Pret A Manger Singapore
I had noticed these guys everytime I passed through Hong Kong, but never actually ate there. So when the Straits Times mentioned yesterday how they finally opened up a shop in Singapore (35 Robinson Road #01-02, 6323-4165), I came by today to see what was really behind this British sandwich shop with the unforgettable French name boasting of convenience.
And convenience it was. There was no sandwich station here; just racks of refrigerators featuring a variety of neatly stacked "boxes" of sandwiches. Just grab what you want, and go pay. There were a few that looked interesting, such as the Christmas Lunch sandwich featuring turkey and cranberries, as well as even some soup. But I eventually settled on the "Big BLT," even if the box inherently forced it to be less than two inches thick (not so "big" after all, eh?).
Actually, the boxes presented another issue: while it looked all stylish at first, being in a triangular box with a clear window (including narrative printed all over it explaining how these boxes are not sealed, thus proving that they are freshly made that day rather than days before), it only hit me when I reached the checkout line that these boxes were triangular because they were only *half* sandwiches! Then again, it does say Pret Petit if you look closely enough on the box. I quickly scrambled back to the refrigerator to grab another box, this time of the avocado parmesan variety. And like a little boy, I matched the two triangles together (while still in the boxes), as if to reassure myself that I finally got at least one full-sized sandwich on the more familar square piece of bread. I added a (similarly surprisingly small) bottle of "Orange & Raspberry Freshly Crushed Juice," and then finally paid up.
So how did the sandwiches taste? The Big BLT had an interesting twist in it: the "L" in BLT was not lettuce, but actually rucola, which I didn't mind since I like it a lot, but those that don't like the pronounced taste of the leaves might get turned off. The cheese shavings in the avocado parmesan sandwich was also a great touch, even if the pine nuts in there were a bit of a surprise. But there was one huge drawback of having such pre-made sandwiches: there were no configuration options. And while I generally liked the pre-selected ingredients in these two sandwiches, they enveloped these in wheat bread, which I'm not a fan of (and it had nuts in the bread too - even worse!). Too bad sourdough bread is not common out here. Well, as long as I ignored the taste and texture of the bread, the sandwiches weren't actually that bad, aside from being a bit too small. I believe that the Pret a Manger stores in in England provide both halves of the sandwich in a box twice the size...but still triangular in shape, right?
In the end, there was no doubting that the pre-made sandwiches did make this place super speedy (although the checkout counter guys were still undergoing some growing pains today). If I only had 10 minutes to spare for lunch and were forced to eat pre-made sandwiches, then I'd definitely prefer this place's taste over The Sandwich Shop down the street (interestingly, these guys also had an All Day Breakfast sandwich). But I probably won't go out of my way just for this. It's too bad that Green Cedar shut down too; these guys are sitting on the old site of the former Lebanese takeout place.