All reader reviews by rightcharlie

Pret A Manger

Whilst one might hesitate to submit a review of what is essentially a sandwich shop I think the soho Pret's and indeed Pret in general are deserving of the most honourable of mentions.

To wit; on mentioning to a city colleague that it was the only sensible choice for a cheap and cheerful lunch he gave me a rather incredulous "why?"

"well, because" I replied without hesitation "they seem to have it just right, great locations, where you can sit, practically for free; warm, friendly staff, prices that are simply fair and food, more to the point, which is fresh, delicious and put together in such a way that puts many a sandwich bar to shame. It is without doubt, the jewel in the crown of eating for under a fiver"

"hmmph", he said "I'll have to try it" - though I doubt he will, since for some, the food is not what lunch is all about.

To any visitor to London I say, visit Pret at least once, take some of their stuff to the park, sit and enjoy and marvel that yes, in the heart of the great metropolis it IS possible to eat like a king and still have change for the cinema.

Saturday, February 17, 2007
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 9

Hoxton Apprentice

I like the quirkiness of this place. It's trying to be in an area that feels itself so hip it seems to fight not to, but I think what really sets it apart is the warm and genuine nature of the staff.

In case you don't know (though they will tell you when you arrive) and as the name suggests, The Hoxton Apprentice is run as a charity and profits ploughed back in, to give folk - who might otherwise not have - the training and chance to succeed at a level way beyond flipping burgers or a life on the dole.

Now I don't know how they vet the staff or where they get them from but somehow, you just now that they really value the situation they find themselves in and, whilst their attention might wander in the quiet times, you do, as a punter feel particularly cared for.

Swiss finishing school perhaps never featured in the early education of the waiting staff but somewhere along the line they've certainly flicked through the book and a combination of street smart wit and modern manners coupled with delicious dishes make for memorable dining experience.

Certainly beyond the front line, the folk in the kitchen are deserving of commendation, having been now on three occasions and tasted most every dish that came to table I can sing the praises of the artichoke hearts in particular, the venison, the fish and chips (with presentation deserving of Park Lane) and, tying for my cheap and cheerful award for the year, the sausage & mash or the risotto.

Though the dessert manu could I feel, use a bit more attention and choice, sharing just one summer berry panocotta proved too much of a challenge on our last visit and we had soon sent for another - but with our bill still coming in at less than a decent seat at Covent Garden paying was neither a grudge nor painful.

I would heartily recommend this restaurant, its design is one of understated quality which is a theme that runs through & permeates its menu and staff, the place is a real five star treat on a three star budget.


Saturday, February 17, 2007
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 7 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8

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