Pret A Manger’s attempt at an evening service with waiters and cutlery is
a flop. Stick to the sandwiches, says Jay Rayner
Pret A Manger, 87-88 The Strand, London WC2. Meal for two, including wine and service: £45
There’s a story that in the decades following the Second World War, Reading in Berkshire was regularly judged the most typical town in Britain. As a result whenever there was a new traffic system that needed trialling – triple anti-clockwise mini-roundabouts, reactive traffic lights, annoying roadside signs with happy or sad faces triggered by your speed – it was introduced first in Reading. As a result Reading became the most atypical town in Britain. Well, this evening I am sitting in the Reading of the Pret A Manger sandwich shop chain, a branch on London’s Strand that has been given every possible bell and whistle for the trial of an evening waiter-service menu and is hence now entirely atypical.