Better-for-you fast food restaurant Leon just announced the launch of The LOVe Shack, a new completely plant-based menu exclusive to Deliveroo. Featuring six different vegan burgers, a handful of sides, and even a few of their sweet treats, as a longtime fan of the high street chain I was looking forward to testing it out.
Having tried Leon’s LoVe burger previously, I wanted to give a few of their other burgers a try. There are three chick’n burgers and three beef style on offer. First up, we tried the ‘Better than Mex’, a chicken style patty with smashed avocado, jalapeños, cheeze and crispy onions. Except, the cheese was missing from mine, sadly, and I feel like that would’ve made a real difference. As a result, what I received was a bit disappointing. The chick’n patty didn’t have too much flavour, though at least in terms of texture it had a decent chew to it and held everything together with all of the more liquid burger toppings. The avo portion wasn’t particularly generous, and with this burger actually being pretty spicy from the chilli sauce and peppers, I felt it could’ve done with a bit more of that cooling element.
The next burger we tucked into was the ‘Herby, fully loaded’, the chick’n patty again but this time assembled with Middle-Eastern flavours. I still couldn’t say much for the flavour of the patty, particularly as the other flavours in this burger were quite strong! It comes with chilli sauce, sumac pickled onions and zhug. The heat from the spices was more mellow than in the Mexican burger, with a strong, Earthy herby sauce. I really liked the tang from the pickled onions which lifted the whole thing up. It was an interesting burger and I often find that high street chains like to err on the safe side and offer very familiar flavours, so it was nice to try something a bit different.
Last up was the Sweet Carolina burger, with a beef style patty (I believe Leon use Meatless Farm), barbecue sauce, and cheese fondue. This was probably my favourite of the three burgers, with a meaty smokiness coming from the patty that added a lot more flavour than with the chicken-style ones. There was a real kick from jalapeños, cooled with plenty of mayo and a fresh, crunchy slaw. As with all the burgers, sandwiched in the soft brioche style bun, it was filling and felt like a pretty good comfort-food style meal along with a side of fries.
As for the fries – the cheezy loaded waffle fries were probably my favourite part of the meal. Although my plain baked waffle fries had gone cold and were kind of limp and unsatisfying (I think anyone who has eaten at Leon, delivery or in store, has probably experienced this on at least one occasion), the loaded fries were much nicer. For less than £1 extra, you get a reasonably bigger portion, and a pot of gooey cheese sauce with jalapeños to smother the potato with, kept separately to maintain the quality of everything. The pot looked a little small but once I’d poured it over everything it looked like just the right ratio. The cheese sauce also had jalapeños swimming in it so you had bursts of heat every so often that were really enjoyable. The only downside was that we were supposed to get a pot of Leon’s vegan aioli with it, which didn’t arrive, but we always keep our fridge stocked with sauces so it wasn’t really a problem.
I noticed that Leon have pledged to make their burgers and fries carbon neutral, calculating the carbon footprint of these menu items and choosing to support three global carbon offsetting projects, which is nice to see. They’ve been very transparent about how their carbon footprint has been calculated, and the projects that they’re supporting, and it feels like a more honest effort to reduce their impact on the planet compared to a lot of the green washing that can be found in various industries currently. If you’re plant-based for the environment this might be an added draw for you to eat with them!
After all this though, Leon’s LoVe burger reigns supreme for me. The other burgers sounded great but the execution didn’t quite live up to it, whereas their more classic vegan cheese burger really does hit the spot. If you do want to try the new menu and you live within their Deliveroo radius, they’ve got 30% off for the next week or so while they launch – putting the burgers at a very reasonable price point. Have you tried Leon’s vegan burgers before? Let me know what you think!