When Rio’s Piri Piri Headington kindly dropped off the newest addition to their menu to my door, the brand new vegan burger, I had to take a second to think about how far veganism has come. While of course it’s never been my aim to use this blog as a place to endorse chicken shops, the fact that I can now order a fully vegan meal on a budget from a place like this is surely a sign of progress. As the demand grows, the market will move to meet it. Less chicken burgers being sold, less chickens being slaughtered. I’d love to live in a world where animal cruelty was eradicated overnight, but we’re not there yet, so it’s good to see steps in the right direction.
Rio Piri Piri Headington’s new vegan burger is everything I’d want from a meal from a local fast food joint. It’s a beef style patty, topped with fried onions, onion rings, and vegan cheese. It’s actually a properly thought through burger rather than just a token addition to the menu. The burger itself was great quality, and I know that the vegan patties actually cost far more than the meat option (bizarrely) for businesses to order in, so I was pleased to see that Rio’s have managed to keep the price point reasonable for their customers. I pulled the lettuce out of my bun as it had gone slimy, and made the burger bun a bit soggy, but as far as the other toppings went, this was a really solid vegan burger and I would happily tuck into it again.
Alongside the burger, Rio’s Piri Piri sent along some wedges and fries, which they assured me were fried separately from their non-vegan products. The wedges were impressively better quality than other more expensive fast food joints (looking at you, Papa Johns). The chips, either plain or piri piri salted, were both great, and the portion sizes are generous. Obviously these kind of chicken shop chips are best eaten hot. I was too full to eat them all in one go, and when I came back to them later I was getting flashbacks to eating soggy chips at 4am in my uni halls after a night out. We were also sent a box of rice, which honestly I found pretty uninspiring and I wouldn’t personally order with my burger anyway, but the option is there if you want it.
All in all the new vegan option at Rio’s satisfies that junk food craving, and I am so happy that a local business is making veganism more accessible – pop in or order from Just Eat or Deliveroo if you’re lucky enough to be in range of delivery. Students no longer have the excuse of “I’m vegan, except when I’m drunk”. Rio’s Piri Piri Headington is in the prime location to satisfy that drunken need for junk food among Oxford Brookes students. Look, this is a chicken shop offering cheap fast food so don’t expect gourmet anything, but they’ve made an admirable effort with this burger and I urge new-ish vegans not to give in to any meat cravings they might have, but to give this a try instead. Perhaps the new burger will even introduce a few non-vegans to the fact that vegan food doesn’t have to mean missing out.
Rio’s Piri Piri Headington gifted us this meal, thoughts here are my honest opinion of the food.