Judging by the number of sandwich shops and other fast food restaurants in the city, Londoners (except Nigella) never cook. Seriously, I have never seen that many sandwiches and soups anywhere. If it's a store, they have sandwiches. Next to shampoos? Yes! Newspapers? Of course! It doesn't even have to be a grocery store; if they have a cash register, they almost definitely have sandwiches.
When I was reading my Rough Guide to London, trying to find some good places to eat at, I came across an article about two sandwich shop chains that aren't like the others. EAT is a chain, founded and owned by a married couple, who wanted to offer fresh, quality sandwiches, soups, salads etc. That was 14 years ago. Today, they own around 100 shops across London and UK; they prepare all their food in regional kitchens, and deliver them to their shops every morning, so it's always fresh.
The second chain mentioned in the article was Pret a Manger. Pret was founded 24 years ago by two college students, who wanted to serve food made with quality, fresh ingredients and without preservatives and other chemicals. Now they own over 200 shops, more than 100 of them in London. Each shop has a kitchen, where the food is prepared throughout the day and everything left unsold is collected by charities. Sounds impressive, huh?
Pret and EAT are not hard to find in central London; everywhere you go, just look around you and chances are, there'll probably be at least one of their shops. We went inside Pret numerous times, and even though I don't eat sandwiches (which taste good, as I was told), those desserts they offer really caught my eye. Especially that Chocolate Moose that you can see on the photo. I forgot about it every day and remembered when we were already at the hostel and it was too late. Luckily, they have not one, but two shops at the Stansted airport; one before and one after security, in the departures lounge.
I was really looking forward to that Chocolate Moose. It had now been 5 days since I first saw it and I simply needed it. So the first thing after going through security was, obviously, to go to Pret and get one of those Mooses! (Sometimes the Pret shops are also sold out of something and I was afraid that if that happens, I'll never be able to try that Moose and I'll never know how delicious it was.)
When I got there, I was relieved - they had lots of Mooses. So I bought one. For a little less than 2 £. I took a dark red plastic spoon and found a place to seat and eat it in peace. As I was tasting the first spoon... It was just disgusting. I expected something soft, creamy, chocolate-y, and all I got was this. So the first layer, the white one, is based on sour cream. And yes, it's SOUR. The second and the third layer are chocolate, but don't taste very good. The last layer has a really strong flavor, like a dark dark dark chocolate. I even tried getting all three layers onto my spoon to see if that tasted good. It didn't. So there I was, disappointed, as always. To top it off, I just ate something with more than 500 calories, and I hated it.
I should have gotten the chocolate cake.