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Light Lunch at the Pret a Manger on Lands Lane in Leeds
Pret a Manger, 6 Lands Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6AW.
Pret a Manger is a chain of coffee shops specialising in natural food free from additives, especially those that are certified as organic, Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance or similar. The majority of the food is stated to be made fresh daily. They sell a variety of hot and cold food, including sandwiches, baguettes and salad wraps, sushi, soups, salads, cakes and a variety of sweet goods and desserts as well as hot and cold drinks and crisps.
This branch in Leeds, West Yorkshire, is on the corner of Lands Lane and Albion Place and has tables outside and, as well as the downstairs tables inside, has more seating available upstairs. It was visited on a Monday lunchtime and was very busy when entered, with only one table inside completely unoccupied and a number of the outside tables were also being used despite the cold, but by the time the shop was left the level of trade had died down substantially.
The food was purchased to eat in and any food bought to eat inside a Pret a Manger has VAT charged on it, but food bought to take out is VAT free. Food is selected from the hot and cold cabinets as appropriate, and then taken to the counter to pay for, where hot drinks and soups are ordered as well as anything from the croissantiere cabinet.
The drinks ordered were a regular Latte, which was served in a cardboard cup, and a 500ml bottle of Coca-Cola, which was served with a small plastic glass.
The first food item was the Wild Crayfish and Avocado Salad, which is served in a selaed cardboard box and contains wild crayfish, half a hand peeled and sliced avocado, fresh salad leaves and a small sealed pot of French dressing that can be added to taste. This meal usually comes with an included fork, but there wasn't one. In the store there are stands where plastic cutlery, as well as sugar and various condiments, can be collected, so this wasn't a problem, but it would have been had the salad been ordered to eat out.
The salad contained a lot of crayfish, so was quite good value for money as crayfish can be expensive. Everything in the salad was very fresh.
The second item selected was The New Yorker Bloomer, which is a sandwich in 7-grain bloomer bread containing salt beef, sliced gherkins, English mustard mayo and baby leaf spinach. As with the crayfish in the salad, there was a lot of salt beef in the sandwich and the English mustard mayo was neither too strong tasting nor too hot. Both the baby spinach leaves and the bread were very fresh.
The total price for the ordered food and drinks came to £12.59, which is on the high end for light lunches, but the quality of the food was above average. The lack of proper drinking containers for diners eating in - still getting disposable cardboard cups and plastic glasses instead of actual glasses or beakers, was a bit of a let down in comparison to some other coffee shops.
Neither the salad nor the sandwich had the salad leaves in them bulking out the meal; instead, there was a good quantity of the primary ingredient in each - the crayfish in the salad and the salt beef in the sandwich. Pret a Manger is a nice change from the normal sandwich shop, and a good choice if you are willing to spend a bit more on lunch.