Inside the first ever ‘vegetarian only’ Pret in Soho

Queues, cacao and Crunchy Raw Rainbow Superbowls


Pret always seems to have our backs. Whether you need a pick-me-up coffee, a quick sandwich or a healthy salad, Pret is there for you. With over 350 Prets worldwide, it’s clear that they are at the top of the food chain.

Vegetarianism and veganism has also grown exponentially in recent years, so the combination of Pret and veg would, seemingly, hit all the right spots. As a proud carnivore, I was intrigued to know whether this new pop-up in Soho would convince me to give up the animals and solely survive on plants.

The bright, bright logo

#aintnopartylikeaveganveggieparty

#aintnopartylikeaveganveggieparty

It does take a few minutes for your eyes to recover from the vibrant, lime green logo, mainly because the pop-up takes up about half of Broadwick Street. Before turning into a shop version of a giant cabbage, it was an extremely popular Pret, so it is no surprise that I have to queue for about 15 minutes to get to the main event: the food.

The veggie-only food

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Becky with the good hair…?

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So close, yet so far

We all stand uncomfortably close to each other, like predators waiting for their prey (except veggie ones which completely defeats the point). When I do get the chance to have a look at what they have on offer, I forgot for a moment that I was standing in a no-meat zone and searched desperately for my usual Chicken, Pesto and Mozzarella Salad. All that remains are the leaves, the poor salad leaves without the devilishly tempting poultry that I love.

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Chicken pot, chicken pot where are you?

Whilst all the other customers greedily grab the Crunchy Raw Rainbow Superbowl (which I am told is the bestseller), I settle on the Red Tapanade and Avo Superbowl which I found out when I checked the box is a Vegan dish. I feel myself changing already. Perhaps subconsciously this is what my brain is craving, or is it that I’m hoping the orangey pesto-looking mush is hiding some chicken.

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Doing that insta thing

There are also, for the carb-lovers out there, the usual sandwiches, baguettes, bagels and toasties. You have to really, really love Rye, as many of the favourites have been swapped out for it. The fillings are also just the normal veggie/vegan fillings that can be found at any normal Pret – I am starting to smell a rat (or whatever the non-animal alternative is – do let me know).

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That’s the face of pure joy at finally finding a normal carb #nomorerye #freetherye

The super-healthy drinks

Moving past food, the next thing that hits the eye is the vast array of juices and smoothies that Pret have invested in to fit in with the notion that being veggie or vegan is the healthiest way of life.

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Should I stay or should I run away?

I am, and always will be, sceptical of the new juicing craze. Why not just eat the fruit, rather than reduce it to a strange green-looking liquid which tastes a bit dodgy?  By now, however, I have decided to renounce my previous life and its ideologies, so I pick up the brown one that looks like it might have chocolate in because that is the safest bet.

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Before mushing…

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…and now mushy

Upon first sip, I realise that I have made a grave error. It is made with cacao, rather than chocolate, which makes the smoothie bitter and makes me wonder how all those Instagram vegans can eat the stuff. It is also loaded with bulking agents because it is an Almond Protein Power shake – oops. The nutty almond taste unfortunately does not come through. It’s also grainy, like the shakes those burly blokes at the gym drink after benching 250kg (we all know who I’m talking about).

The verdict

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Letting you know what I think xoxo

So after perusing the entire new Veggie Pret and sampling their menu, I don’t think it is a surprise if I say that vegetarianism and veganism are not for me. Whilst the salad was good, people need to stop using cacao in everything – the dessert was not even worth mentioning due to its bland, bitter flavour.

All in all, the queue was not worth it and the £10 I spent mainly ended up half-finished and chucked in the bin. The only saving grace is that right next door is an Itsu, where I could indulge my carnivorous tastes.

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Yes please

Forget the Veggie Pret and just head there.