“ Sandwich Store. „
Benjy's are the perfect place to have some normal and quite healthy food, I think. i worked at in one Benjy [in Royal exchange building] two years ago, and I liked their opinion about any customer. Now I'm thinking to open that kind of fast food restaurant in Lithuania, couse it seems pritty nice idea for me.P.S. If someone will visit Royal exchange Benjy, please say: 'Hello to everyone form Mindaugas' :P
You know what? Deep in the bowels of the overpriced and besuited Square Mile, where a pint of beer can cost £3.60 and smoked salmon is served with champagne at breakfast, you can still get a cheap lunch. As unlikely as it may seem, there is still somewhere that sells jacket potatoes for a quid, sandwiches for under £1.50 and soup for 70p: welcome to the world of Benjys. "Cheap" does not necessarily mean "nasty", you know. I've just eaten a deep-filled tuna sandwich on premium malted bread with no mayo (counting calories, you see), lemon, lettuce and cracked pepper. I expect you'd pay upwards of £2.75 for something like this at a trendy sandwich bar like Pret, but it only cost me £1.75 from Benjys. Everything was fresh - no limp lettuce here (hello, Tesco!) - and the filling was generous and tasty. Benjys prides itself on food like this, and you can get a variety of different lunches, breakfasts and snacks at very good prices. So what's the menu like? Well... Breakfasts ========== The breakfast menu is much, much better than that of McDonalds - and a damn sight cheaper than smoked salmon and champagne. Mind you - you can actually get a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel for £1.50, as well as croissants, cereals, yoghurts and toast from 40p. And I defy anyone not to feel satisfied after the enormous breakfast torpedo (sausge, egg, bacon, mushroom...). Sandwiches ========== My lunch today was the Just Tuna sandwich, which is part of the Lite Bites range. This also includes Salad Crunch (£1.30), tuna and lemon with light mayo (£1.55) and roasted vegetables with reduced-fat cream cheese (£1.60). There are lots of other sandwiches to choose from if you're not bothered about your calorie count, including trusted staples like tuna & ordinary mayo (£1.30), cheese, tomato & cucumber (£1.20), pork sausage & pickle (£1.30) or the all-day breakfast doorstep
on extra-thick bread (£1.65). Or if you fancy something a bit more elaborate you can get lemon pepper chicken or thai red chicken (both £1.95), smoked salmon & black pepper (£1.85) or humous and mixed peppers (£1.55). As well as regular sandwiches they also do "torpedoes" - large, long white or brown rolls - ciabatta (hot or cold), wraps, baguettes, toasted panini, foccacia and chollah rolls. I love the tuna melt ciabatta (£2.25), and the duck, spring onion and cucumber wrap (£2.25) is popular in our office as well. Prices are excellent, and the duck is probably the most expensive I've seen at £2.25 - which is still pretty cheap, especially for London. Hot Meals ========= A plain jacket with butter is only £1 at Benjys. At the other end of the scale is a jacket with chilli, which is £1.75. The range of fillings isn't as good as that of the sandwiches (think cheddar, cottage cheese, tuna, sausage, coleslaw, sour cream, beans or chilli and that's about it) but the portions are pretty generous and they're cheaper than any other jacket potatoes I've seen. If a potato is on the small side they'll give you one and a half potatoes in your portion as well. Benjys also do hot meals - pasta, rice and noodles mainly, most of them around the £2 mark - which they'll heat up for you before you buy, so they're always hot (or if you prefer, you can microwave them yourself). You can also get Heinz soup from 70p. Puddings ======== Benjys is big on fruit. You can get fruit salad, melon, grapefruit, grapes and fruit with yoghurt as well as individual pieces of fruit. They also do cakes (which vary in quality: I'd steer clear of the chocolate brownies, which taste of mud), donuts, pastries and confectionery for reasonable prices. ================= There are 22 Benjys stores in the City, a welcome respite from some of the more poncey (er, sorry - pri
cey) outlets. They also have stores in the West End, and a few scattered around Greater London (Redhill, Ealing, Croydon, Hammersmith, Slough and Uxbridge). Service can be a bit ropey - don't expect a smile - and you'll be herded in and out before you realise your lunch break is over. But the prices are excellent and the food is usually pretty good - gourmet cuisine it isn't, but it's fresh, filling, cheap and fast. Benjys gets a definite thumbs-up from me. Website: http://www.benjys-sandwiches.com/
Some businesses succeed by being the only player in a marketplace. Some succeed by upping the quality. Some succeed by lowering the price. Benjy's definitely falls in the latter. When popping out of the office to buy lunch, the modern Londoner has a myriad of choices. Do they go and sample the delights of Pret a Manger's All Day Breakfast sarnie? Do they go to their local Wetherspoons for a beer and a burger? Do they get a pork pie from Marks & Spencer out of some sort of civic pride? From the crowds that gather, I would guess that half the population in London do none of these things, and head to Benjy's. I exaggerate yet again, of course, but there's a good reason so many people look to Benjy's for lunch, and that's the price. Benjy's is cheap. It's not ABSOLUTELY cheap - there are small newsagents doing sanwiches for less - but it's cheap, and it's nice. During the winter, they expand their hot food range slightly - they sell jacket potatoes, omelettes, toasted bagels, and even some hot meals like chilli con carne - and it's all lovely. The sell great samosas, their chicken and mushroom pies are divine, and the spring rolls are easily worht the paltry 65p they charge. During the summer, you get a slightly larger range of salads - I can recommend the chicken tikka - and different types of rolls. None of the fillings are very exciting, but they taste good, and that's the point. Don't expect sterling service, don't expect a relaxed browsing atmosphere, don't even expect a smile at the cash desk. Do expect to spend more money on more luxurious things.
Many of the sandwich shops in London cater to the wealthier sector. Office workers want fast, fresh food and most are willing to pay for it. It's not unusual to find prices starting at over a pound for a simple egg sandwich with few frills. Explore the more lavish ingredients, such as avocado, almonds and capers and the price rockets (and I'm not talking about the fancy lettuce, either). Benjys is a chain that counters this culture of frills and expense in offering a huge variety of reasonably priced food. Yes, it would still be cheaper to pack your own lunch each morning, but convenience costs; though at Benjys the cost begins at a mere 45p for a cheese roll. Large torpedo rolls go for around two pounds. For two fifty you can pick up a large salad, choosing from several varieties that include sardines, humous and bacon. At the same price is a whole range of reheatable items from pasta dishes to baked potatoes to ciabatta sandwiches. The standard fare of sandwiches are readily available and are kept well stocked. Those with a sweet tooth can choose from numerous pastries, wafers, crisps, doughnuts or muffins. If you prefer a more healthy snack then pick from fruit selections, mousses or yoghurts. Food aside, all manner of beverages can be purchased at Benjys including coffee and tea, waters, flavoured cordials, fizzy cans of pop and even soup. Of course, convenience and low prices come at a cost. If you venture into Benjys then chances are you won't be greeted with a smile, but instead by surging crowd of shoppers. The queues would be long if it weren't for the conveyer belt approach of the staff who no doubt call out "Next" or "Can I help you" even in their sleep. That's not to say that the customer isn't given some though. There are strict policies of not bagging hot drinks to avoid accidents, and the staff will include any plastic cutlery you might need along with your order when they pack it
for you to take away. On average the food quality in the stores levels out at "good". Occasionally there are mistakes, though. The odd item might be a little on the stale side, and I've bought items in the past that were mislabled though it would have been obvious had I examined it more closely before leaving the store. Some of the fudge style cake desserts are extremely nice, and the massive variety available keeps pulling me back into the shops. Most of the stores operate on the basis of getting the customer in and out as quickly as possible in order to make room for the next lot - from twelve to two they are very busy. In some stores there is seating available though they are the exception not the norm, and I can't imagine it would make for a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere for a lunchbreak. Benjys also specifically market to the breakfast time crowd, selling prepacked single serving cereals and what they term morning rolls. Given that the average Benjys store is within a stones throw of McDonals, Burger King, another sandwich shop and a coffee shop with a sideline in sandwiches they are obviously doing something right. The chain continues to grow and both the name and the familiar friendly green on cream logo are becoming a familiar throughout London. Besides, where else in the city can you pick up a coffee for a mere 50p?
There are only a few words that describe Benjy's, and "wonderful" has to be one of them. For years office workers have been complaining about the amount they have to pay for a basic sandwich and beverage. Well complain no longer. At least for those in London. Benjy's offers the sandiwch without the finesse. The finesse of Pret-A-Manger is what you aren't paying for in the price. Prices start at £1.00/£1.25 and go upwards of that, instead of £2.50 and upwards. Produce ranges from Baps, Bread, Rolls and other things. As well as salads and drinks and deserts and fruit - Sorry for making it sound like a list. In essence Benjy's provide good wholesome well priced energy giving food for students, office workers and tourists alike. Stores that i know of are on Tottenham Court Road (Goodge Street Station) Oxford Street (above Soho Square) and Wardour Street (in the middle). I am sure peoplecan schip in sitings of others. One of the bads thing is perhaps the fact that they don't offer any standing or sitting areas, but then given the price, takeaway is part of the concept. And anyways, the stores get very very busy at peak hours. Lastly, be sure to get in there first because after the locusts (office workers) descend the stock on the shelves can get low.