tenterhooks, as I was about to hop on the airplane! It may be that in renting the area from Heathrow they're limited regarding kitchen space or whatever. OR I may have missed something!!


  2. Last time I was in London (last year for the Allergy Show) I had fully intended to stop by a Leon for lunch or early dinner, but ran out of time, so it's great to see a full review of the experience at one. I'm loving the look of those fries! Something very different for us coeliacs. And as I understand it, their food is famous for being of the healthier variety, so it's great to see there's an option for that in a major London airport! Though I do agree, it sounds as though there could be more done to provide options for kids. Still, all very interesting. Hope you have a good time in Zurich!

    1. Definitely worth popping in, but, sadly, I don't think there are any near Olympia. Would be great if they'd do a 'pop-up' style one at the Allergy Show itself! Oo! Now there's an idea... I might just pitch it to them ;)

  3. Good to hear about safer traveling with options. I live in the US and would love to take my food allergic children to Europe

    1. Yes, I love hearing about other people's experiences of travelling with food allergies - helps one to realise the possibilities that are out there, but also how good we have it at home! I've heard good things of both Spain and Italy, but not yet checked those out for myself.... one day!!! :)

  4. It might be worth clarifying for this post with Leon's Twitter account. In a few of their restos the kids menu is not up on the board - you have to ask for the paper copy (they give coloured pencils for for the kids to draw on the menus). But they do a kids menu nonetheless. The twins love both the griddles chicken box and the fish fonget box. Both come with rice and broccoli and I have to credit Leon with getting my fussy eater son to eat broccoli. He tried it for the first time at Leon in his kids box and now he eats loads of it!

    1. Ah thanks, Sian! I didn't know that - definitely worth knowing for another time!! LOVE that Leon got your LO to eat broccoli. Wish that would work for mine!! xx