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Leons, Sector 56, Gurgaon

Leons, Sector 56, Gurgaon
[Rated: 3.5/5]
Gurgaon, once an under-developed suburb of Delhi is now known for its swanky office buildings and luxurious malls. Gurgaon has come a long way but one thing that has remained unchanged are the hordes of people from Delhi and nearby areas who still flock to the many road side drinking joints to get tipsy post the normal closing hours in neighbouring cities. These roadside drinking joints, commonly known as Aahatas, have come a long way from serving not-so-rich people who could not afford expensive restaurants, to becoming a preferred drinking and meeting place for the corporate crowd. These outlets work on the simple concept— ‘BYOB’ meaning that people can get booze (bottles) from retail outlets and food is served from the restaurant menu. This concept greatly reduces the cost of an outing, as drinks comprise a major portion of the total bill in a good restaurant in Gurgaon where VAT itself adds 25% to the liquor bill. Importantly, all these aahatas are legal with valid permits and allows guests to bring their own booze.

There are various options in Gurgaon for aahatas of which the better known ones are Machaan (4 outlets), Knight Riders and Meet & Treat. A new entrant in this field is Leon’s. Leon’s works on a similar concept but has positioned itself a little differently from its peers. It only plays good English Rock music from the 70’s and 80’s and will shortly have live bands like ‘Babylon Extension’ and ‘The Big Bang Blues’ playing frequently. Other joints have always played Ghazals, or Hindi Filmy music. Given the young corporate crowd in Gurgaon, Leon’s positioning looks impressive and I think, will fill the void that currently exists.

Leon’s is situated on the Gold Souk road in front of Sector-56 and has ample parking space. On entering you’ll see large bill-boards of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Marley and other rock stars. It has enough open space seating to easily cover 45 pax and air-conditioned space for another 40-50 people. There is a large screen in the open area where a projector displays images of rock stars and can also probably be used to project cricket matches and other sporting events.

There has been a major increase in the menu price since my last visit to the place, and are now they are priced higher than their counterparts like Machaan. The hike is probably to attract more upmarket clientele, which goes along with the positioning Leon’s has taken. The food is average but much better than comparable outlets. We tried many items including Chicken Afghani, Pudina Chicken, Murgh Malai Tikka, and Chilly garlic potato at Leon’s, each of which were good. Even the Dal Makhani was above average, accompanied by hot and crisp Tandoori Rotis, which made for a nice meal. Service levels at these outlets vary widely. Though I appreciated the service standard during my earlier visits but on my last visit the service sucked, even though it was neither a weekend nor was it fully occupied. Service standards in these joints is critical because after having a drink or two you do not want to keep looking for the server. The menu mentions many options but none of the fish or mutton items were available. I hope Leon’s can work on their menu and give it some options that differentiate it from others in the same space.

My latest visit to Leon’s was on a wet day when the rain gods finally seemed to be pleased with Gurgaon. Sitting outside in the covered area in a budget outlet with dim light, drinks, good music and hot snacks and getting to hear the sound of falling rain was truly priceless. Leon’s is recommended to all Aahata fans who like classic English music along with their favourite drinks, but aren’t too fussy on food or service.

Address: Opposite Devender Vihar, Gold Souk Road, Sector-56, Gurgaon| Meal for two: Rs600 (Without Alcohol)

– Pawan Soni

Ed: Article is dated and was written over a year ago.

Pawan Soni is the Founder and CEO of Indian Food Freak. He is a WSET Level II wine connoisseur and a foodie who loves to eat anything under the sun. Besides being a food and travel writer for various food forums and magazines, he is also the Founder of The Big F Awards. The Big F Awards are the biggest Restaurant and Food Awards started by a non commercial - Non Media entity. He also owns and manages Gurgaon Food Freak, Indian Food Bloggers Network, Gurgaon Wine Club, Mumbai Food Freak, Ranchi Food Freak, Hyderabad Food Freak, Bangalore Food Freak, Gurgaon Travel Freak, and Noida Food Freak, Chandigarh Food Freak amongst many other on Facebook.
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