Rating: ★★★★☆

Address: 24 Cambridge Circus, WC2H 8AA

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7836 3500

Léon de Bruxelles is a restaurant specialised in mussels and other traditional Belgian dishes. It first opened in Paris in 1989 and has now developed into a chain of 69 restaurants, the majority of which are in France.

The first London branch is now opened in Cambridge Circus. On a Friday night, after we had been told that we would have to wait for 2-3 hours for a table at Burger and Lobster (Mayfair) which doesn’t take bookings, a friend who used to frequent the chain in Paris suggested coming here instead.

The restaurant was unexpectedly empty, given that it was a Friday night and the restaurant was directly opposite the Singing’ in the Rain musical theatre!

After being seated, the waiter told us that there was a 50% discount on all mussels on the menu. This deal was clearly not sufficiently marketed, and as an ardent Toptable lover, I find it such a pity that they don’t advertise this on Toptable! If you decide to visit the restaurant, do try your luck and call to ask if the deal is still on!

(1) There are 10 types of mussels on the menu to choose from, and the photo below shows the Léon mussels which are cooked in a creamy sauce of white wine & crème fraiche with celery & shallots, and served with a portion of frites. Not sure if you can tell from this photo, but the portion was massive and the mussels were fresh and authentically prepared!

(2) The waiter recommended the Chef’s special –  aubergine lasagna to us. Freshly baked and completely covered in melted cheese, the lasagna was absolutely delicious.

(3) Unfortunately, this eagerly anticipated Grand-Pere Léon’s waffle, served with vanilla ice-cream, home-made chocolate sauce and whipped cream, turned out to be a disappointment. As the waffle was not freshly made, it was served cold and has become hard and crispy.  Just forget those hot, buttery, syrup-coated waffles you get in Brussels, as you certainly won’t find them here! Also try not to order the Banana Split Waffle as they only give you 3 pathetic little pieces of banana!

At least my beer-loving friends found console in a bottle of cold Belgian beer after the disheartening dessert. As for myself, nothing could have stopped me from devouring the beautiful vanilla ice-cream and the large dollop of whipped cream!