A Chinatown restaurant offering great-value Taiwanese, Cantonese and Sichuan cuisine.
Please note this restaurant has now closed. A larger Leong Legend has now opened on Gerrard St. Time Out Food & Drink Editors, Oct 2016.
Chinatown is tricky territory. For every belter of a restaurant there’s one with a chef outside, smoking a fag and picking his nose (true story). Leong’s Legends, a noodle’s whip from Shaftesbury Avenue, is one of the good ones.
First impressions are a little imposing, with a hefty door firmly closed and a note demanding you knock. On our visit, the belated, lacklustre welcome got us nicely in the mood for service that never really deviated from world-weary and abrupt. Still, staff moved around the rustic, atmospheric teahouse surrounds (think dark woods, chunky tables and carved latticework) with the kind of charmless efficiency that gets jobs done.
Deference to the diner comes, instead, from the kitchen. Leong’s Legend bills itself as Taiwanese but the menu is peppered mostly with dishes from the mainland – think dim sum, crispy aromatic duck, kung pao prawns and stir-fried green beans with minced pork. Our advice? Be bold. It pays to be adventurous here.
We went large on offal. Beef tendons (£6), served cold in a sweet, spicy oil ran the gamut between tough and chewy and tender – and were great for it – while a pig’s trotter noodle soup (£9) was a rich, deep and dark broth bobbing with melting meat and sweet, soft sinew. A slightly thin oyster noodle soup with chopped pork intestine (£7.50) was marginally less impressive but still enjoyable. Portion sizes here are very generous – two of us struggled to finish a starter and two mains.
The slightly surly service might grate with some but when the food and prices are this good, it’s all easy to ignore. Take an appetite and a pinch of patience and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a solid Chinatown spot offering value by the bucket-load. And note: there's another branch, with largely the same menu but slight variations in pricing, in nearby Lisle Street.
|Venue name:||Leong's Legends||Contact:|
4 Macclesfield Street
|Opening hours:||Daily noon-11pm.|
|Transport:||Tube: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus tube|
|Price:||Main courses £4.50-£18.50. Dim sum £1.90-£6.50|
|Do you own this business?|
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Average User Rating
3 / 5
- 5 star:10
- 4 star:9
- 3 star:6
- 2 star:5
- 1 star:11
What a horrid establishment! I can't believe some of these people really think this place is good or even OK! And if any of these say 5 stars, then they must have been employees or paid! Lets start with the very beginning. My boyfriend and I live in London - not tourists, but felt like doing something fun and going for some interesting late lunch in Chinatown. we walked in what SEEMED a tiny, cozy establishment, where we Were not greeted, just shown a table, menus thrown at us and pen given without any explanation. Then we figured we should check down the items that we wanted to order (needless to say we had questions about the menu which were not answered, our staff - the only male in the 5 chattering female company- told me that dumplings and dim sum is the same thing, he also told me that dim sum is only made of pork and other ridiculous things, afterwards I asked him how long he has been working there and he laughingly expressed: 3 days - wooo hoo did we get lucky!) I ask - how can an establishment like that even stay open and how do they still have customers! Rule that I forgot to remember - always check out the bathrooms before sitting for dinner!!! Awh...after an appaling dinner where we did not eat half of our food, we were not even asked why, I decided to use the loo before leaving....ahhh...I almost vomited, how dirty and unkept it was, so left as soon as opened the door without using it. This whole experience was one of the most horrific I have ever experienced.My soup looked like out of fear factor and the rice was all one big clump like in a cheap hospital....And in my opinion all the staff was horrific as the girls all the time stood in the back room chatting in their own language and laughing and the boy who served us did not know what the hell he was serving. The only thing we ate was the mango custard (which the waiter, if you can call him that, took out of the fridge in front of our eyes and shouted loudly 5 times - mango, mango????? as if reassuring this yellow thing was a mango custard!!! Ahhhh, oh and did I mention it was my birthday and we were out for a simple late lunch!!!???? NEVER GO THERE!!!!! London is too full of great places to eat at and this is certainly not one of them!
Just shows the power of the customer review. Pretty consistent with the poor reviews. Our experience was similar to most with the addition of a couple of things... Having to knock to get in, really? that's not quirky or oddly interesting. The decor too reminded me of a medieval knight show from one Disney World holiday. We had some dim sum, one of which (can't remember the name) I had to send back as the smell of rotten fish was awful that even the table next to us commented. I'd also ordered a 'chicken casket' I can't believe this is typical food of any country. It's a deep fried bread box (with lid) filled with thick chicken and vegetable soup. I would also agree with Isabel P regarding their xiao long bao, they're pretty crap. Better to head to Camden to Yum Cha for those.
The inconsistent reviews here point to an essential truth about LL: it is indeed inconsistent, and in some respects can be very annoying. Slow service is the biggest complaint. Even when the place is not busy you can spend an inexplicable long time waiting for menu/food/table-clearance/bill. Waiting staff are simply not interested in making sure you have a pleasant experience. So this is not a place I would ever recommend for a fun evening out. What I would recommend it for is a lunch, when you're not pressed for time. Their one-pot dishes, especially noodle soup, can be excellent. And if you're a lover of offal, you'll be well satisfied. Give it a try – just don't expect too much!
After years of searching for soup dumplings (xiao long bao) ie. dumplings with the soup INSIDE them, here they are. The broth is delicious and the dumplings are light and fresh. There's two classic types on the menu here, but veggies or non-pork eaters might want to go around the corner to Dumplings Legend where they have chicken and vegetable ones. Just be careful to catch the broth in your spoon when you bite into them.
This restaurant is not as nice as it used to be, my friends and I used to go there a lot for a meal after work, but the last time we went there, all the food we ordered tasted horrible and the portions were very small and over salted. It is tiny space inside, thats why you may see there is a queue outside.
Ate their this evening. A very disappointing experience. The quality of food was extremely poor, ingredients were not fresh and the food was not well cooked. We asked the waiter for fresh chilli to accompany our meal only to be told that the kitchen only uses dried chilli in its dishes!! That says it all really! The waitress attempted to clear our table before we had finished eating. One redeeming feature, you can if you wish consume your own alcohol...
I loved the food, the hot soy milk is spectacular and also fell in love with the waitress too! She looked like she belongs to a Manga! :) Fair priced too! I would even say cheap!
Went there expecting good things. Waited for about 20 minutes (to be expected for a friday night). The food was average and service was perfunctory. We were brought the bill (which we didn't ask for) as soon as we finished our food but the real low came when we were asked to leave our table because there were people waiting to be seated-just rude. Definitely would never go back.
Ate there several weeks ago and thought it was excellent - good xaio yung baio, pork buns etc washed down with terrific Chinese tea. Get there before one on a Sunday lunch and you'll get a seat but may have to queue if later. A great find and nice service.
We went for lunch on Sunday and had an excellent meal. Enjoyed the xaio young bao, the pork buns and the Taiwanese kebab a lot washed down with Chinese tea, and a nice mango pudding. The service was perfectly fine and friendly and although when we arrived at just before 1 we easily got a table by the time we left there were long queues. Highly recommended and good value.
I would give this place negative stars if I could. I'm Chinese so I know what I should expect. I've been here 4 times in total. 1st visit the food was nice, 2nd and 3rd visit it was not as nice, by my 4th visit tonight I found the food so disgusting I can say I'd never come here again. I ordered the oyster omelette on each visit but there's been no consistency in the quality of the dish on each visit. By the 4th visit they served the dish with some phlegm like goop which I found difficult to swallow. I felt like vomiting with every bite I took. I don't care too much about service but at least make it up with good food or even consistent quality food.
This place has excellent food. The Xiao Long Bao is almost as good as Din Tai Fung. I feel a bit more could be added to the menu. Sick of hearing these reviews from Brits and others - I know you're not used to it, but this is what Asian service is like. Stop giving the restaurant 1 star because you weren't made to feel like a King or Queen. I understand that people dine out for the full experience - but I'm afraid that's exactly what you're getting, the full Asian experience.
This is my favourite restaurant in London - the food is to die for especially the Siu Long Bau... the Pork Belly has the nicest sauce.... I could go on and on but won't! I highly recommend this restaurant in teh heart of China town and if you fancy something different from the same old menu's of the Chinese Restuarants this is for you!
I popped in here on the strength of the Timeout review whilst shopping for groceries in Chinatown. Heading for Manchurian Legends across the street but it was shut, so it was no bother as this place was next choice on my list. I had noted the very negative reviews, and Ive certainly had my fair share of very poor experiences in Chinatown restaurants, so i had mixed expectations. It was a Wednesday afternoon and there were only 3 tables of diners, one western and 2 parties of Chinese people. I can appreciate and usually expect pretty unfriendly service from Chinatown restaurants, but i was greeted with a smile by a young girl, and a lad showed me to a table. I asked to be moved to a window seat and it was no trouble at all. Im very familiar with Cantonese and Szechuan cooking but Taiwanese is totally new to me and I havent seen half the things on the menu and so asked for explanations. The lad was very helpful and actually quite good humoured, and even told me how to eat the items i asked about. Perhaps theyve been reading reviews, since there was no sign at all of the usualy surliness. There was also a lot of banter between the Chinese diners at two different tables and the waitresses and I got the impression that they were regular customers as they seemed very chatty. I had skipped breakfast and wasnt expecting to get time to eat again, so i was ravenous. First i ordered the xiao long bao, assuming that soup dumplings were dumplings in soup, and was totally surprised that they were dumplings with soup inside. Ive never had them before so havent a benchmark to compare, but they were lovely. A soup of partridge, duck and winkle which was a lovely rich broth with large chunks of said meats, although the winkles were actually whelks, which is no bad thing. Also there were wolf berries and what i presumed to be preserved date. Altogether a nice warming bowl, well received considering it was a cold and wet July afternoon. Braised pork belly was an aromatic lipsmacking mix of meat and well rendered fat, and a pork bun (i forget the name of it) was expected to be a morsel but came out as a hamburger size and pillow soft white bun filled with beautifully tender BBQ pork and preserved greens. I like little surprises like this when eating somewhere new; it wasnt quite what i expected but i was very happy and very well fed. Together with a bottle of beer it set me back £20. Perhaps a bit extravagant for one persons lunch, but it was three meals in one after all. I would definitely go back.
Popped along to here, randomly on a weekday afternoon. What a total surprise! Having never tried Taiwanese food before I didn't know what to expect. The menu, for China Town, offers some more interesting selections that you wont find in other restaurants in the area, which made selecting an array of dishes more enjoyable. It being mid afternoon the restaurant was relatively quiet, and we found the service to be fine, with the waitresses proving helpful, polite, and timely - above average than the rest of China Town. As a personal pick, go for the Chef's Special, 3 Pan Chicken.. some of the most succulent, tasty chicken I've ever eaten! Delicious.
I went today for lunch and contrary to what other people say the door was opened! Once inside they showed me where to seat without too much eye contact as mentioned from other reviewers. I didn't know but I guessed that I had to tick with a pen the dishes that I wanted on a copy of the menu and give to them. I am not sure how to interpreter this but I will try. Maybe just an originality or to avoid misinterpretation in the spoken language or maybe is too tiring to speak, not a clue! I ordered Prawn Dumplings, Prawn and Pork Siu Mai, Prawn Rolls Stuffed with Minced Garlic and Prawn & Celery Cheung Fun. (You might think that I like Prawns!) I had them in two slots which was good, even though I wouldn't think that if they served them all at once there was danger for them to go cold. Try to lay down a layer of asbestos on your taste buds, the dishes are seriously hot. I enjoyed the lot even though my favourite were the Prawn Rolls. Not to sure on the combination of the Prawns with the celery, a touch to sweet I thought. I also must say that although the prawns were big and juicy on the flavour side they didn't score as well. Unfortunately it is not just this restaurant I have experienced a similar thing in other restaurants. I went to this one to have a break from New World were I have been going for the last 30 years!!!! Although it is still good the prices have gone up quite a lot in recent times, I will definitely come back to Leong.
The service wasn't great but in chinatown it is something usual. About the food me and my boyfriend order bork belly with rice and the meat had a lot of fat unfortunattly. Maybe it is normal in taiwan but iam myself not use to it. My boyfriend took the spicy lamb coming as a kind of soup and again more fat than meet. Just the way it looks wasn't appealling at all. We did not finish our plates and the waiters did not ask. Maybe we ordered the wrong dishes but we won't come back
Firstly I would say this is an average rating for food quality and service, and to be honest I agree with most of what people say regarding the service. I myself care more for for the food, so I would certainly recommend anyone to try this small restaurant, especially Xiao Long Pao. I've been trying this dish at many different places, even in very good restaurant in Singapores and many other in UK, and this is still the best place. Other good dishes to try are spicy dim sum, braised belly pork rice. If you can ignore the emotionless staff, who are both rude and unhelpful, then you'll have a nice time there. If you care to even just look at them, you'll find how unhappy they all are to work there and their negative ethics will spread to your meal like a disease. I hope the owner can read these comments and look into how they treat their staff and improve the service. Their food is great and I would even say one of the best in China town, if not, whole London. I would visit them again, for the love of food, but I do hope their service will improve. Their chefs deserve a big star.
The poor service might be explained by the fact that the management keep the service charge for themselves, so there's no incentive to provide good service. Our bill was also just written with no break down of what we ordered (it appeared to be written in Taiwanese on the back) and the it didn't specify that they had already included the service charge. I actually really enjoy the food but won't be going back because of the poor way the management treat their customers and staff. It's a shame because this place would be a gold mine if the management had a bit more respect for people.
Have to say was a little worried when read some of the reviews. However, on my brothers recommendation who had been before, we went as a group of 4 with friends for Sunday unch. We had never had Taiwanese in London before so it was a great experience for us. I am also Chinese. (also quite fussy!) Yes the service is not to Western standard, but too be honest its typical Asian/Oriental - just get used to it (service without a smile!). We were a mix of carnivores and one Vegetarian who didnt eat seafood. There was lots of choice for everyone! We had piping hot soya mlik & Iced Bubble Tea. Excellent. The Vegetarian dumplings&wraps got bigh thumbs up. The Braised Belly Pork with rice was melt in the mouth with delicious fragrant rice. Not all steamed rice is of a good quality in Chinatown but this was yum. Taiwanese spicy beef noodle was delicious too! But the star of the show for us was the Whole Crab with whole red dried chillies and garlic. (of which there was a mountain of!) The crab was huge and at £15 it was well worth it! It is perfect for the Oriental Palate-as I said spicy and very garlickly, but my western friend loved it too. Was truly delicious! We were sat by the window which was perfect for us, I noticed if you were sat by the door it would have been very cold. The waitress did forget to take one of our vegetarian orders but it didnt take too long to come after it was rectified. We shall definitely be going back again. My friends thought the lunch was brilliant and a good experience for all of us. I hope our food experience will be just as good next time we go.
food is REALLY GOOD. the place is nice. service is ok. reading the reviews on here i was worried that this place would have been so bad. maybe the service is not so good, but first of all we are in chinatown. i still havent found a place in chinatown where the waiters are polite. also like someone else wrote on here:you're there to eat, not to have a great dining experience. (otherwise go somewhere that is way more expensive). but now about the food: it was really good. i was there with a chinese friend and she was impressed at much as i was. we had 2 soups which were really rich and good. mine was a duck soup with lots of duck mean in it. then we got the taiwanese pork belly which was super and cheap (like 6 punds WITH rice) , compared to other places in chinatown like Dumpling Legend (which is 8 pounds + rice separately). we also had pig interiors with crispy skin. i expected it to be 'dry' but it was in a sauce.tasted good and my friend said it was a good quality one, as god as the one you could eat in china. we also saw other dishes that people around us ordered and they looked good. i will definitely go back. the waiter with us wasnt that bad at all, just maybe dont expect them to be smiling and happy....i went there with the idea of having good food and knowing that the service was bad. go with this mindset and u wont get disappointed. btw the place look really cozy to me, there are wood tables, wood walls and wood ceiling, which it gives a good feeling to the place. last thing: yes you have to knock the door in order to get in the restaurant... so what s the problem? it s actually pretty cool!
Warning: I am a simple tourist, not a local. Take my experience with a grain of salt. Small restaurant. Bound to be busy at times. Decor is reminiscent of taverns you see in Guzhuang-styled Chinese drama. Knocking to get in isn't unusual during those times. There were lines in all the times we went, but people cycled through relatively fast. Not sure what the review about poor service is, as during my short stint in London I went there three times with three different group of people - the food is suitably impressive and is probably around the top 10% of Chinese food served here in China town. Our waitresses were watching the table like a hawk. For the record, I am also Chinese. The quality of the food, again, is solid. This place would probably do well even if it opened in mainland China or Taiwan. Their southern-styled dishes (the Shuizhu type) fishes are fairly good. Their huge-slab-of-pork-on-rice thing for 6.50 can't be beat anywhere. People have commented on their dim sum, especially the Xiaolongbao. They're not as good as the authentic stuff from say, Shanghai, but they're definitely good enough. Give it a shot before letting the reviews scare you off.
Firstly, the food quality at Leong's Legend is pretty high. If that's all you care about, then you should have no problem. However, the service here is very inconsistent. We have, at times, had excellent service, mostly had rather indifferent service, and the last time, the service was so poor that I have now decided to boycott the place. My wife and I took my parents to this restaurant for a bite to eat after some morning shopping. We arrived just before 1pm, and it was reasonably busy. When we tried to chase up a couple of our dishes about 50 minutes after we had arrived (and about 10 minutes after we had finished everything else), we had one waitress who successfully chased up and got one our missing dishes, one waitress who explained that our dishes really did take that long, and one waitress (who seemed like a manager) eventually served us some cold lotus leaf rice. When I pointed out, in English, that the rice was cold and inedible, she started shouting at us in Chinese, asking us what it was that we wanted her to do. Had my parents not been there, I'm sure I would have responded rather loudly with a 'not shout at the customers that you've just served cold food to after an hour's wait', but I was disgusted: this was easily the worst service I have ever received in a restaurant in the UK (and the UK isn't that well known for good service...) As I say, the food is okay. However, this incident has left me feeling that boycotting the place is the only course of action for me.
Tastiest I've had in a long time. The Thaiwanese omelette was a killer! No problems with service either, quick and friendly.
terrible service, - 3 staff none of them were paying any attention (only two customers) we found a piece of chipped china in our food. when we told them, they seemed they didn't care. some of the food was good, but most of them tasteless.
Went there twice and the food served is good. Interesting the rice bun with pork, nice the pork belly as well as the stiky rice and many other dishes I did try. Regarding the service I didn't pay any service charge as it's an option. The staff is realy friendly as I have a 2 yrs old daughter that is on her terrible two and the staff always helped and played with her.
Food was pretty tasty. Price was OK. Service was obviously making a good attempt to win the Olympic Gold Medal for Terrible Service. I think the training is going pretty well: they should be on course for the 2012 medal ;-)
Like other reviewers I also wanted to like this place. But the poor quality of the dim sum and the absolutely insulting service calls for a boycott. I don't know why this place is renowned for its "xiao long bao" (soup dumplings). I'm Taiwanese, so I know what a good soup dumpling should be like. Leong's dumpling skins were tough, thick and uneven -- very crude -- and the filling very mediocre. Even more crude was the service -- even towards one of their own, me being Chinese and all. Frowns, eye-rolling, gratuitous ARGUING with the customers. I am NOT a demanding customer, so this was quite a shock. I was not allowed to sit down a few minutes before my friends' arrivals; they refused to send back a dessert which did not match the menu description, then when they finally relented they billed me for it anyway! Grumpy waitstaff who are irate for no reason other than having to do their job, of simply taking menu orders and maybe delivering dishes with a bit more grace than slamming them on the tables, do not deserve to have paying customers. What a disgrace. Please save your time, money, appetite and dignity: do NOT go to Leong's.
I've been there for several times but still their service was the poorest in town.The servants were rude and poor service manners. We were three and waiting for the fourth to come for our reunion dining. One of the girl were asked in a really offensive way ' Why only three of you, where is the fourth'. Few mins later, she came again' how long you guys got to wait for the fourth'? Look, they added the recommended gratitude 10% on top of the bills and we paid for these arrogant services? Thank you but no I won't revisit for sure, because I deserve a better service and their food wasn']t that tasty to be honest !
time and time again i want to give this place a chance because the food is good. it is. you can't fault the menu and the chefs. unless the chefs are the reason the waitstaff are so rude. when it opened the service was lukewarm, but one expects that in chinatown. sad, but true. you're there to eat, not to have a great dining experience. everyone jokes about the crap service at wonky (wong kei), but wonky actually has friendlier service than this joint. don't make the mistake of trying to open the faux oriental door to try and put your name down for a table or ask how long the wait is. you will be firmly marched out and told to wait in the line outside. questions about how long should one expect to wait seem to weigh so heavily on the shoulders of the waitstaff, or offend them as if you'd just declared a taiwanese person to be chinese. and forget if if you happen to be meeting a friend for a late lunch and turn up slightly early, ready to start ordering food, and eat as you wait. i can understand how annoying this can be for restaurants, but if someone is happy to start purchasing food from your establishment, instead of taking up a table to wait without ordering, you sit them down and feed them. we went back a few times thinking maybe the person we encountered was having a bad day. within 30 seconds of interaction with their staff we left, feeling like an idiot for even trying again. which is a shame as the food is good. but not soup nazi good enough to put up with the awful attitude, and pay 12.5% of your bill for the pleasure of infringing on their day.
The food is okay, the prices are okay, the winelist is okay, the service is okay..... Everything is just kind of okay. If you stumble past and want a quick lunch with your friends, then go for it but don't seek this resturant out or go there for a special occassion. There are much better around.
Let's start with the positives. The most important factor of a dining experience; food, was BRILLIANT. Authentic Taiwanese street cuisine (I say this as I have travelled there before), out of which my favourites was the Sticky Rice with Pork. The ambience and the decor matched equally creating a very oriental feel and it is a very cosy place to have lunch and dinner in the West End. What DID let the beautiful food and decor down was the TERRIBLE service, for which I payed a service charge that came upto £4. We ordered two rices dishes accompanied with 3 curry dishes. Each curry dish was served seperately with a gap of 3-4 mins. between each and after a good ten minutes came the rich. Needless to say our meal was cold. The staff were young and inexperienced it seemed and were often rude and very inattentive. Overall, a good dining experience with some exotic and adventorous dishes to try out but I advise not to go there if you are trying to impress someone as the service is appalling.