Tag Archives: pret

Pret Coconut Chicken Curry Soup review

Now that I have a burger blog, it’s even more important that I get the soup reviews/lunches going again. I also spent, like 2 hours sorting out a PHP issue on this site and updating the theme, so I figured I better make good on it again! So, luchtime soup reviews, here we go again…

pretcoconutchickencurryDescription: Pret says: “Ground curry spices gently stewed in coconut milk with generous chunks of roughly chopped vegetables, rice and diced chicken make this a genuinely moreish and luxuriously creamy soup.


Health: 248 calories, 12.9g of fat (and 2.9g of sat fats, thanks to that coconut milk), 12.2g of protein, 7g of shugar and a full 2.1g of salt – around 1/3 your daily intake in a relatively small pot of soup. This is OK, but it’s not exactly winning prizes for Pret’s healthiest soup.

Taste: Pretty good, actually. I wasn’t a fan of Pret’s Malaysian chicken curry so it’s pleasing to see how they’ve addressed the problems here; a thicker texture, a good amount of chicken, peas (or beans of some kind) and potatoes. The soup is mildly spicy, and the heavy dose of salt ensures it is moreish. It will be familiar to fans of other coconut based curries but is neither a laksa or a green curry in flavour – probably closer to the former than the latter, but it’s clearly a European take on an Eastern tradition.

Full-o-meter: I’m not in practice here but I’m going to say it’s not great on this score. Other than the pea-bean things, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of fibre, and whilst the soup is thick and full of veg, I can’t see it seeing a full sized person through the day.

Make it yourself?: I guess this could be doable; I’d probably do a part blended version with some potatoes first to thicken the soup further, then add the beans and chicken after to provide chunkiness.

Verdict: 4/5.

What should I review next?  Are there some new soup eateries in London that I can get to from my office in Victoria? Hit me up in the comments.

Pret Sag Aloo soup review – @pret

1509316_10155428493145224_7912898807842365845_nDescription: “Red chilli, ginger and garlic, gently sautéed with finely diced onions and curry spice. Simmered with potato, tomato, leaf spinach and thick creamy labneh yoghurt.” Hrm, ‘curry spice’, eh? No sign of thickness or creaminess to this somewhat watery, generically curry-y (how do you adverb curry?) soup. But it’s not all bad.

Health: I’ve no idea how this soup gets up to 244 calories a pot, thin as it seems on substance. It’s low on salt, low on fibre, does OK on the protein front (5.9g) and surprisingly high on fat (11.4g… perhaps from the labneh?). Pretty low in fibre. So a mixed bag, leaning towards healthy, if insubstantial.

Taste: A pungent aroma and a decent heat on first tasting was promising… but it degenerated a bit as the grittiness of chilli powder came through, I suspect a sign of overzealous spicing in the initial fry-off. The soup was watery, though the potato was done perfectly and the spinach somehow retained structural integrity despite being ‘souped’ – this gave substance to what was otherwise little more than a brothy stew. I tend to think these sorts of soup do better if they are at least partially blended; this would have helped the watery texture and probably contended with some of the spices’ grittiness. Perhaps the labneh was meant to serve to thicken and smooth over the taste… but in this it failed like a thing that fails unspectacularly and unobtrusively (like so many culinary mishaps).

Full-o-meter: Poor. Even with the (typically indulgent) artisan bread I can feel myself getting hungry again and I’ve only just eaten lunch.

Verdict: 3/5. Despite my somewhat damning criticism above, it’s not all bad. It has a certain salty moreishness that is not unpleasant, it feels quite healthy and the gentle heat makes it at least slightly interesting. But It’s not the best soup I’ve had in recent days, and it bears very little resemblance to its North Indian vegetable side-dish namesake.

Public commitment – soup reviews. Today’s edition: Pret Italian Meatballs, revisited

I was in a session led by a workplace psychologist this morning and did a self-assessment on how ‘stressed’ I am in different aspects of my life. Thanks to my compulsive running I scored pretty well on the exercise front, but I’ve been eating chips and biscuits lately so, y’know, not so well on the healthy eating front. So, in front of all my colleagues, when asked what I was doing to do about it, I said I’d start doing soup reviews again. It means (obvs) switching to soups for lunch which was a core part of my diet regimen way back when.

11081136_10155359190275224_1636800473120125993_nSo you have that to look forward to! Today’s soup, bought as a late lunch after a morning of meetings, was Pret’s Italian Metball soup. I gave it a fairly paltry 2/5 when I first reviewed it five years ago (!!), but whether it’s age, or the recipe has changed, I actually quite enjoyed today’s. Compared to the ‘watery ragu’ I experienced in 2010, today’s soup felt richer and more flavoursome, and certainly more filling. Though the primary flavouring is salt, there’s a hint of sage and thyme (I think) in there and the meatballs are a bit more sturdy than they were then. At least a 3.5/5 by my ranking system of old.

Anyway, as it’s a ‘repeat’ I won’t do a full review, but you have my commitment: more will follow.

Tomorrow: I will eat a can of Heinz soup for lunch. Watch this space.

Pret Sag Aloo soup review

Description: From Pret website: “Potato, onion, spinach, yoghurt, tomato, celery, ginger, organic vegetable bouillion, curry powder, nutmeg and red chilli.” A thick, warming soup of mildly curried potato and spinach.

Health: 248 calories for the pack, low on protein, surprisingly high on fat (was clarified butter an undeclared ingredient?), pretty low on fibre. So good on calorie count, basically, and mediocre on actual nutritional value.

Taste: Nice. A low-level of spice (high street food can be *so* conservative with chilli) could have used some pepping up but there was a smooth, nicely textured consistency to the mild curried soup, the spinach was tasty and substantial… but I’m still opposed to potato as the sole substance in a soup. Lentils would have made this a lot more substantial…

Full-o-meter: Rubbish. Even with the artisan bread (175 cals extra) I was wanting more.

Verdict: 3.5/5. It’s not bad, but more fibre and more spice would have earned it a higher score.

Pret Italian meatballs soup review

Sorry for the long silence, it has been a) busy as all heck and b) I’ve been short of new soups to review. Where should I shop? Tell me and I’ll see what I can find…

Description: Ingredients from Pret: “Pork & beef meatballs, celery, tomato, onion, garlic, organic vegetable bouillon, parsley, basil, oregano and thyme.” My description – watery ragu with a few self-pitying soggy meatballs.

Health: 261 calories and relatively low fibre and protein – consumed with the 175 calorie artisan soup bread this isn’t the lowest call soup lunch on offer…

Taste: My standard for this is the delicious Eat Italian Ragu and Pasta, and this just doesn’t compare; the soup needs garnish (Parmesan for a salty kick?) and the texture is just weird – although that could be a side-effect of the soup being kept ludicrously hot – it was scalding, and the meatballs had largely dissolved into a soggy mess.

Full-o-meter: Suspect it will have my willpower tested against the office biscuit jar this afternoon.

Verdict: 2/5. I might give this one another chance because there was some potential there, but it is not high on my list. Disappointed.

Pret lentil and bacon soup review

Description: “Smoked bacon, green lentils, tomato, celery, onion, garlic, organic vegetable bouillon, parsley, basil, oregano and thyme.” Yep – essentially salty chunky tomato and lentil soup with a good amount of bacon in there for additional umami.

Health: 272 cals for the pot, but decent protein, low sat fat, OK fibre. Bad on salt, as you’d expect…

Taste: Moreish; good level of gentle spices, tasty bacon… maybe a little too salty. Pretty well headache inducing, actually.

Full-o-meter: Good. Good lentil/protein kick. Eaten with artisan roll, taking overall calorie count to about 440.

Verdict: 4/5. Oversaltiness lets it down, but would have it again nonetheless.

Pret Malaysian chicken soup review

This one’s a couple of day’s late – sorry – been a bit manic.

Worth flagging that I had this at least in part to contrast with Eat’s chicken laksa soup – a very, very tasty Eat option which only scored low for me beccause it scores so high on the saturated fat front…

Description: A coconut based Malay-style curry of a soup thick with rice. Pret lists ingredients: chicken, rice, coconut milk, onion, garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, lemon grass, red chilli and galangal.

Health: Not bad at around 243 calories. Pret’s soups and portions seem to be better suited to healthy eating than Eat’s.

Taste: It tasted of disappointment. Thick with rice, thin on chicken and flavouring, this slurry was as far removed from Malaysia as I am (I’m Malaysian, but live in London). Boo. What a let down.

Full-o-meter: With roll, it was fine. Not great; the absence of fibrous vegetables and even enough chicken results in this not feeling like the most wholesome of soups.

Verdict: 2/5. Shame on you, Pret. You can (and usually do) do better.

Pret chorizo & butterbean soup review

Although today Eat has a favourite of mine on the menu, I decided to try something different in Pret’s Chorizo & Butterbean soup.

Description: A tomato-based soup with healthy amounts of tasty chorizo and the occasional butterbean. Pret’s ingredient list includes: chorizo, butterbean, garlic, celery, tomato, organic vegetable bouillon, smoked Spanish paprika, cracked black pepper, thyme, rosemary and sage.

Health:With roll, this is only just over 400 calories, (the soup itself just 180) so its a pretty low cal option. Lowish on sodium and fat too. Reasonable fibre owing to butterbeanishness.

Taste: I wish I could do a comixed strip to describe this, because… at first I was like “Meh, tomato soup with stuff in…” and then I was like “Not bad.” The chorizo is present in goodly amounts and is well flavoured (maybe its the smoked paprika?)… if I were to find some faults it would be that (a) there were only four butterbeans in it (seriously, they cost nothing, nothing!) and (b) its not that hearty as a consequence. But maybe I’m spoiled by Eat.

Full-o-meter: With roll, ample. With more than four beans, even better (maybe I just got a sucky draw).

Verdict: 4/5. Not bad at all. Would have again.

Pret chilli beef soup review

I’ve been ill over the weekend so I indulged with a soup bread roll from Pret today as well as the soup. Greedy, eh?

Description: In a word, this is a Chilli. Slightly on the mild side, but unmistakably chilli. Pret’s website lists ingredients: beef, rice, kidney beans, tomato, onion, celery, red chilli, garlic, organic vegetable bouillon, cumin, paptika and cayenne pepper.

Health: 270 calories for a 14 oz portion… high fibre, protein, low on most other fronts… although a bit high on the salt for by Pret’s standards. The Artisan roll clocked up another 200 or so calories with butter, so that nailed my sub-400 calorie lunch target…

Taste: Amazing. Even better than Eat’s version, which is one of my favourite Eat soups!

Full-o-meter: Hard to tell, having had the bread as well. Feeling stuffed after the soup and the bread portion…

Verdict: 5/5. For me, this is a perfect lunchtime soup. Absolutely delicious, good health balance… Well done Nick Sandler!

Pret sausage hot pot soup review

My massive wedding blog post is still in production (will try to finish it off this weekend) but I’m back and eating soup for lunch again!

Another Pret day today (Eat’s soup was French Onion, not a fan) and Nick Sandler’s soup again. Hi Nick!

Description: A chunky, tomato based soup with good amounts of sausage and beans. Pret’s website lists ingredients: sausage, cannelini beans, tomato, red wine, onion, garlic, leek, worcester sauce, celery, organic vegetable boilloun, butter, parsley, rusk, thyme, bay leaf & sage.

Health: 278 calories for a 14 oz portion, so not bad. A bit high on the salt for the portion size, but not terrible. Sat fat not great, but really not bad at all.

Taste: Nice. Tomato-y, sausagey, beany. A bit sweet for my liking; could probably double up as a pasta sauce.

Full-o-meter: Pret’s soups are still too small!

Verdict: 3.5/5. Solidly good, but not as interesting/inspired as their Moroccan chicken.