Central Saint Giles, Saint Giles High Street, WC2H 8AG
When a lunch time shower of rain decided to pour down on me last Monday when I was already feeling as sick as a dog, I realised I could not be arsed to hunt down a lunch spot, so I settled for the nearest place I could find which happened to be Pod.
It was my first day working on a brand new freelancing assignment and I didn’t really feel like returning to the office to my new colleagues a shivering, soaking drowned rat. I think my flu face had already scared them enough.
Pod sits right by the entrance to the offices, so I decided to just pop in there as quickly as I could. I shuffled in expecting to enter a similar sort of establishment to Pret; a place that sells tiny little sandwiches at ludicrous prices. But after picking, purchasing and scoffing down some Pod food, I was so impressed I ate there twice again that week.
So what makes Pod so great? First of all, the food is incredibly healthy, which I genuinely had no idea of when I walked in. I knew it was a chain, but I just assumed it was a cafe of some sort selling your average joe ham and cheese pannini’s.
The creators of Pod were initially inspired by the speedy ‘made-to-order’ delis of Manhattan and realised there was nothing over here offering that to British consumers; healthy, delicious, nutritious, innovative and freshly prepared food that be could be served as fast as a McDonald’s Big Mac. And I’m not kidding when I say it’s fast – after no more than two minutes queuing it was my turn at the till, I ordered, whipped out my card to tap on the card machine and before I had even collected the receipt my food had arrived in front of me.
Then of course there is the actual variety and the flavours of the food. Pod has made me realise that healthy food doesn’t have to be dull. And not only did I choose to eat at Pod three times in one week, but their yummy recipes and ingredients actually inspired most of this week’s home cooking. So, what exactly did I eat at Pod that was so yummy?
The Go Green Pesto Vegetable & Noodle Soup • £3.25 • 303 Kcal
Rice noodles, peas, beetroot, white cabbage, leek, spring greens, carrot, veggie stock, basil pesto sauce (sulphites, nuts), dill
I was so ill that first week after Christmas, and the dreary wet weather didn’t help. But this super tasty (and SUPER green) soup sorted me out. I didn’t know what to expect when I ordered a pesto soup, I certainly didn’t expect it to be that green when I took off the lid (scroll up to see) it looks more like a smoothie than a soup. But once I began to tuck my fork into the green liquid, all the chunks of delicious veg appeared as well tiny tasty rice noodles. It warmed me up and left me feeling really full.
The Immune Boost Blitz Smoothie • £3.75 • 249 Kcal
Banana, mango, kiwi fruit, spirulina, spinach, flaxseed & yoghurt
I am Smoothie obsessed – as you can probably tell from THESE posts – so it’s no surprise I was drawn to a Pod smoothie. Being poorly and also wanting to be healthy, I have to admit it was the name that caught my eye: the Immune Boost Blitz! I wasn’t actually sure how I felt about yoghurt and spinach being blended together, but after downing this delicious smoothie in record time, I am now considering adding spinach to all my homemade smoothies. It was so tasty, and juicier than I anticipated, but I expect that was down to the succulent chunks of kiwi!
Moroccan Chicken Energy Pod • £4.99 • 388 Kcal
Moroccan chickpea sauce (celery), chicken, quinoa, pearl barley, lentils, parsley
Pod are now selling a brand new range of hot lunches called Energy Pod’s. They are little pods of protein and veg mixed up with spices and slow release energy grains, the idea being that they keep you powering through your afternoon (aka avoiding the 4pm slump). I thought this would be perfect for me as I’m currently running every day and so need as much natural and healthy energy as possible. I chose the Moroccan chicken energy pod and was genuinely blown away by how something so healthy could be soooooo tasty. There was so much flavour in this little pod of fuel and it’s this dish that has inspired me to get creative in my own kitchen using healthier foods.
The Pod prices are on par with similar chains such as Pret and Eat, but somehow Pods food feels worth it. Okay, so I think £4.99 seems a bit steep for the energy pods, mainly because they are quite small pots of food. But I thought my other items were really well priced. I’ve never been a fan of paying over £3.25 for a teeny tiny Pret sandwich, that tastes, well, average. But paying £2.75 for a delicious and nutritious Pod Smoothie, or paying £3.25 for a hot, tasty, fresh and filling soup – that I am happy to do. I’m yet to try a Pod sandwich, so I am being a bad blogger by comparing it to Pret, but with large baguettes available at a bargain price of £2.99 – £3.25 at pod, I’ll happily go back to investigate.