LEON RESTAURANTS LENTIL MASALA & BRAZILIAN BLACK BEAN HOT BOXES – LEON! LEON! LEON!

leon restaurants lentil masala
Hi, Pathetically

I’m a big fan of Leon. I love, love, love a Love Burger. And the menu’s full of other interesting plant-based options as well. From doughnuts to Jack Wings and billionaire shortbread.

I was heading home late one night and everything was closed. Everything except Leon London Bridge. The kitchen was closed, though, and the store was selling off whatever was left over.

No Love Burgers. But there were two options that caught my attention – especially at midnight; the lentil masala and Brazilian black bean little hot boxes, served on brown rice. Of course, I bought both.

leon restaurants brazilian black bean
Hi, Pathetically

The thing with Leon is, even though it’s fast food, you do get the impression it’s better than your average greasy diner. Maybe it’s all marketing and aesthetics. But it does taste like high-quality junk food. Sometimes it doesn’t taste like junk food at all. And these little hot boxes back that idea up. A lot.

Impressively, I managed to wait ’til I got home to get started. Needless to say, the smells on the bus ride home were torturous. And when I finally ripped open the bag, both boxes looked amazing too. Like lovingly made home-cooked meals, bursting with goodness and flavour. And no plastic in sight.

It’s hard to say which box I enjoyed the most. If anything, they taste great together. The lentil masala’s a rich, creamy coconut curry, loaded with ginger, cumin and mustard seeds. And the Brazilian black bean option’s cooked with carrots, onions, smoked paprika and oregano – and lovingly topped with mint and parsley. Both meals were like something I’d cook at home. I still can’t believe I bought them at midnight, for a tenner…

KINGS BLACK BEAN VEGGIE JERKY – WAIT, WHAT? NOW THERE’S VEGAN BILTONG. WELL, KIND OF

Hi, Pathetically

Now this one is straight out of vegan dreamland. A sign that veganism might have reached some kind of monumental tipping point. Where anything is seemingly possible.

Recently, I was talking to a friend, who asked me if there was anything I missed since I’d gone vegan. And because I grew up in South Africa the only two things I could think of were biltong and mutton curry bunny chows. Turning bunny chows vegan was never going to be a problem, but biltong seemed like a plant-based pipe dream not worth holding on to.

Then, a few days later, I saw a bag of Kings Black Bean Veggie Jerky dangling from a shelf at eye-level in the coffee aisle of my local ASDA. A light shone down through the cobwebs on the rafters. Like a sign from the vegan gods. If you dream it, it will come.

To be honest, initial excitement aside, I wasn’t expecting much from my tiny bag of “marinated air-dried strips of vegan protein.” It was more of a novelty buy. But they really surprised me. They’re just so tasty and moreish. A perfect light “pub snack.” In fact, I could do with a bag right now.

The soya strips have got great texture as well, but they’re not as chewy as biltong. I guess that’s why it’s called veggie jerky. Right. But for a former biltong fan it’s as close as I’ve come for a very long time. There’s only about five pieces in each bag. So it’s all over in minutes. But it’s a great few minutes. There’s an Eastern BBQ version out there as well, which I’ll be trying real soon.