Top critical review
35 people found this helpful
Style over Substance
on 30 January 2011
The subject of 'fast' food of late (ie. Nigella Express, Jamie's 30 Minute Meals) seems to be the zeitgeist of the moment and although I sometimes like to make an effort and cook a complex dish, more often than not I just want simple, delicious recipes I can knock up for the evening meal. I was not familiar with the Leon brand before purchasing the book but saw it in the book shop and was drawn in by the lovely cover and had a quick flick through and then ordered it as on a whim, as both the art design and the promise of 'healthy fast food' drew me in.
It is indeed beautifully produced with whimsy and nostalgia and the art design is absolutely genius. A beautifully produced book clearly written with love. However, as a cook book I am afraid I am exceptionally disappointed. The recipes are either oddly simple (Porridge with fruit?!) or obscure or random and dishes that just don't seem to be what a family would want out of a 'fast food' dinner (barbaqued squid?). So far, there are only a small handful of recipes I would ever make with a lot being 'Well, duh' and the others just not appealing. I was hoping for a slice of the clearly successful restaurant in a book and I don't think that's been achieved, instead, it's more a collection of trendy dishes provided by various trendy people (ie. Giles Coren). That's fine, but not what I bought the book for. It's also a very busy book (with one page even purposefully being printed upside down) that I found incredibly hard to follow and not well thought out when you're looking backwards and forwards between stirs.
If you love the look of a cook book and/or want a coffee table book, then this fits the bill, but if you want a book that will be well thumbed and provide a staple for your cooking I really doubt this is it. It's a classic case of style over substance and dare I say it, feels slightly smug and patronising.