Lunchtime staple Pret A Manger is charting new territory with the launch of an evening service, complete with soft jazz and candlelit table service.
For the first time in its 29-year history, the high street sandwich chain has created a "casual evening dining experience" on a trial basis at its flagship store on the Strand in central London.
Diners will be greeted at the door and presented with a "Good Evening" menu featuring dishes such as lemon and rosemary chicken salad, and a drinks list that includes French red and white wines, Prosecco and British craft beers.
Customers order and pay at the till as usual, but are then served their meal at their table, on specially-designed crockery.
Soft lighting and jazz music will be thrown into the bargain, to enhance the evening atmosphere.
Nick Sandler, Creative Chef at Pret, says the service is aimed at people who want a quick and delicious meal that goes beyond Pret's standard sandwich and salad offerings.
"Fast, fresh and delicious evening dining is particularly important to customers in this area of the city who are looking for somewhere convenient and affordable to eat before heading to the theatre," he said.
"But equally if someone’s got a bit longer to have a glass of wine and spend an hour with us that’s fine as well, we’re pretty relaxed about it."
As part of the evening concept, the Strand branch of Pret will stay open to 10.45pm Monday to Saturdays (and 8pm on Sundays), and its usual range of salads and sandwiches will still be available to buy during this time.
The menu is based around "some favourite Pret ingredients served in new ways".
It covers the store's popular hot food options such as macaroni cheese and quinoa rice pots, along with new dishes such as baked sweet potato wedges and salt beef toastie on artisan rye and sourdough bread. Desserts include Pret’s brownie bite, served warm with ice cream and a fruit coulis.
"Customers have been asking us for some time about creating an early evening menu, so we’re giving it a go!" says Sandler.
"We have the seating space, the kitchen, the fantastic ingredients and a talented team already in the shop, so it seemed like a logical next step to give the Good Evenings concept a try."
The menu is reasonably priced; the most expensive dish comes in at £6.95.
This is a reflection of the cuisine, which lands somewhere between takeaway and restaurant fare.
Compared to the average cost of a meal at a West End venue, Pret Strand's prices are competitive but it has no plans at present to roll the menu out at more of its stores. See a sample menu, below.
Pret a Manger Evening sample menu
(via Evening Standard)
Served in a hot jalapeno sauce, topped with Italian cheese and chopped flat leaf parsley £3.45
Baked Herby Falafel
Served warm with dressed kale, raita, lightly roasted seed mix and hand peeled pomegranate seeds £3.45
Quinoa Hot Pots
Korean BBQ Pulled Pork
Shredded British pulled pork in a Gochujang sauce with quinoa rice and pickled red cabbage £5.95
Sweet Potato & Cauliflower Curry
Sweet potato, cauliflower, toasted seeds and spice served with quinoa rice, coriander pesto and mango chutney £5.75
Lemon & Rosemary Chicken
Served with quinoa rice and red cabbage, topped with raita, pistachios and pomegranate seeds £4.95
Pret’s Chicken and Bacon Cobb
Lemon & rosemary chicken, grilled bacon, Cashel Blue cheese, free-range eggs, avocado and mixed leaf salad with Dijon dressing £6.95
Photos: Rex Features and Twitter