What is Leggero?
Leggero is the *only* 100% Gluten Free Italian Restaurant in London. There was once another and it was wonderful and it was La Polenteria. La Polenteria is no more because it is now Leggero!
Leggero is an evolution of La Polenteria with the same ownership and team and same Covent Garden location. The changes are the new name, new concept, new menu and a precious few additional tables. Not *enough* tables. I think the number of people desiring to eat there at any time is always equal to the number of tables +1, but now that number is higher. More happy diners, hooray!
Leggero Free From Menu
La Polenteria was also 100% Gluten Free and many of the dishes were centered around polenta – the Italian cornbread. The Leggero menu takes inspiration from the English meaning of Leggero – ‘Light’ – by offering greater diversity including several lighter dishes. There are now four salad dishes, new mains, and new desserts. Baba Ghanoush (aubergine dip) makes an appearance.
If you have eaten at La Polenteria before fear not, there are new desserts, but the gluten free Tiramisu remains. This shows that the owners are aware that they *MUST NOT* ever remove or run out of gluten free Tiramisu. Terrible things would happen. Terrible things.
Being 100% gluten free is fantastic. For those that must eat gluten free it is so rare, and such a treat, to look at a menu from which you can have anything and everything. Leggero goes much further than gluten free though. There are dishes suitable for vegans and dishes free from egg, milk, nuts & soy. Leggero very clearly indicates what allergens are present in each dish on their online and in-house menus, making it so easy to see which dishes are suitable. Please, other restaurants reading this, flatter Leggero by imitating this practice.
Another menu feature to welcome is the inclusion of small plates. Great if you only want something lighter. Great if you are determined to leave room for dessert. Great if you want to experience the flavours of multiple dishes.
Featuring prominently within many of the main dishes currently on the menu is the Leggero homemade sorghum pasta. Sorghum has nutritionals similar to quinoa, a very slightly sweet taste, great texture for pasta, and easy digestibility. So a good choice.
Leggero Food to Die For?
I must first enthuse about the homemade Leggero Foccacia Bread. Bread does not interest me very much. I often read about how delighted others are when a venue has gluten free bread. I understand but have no interest in the bland combination of the usual starches (rice, corn, tapioca, potato) that this usually means. I prefer to skip the bread and enjoy more flavoursome things.
Leggero’s hemp foccacia bread is laced with olives, artichokes and sundried tomatoes and sprinkled with sea salt crystals. It is the most gorgeous bread I have eaten. I am sure it is not just a *great* gluten free bread but instead simply great bread. It has just one regrettable characteristic. Enjoy too much of it and there may be no room left for dessert. Remember, Tiramisu awaits.
After attending a wonderful launch night at which I sampled London’s tiniest Tiramisu and smallest, cutest Almond & Orange Cake I returned for lunch in order to experience some of the new dishes.
I began with a Courgette spaghetti with hummus and tomato salad dish. Fresh, crispy courgette spirals lightly seasoned with basil, crunchy pine nuts and crushed nuts and creamy hummus. Crispy, crunchy, creamy and light.
For a main I enjoyed Sorghum Pasta on a bed of rich, creamy avocado & asparagus puree, topped with egg and pecorino cheese. With each bite, avocado flavor arrived first, followed by the cheese and egg. Together with the soft pasta the overall mouthfeel is adorable. This dish also offers a great balance of protein, fats and carbs unlike many pasta dishes.
Leggero, Bring Me Dessert!
And now for the Tiramisu . . . but wait, no! New on the menu was a Vegan Mango & Raspberry Cheesecake. This was duly ordered. For science.
Don’t visualise a conventional New York style cheesecake. Instead imagine a charming pot of luxuriously thick, cheesecake flavoured cream. Add a base made from dates, nuts and seeds. Top it off with a vibrantly flavoursome fruit topping. This is another ‘lighter’ option. I might need to try it a dozen or so times to be absolutely sure I like it a lot.
No allergies or intolerances? Go here anyway, enjoy the great food and service.
Eating gluten free? Prepare for the tyranny of delicious choices. Make this one of your favourites.
You or your companions avoiding multiple allergens? Leggero offers a range of dishes to suit many preferences and needs.
Try the foccacia bread. I do not believe there is better. Sample some small plates and salads. Try the sorghum pasta. Fail to leave room for dessert. Return. Try again!