As with many food businesses who had to close suddenly due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, Leon quickly pivoted to a different offering. They began with delivering groceries around London, then built out their home delivery offering with familiar favourites from the Leon menu, and when they finally expanded outside of London, I was quick to place an order as I’d been missing their healthy vegan fast food.
For £32, you get a box containing three different vegan classics that you’ll recognise from Leon’s dine-in menu in more normal times, and a kilo of rice to serve them all with. Each meal serves four, so at just over £2.50 a portion, it comes in substantially cheaper than you’d be paying to tuck into at the Oxford city restaurant. They come in vacuum-packed plastic sachets, which are pretty easy to squeeze in the fridge however little room you’ve got, although sadly don’t seem the most environmentally friendly. A sticker with cooking instructions on the back features options for both hob and microwave heating, and handily includes times adjusted depending on how many portions you’re cooking (I wish more packaging which contains multiple servings would include this)! They had quite short dates on, and between the two of us we wouldn’t have been able to eat it all before going out of date even if we had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but they’re freezer friendly, so it’s all good!
The first thing to note is that I don’t think I’ve experienced such excellent customer service as Leon showed in trying to fix an issue with my order. The delivery company they used got my order mixed up with another Oxfordshire based person also named Heather, and as soon as I realised the mistake, I sent them an email, as I couldn’t find any other way to contact them online. I wasn’t expecting to hear back as quickly as I did – a whole eight minutes later, I received a reply from a customer service executive, apologising and asking if I could share a bit more information. Within an hour and a half of my initial query, the delivery driver had taken a detour from his route and returned with the correct box, taking the meat-eater’s one off my hands. Now sure, I’d rather the mix up hadn’t happened in the first place, but mistakes happen, and they rectified it so quickly that it didn’t put me at any inconvenience.
The first dish we opened was the famous Leon gobi curry. Small chunks of cauliflower and butternut squash swim in the creamiest coconut sauce. It heats up on the hob in six minutes if there’s two of you, and the balance of mild but warming chilli and ginger make this such a comforting dish. We make endless curries in our house but there’s nothing quite like having professionals make it for you. The food didn’t lose any quality from the packaging or delivery, and it make us very happy to tuck into. I’ve never actually ordered this curry from Leon before because it contains sultanas. I did spend half of my meal picking them out, because I’m a child, and there are an awful lot of them, but somehow that still didn’t manage to ruin my meal!
The next one we tried was the Brazillian black bean stew. It’s one of my favourites to order in the restaurant, and it was just the same tucking in at home, although a little extra effort of cooking your own rice I suppose. Packed with punchy flavours including plenty of garlic and delicious seasoning, it’s such a hearty dish. We paired it with our own homemade nachos as well as the wholegrain rice provided, and I could happily sit and eat bowls and bowls of the stuff.
Lastly came the coconut, jackfruit and lime curry. We’d defrosted it from the freezer and it didn’t seem to decrease in quality at all. The curry was mild, though had a bit more spice than the gobi. I don’t think I’m quite a jackfruit convert, it did add a bit of a meaty texture but doesn’t have the bite you want from a meat substitute. The flavours were great though, with some further textures coming from the small chopped sweet potato and carrot, and a thick and luxurious Sri-Lankan style curry sauce. Another super enjoyable meal.
To save myself having to go to the shops for anything else, which I find very anxiety inducing currently, I also ordered the market fruit and veg box (£26.50). They list out everything that’ll be included on their website, so you know what you’re getting and can plan meals accordingly, though when it arrived I was somehow still surprised by just how much was in the box. Having previously ordered another veg box, I felt this one was so much better value. I’m pretty sure this one isn’t organic, and it does contain quite a bit of plastic which is a shame considering Leon’s fairly recent marketing campaigns proclaiming they were ‘ditching’ the stuff. However, if value for money is a concern, which for many it is, this box is probably your best bet and should keep you going for a fair while.
Last but not least, because despite working in marketing I’m a sucker for these sort of offers, I topped up my order to reach the £70 mark so I could get free delivery. That meant adding on a £13 box of five of Leon’s own condiments, to help you properly recreate the magic of Leon at home. Let’s face it, that garlic aioli is pretty special. I’m also really excited to try and replicate the LOVE burger with their special vegan burger sauce, and their creamy ruby red porridge with that glistening prebiotic berry preserve and some Pip and Nut almond butter, which is the stuff dreams are made of! I think Leon have added a few more offers to their website since I placed my order, and I felt like I got a good deal considering the service and the quality of food, so I would order again.
Have you tried the Feed Britain service? Let me know what you thought!