Yes you heard correctly. Pret a Manger are introducing dinners. And this is no ordinary fast-food affair, wine, jazz and olives are on the menu. So far,Pret dinners are only available at one restaurant in London, but with such a romantic set up, could this be the next big thing to revolutionise date night? I grabbed a Tinder date, and headed to Pret after-hours to find out if it would be a win or a total fail.
I can’t think of many girls who would swoon at the thought of being taken out to their regular work lunch sandwich spot. But men on the other hand, have a slightly different reaction. 'Wanna go on a date to Pret on Monday?’ I texted, (expecting a lukewarm response). ‘Cooooool!!’ – came the reply.
Are you kidding? His idea of a date was heading to Pret? (my romantic expectations instantly lowered). It seems that two things went through his head. Firstly: cheap date. Secondly: I’ll be able to get that incredible macaroni cheese with the ham. With that in mind – what’s not to love?
I wanted to hate going on a date to Pret, I really did. Memories of queue-warring with hurried suited office workers and eyeing up the last pain au chocolat were still fresh in my mind. So I turned up with arms folded, barriers up, casting a suspicious eye around the pimped-out place I’ve eaten my lunch pretty much every single day of my working life. But what’s that? The lights were dimmed, there were candles on the tables and what’s that noise we could hear? Jazz music? Weird. First the reports that Pret are giving out free drinks to anyone they fancy, next they’re providing candlelit dinners, has the chain gone all romantic on us?
We were told that we had to take a seat, check out the menu and order at the counter. There was a jug of water and glasses on the table, along with (gasp!) actual cutlery. The menu was similar to what they usually serve during the day, but new additions were Baked Sweet Potato Wedges (£3.95), Smoked Salmon (£3.95), which came in thin slices on a plate with sourdough and lemon (posh), and Korean BBQ Pulled Pork Hot Pots (£5.95) which actually don’t arrive in a pot at all, but comes in a very healthy portion size on a PLATE. Mind. Blown.
There wasn’t much time for awkward date conversation as literally three minutes (I kid you not) after we had ordered at the counter, our four plates of food arrived at our table. We weren’t the only date in the restaurant either, there seemed to be a few tables of couples who were already ahead of the game, one table had even ordered a bottle of Prosecco at £25.95 a bottle. Hot date indeed.
Somewhere in between the salmon and the macaroni cheese (which came in a rustic-looking oven dish may I add) I even forgot I was in a Pret. Sandwich fridges were covered with frosted glass, the stand-alone shelves selling carrot cake and crisps were banished to a back room and to top it off a the end of our meal, we even got a free dessert of brownie, ice cream and raspberry coulis for no apparent reason. Result.
The staff were great, and seemed genuinely buzzing about Pret being open for evening meals. Which to be honest, by the end of the meal, I was too.
Ordering at the counter is not great. My date wanted more bread and had to go up to the counter mid-meal, leaving me eating, to order it.
HOW MUCH IT SET US BACK
A modest £22.55. And that includes Alcohol. Ker-chiiiing.
WOULD I GO AGAIN?
Pret, I don’t know what you put in the Korean Quinoa Pots, but you have converted me.
WOULD I GO ON A DATE AGAIN HERE?
From now on I’m only going on dates to Pret.
Ok that’s a lie.
It’s great if you’re not on a first date (I believe in aiming high at least for the first date. If you start with Pret surely it’s only downhill from there, right?). On the other hand it could be great because if it’s awful you’ve been spared a three-hour dinner date of doom – no emergency phone-call needed.
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Follow Katie on Twitter: @katie_gatens
This article originally appeared on The Debrief.