Avoiding pesky pigeons, soiled suits and eager eavesdroppers are challenge enough so the last thing Canary Wharf picnickers want is to open their hamper and find a soggy sandwich.

To that end several takeaway options have sprung up at restaurants on the estate, offering freshly prepared picnics on a desired day.

In the battle of the big hitters it is Italy versus France, with Carluccio’s in Reuters Plaza and Paul in Cabot place going head to head.

Paul -the advertised picnic

Both come in a compact cool bag – Carluccio’s an easy to spot bright blue and Paul a more sophisticated black.

Inside the old adage of “you get what you pay for” rings true.

The Paul picnic is £20 for two and that got us a surprisingly good roast beef and grilled carrot baguette and virtuous but less appealing goats cheese and grilled pepper salad.

A giant macaron added a sense of fun and the pastry on the slice of fruit tart was still firm.

The bags of crisps and bottled drinks were standard and the tablecloth, though a thoughtful touch, was plastic.

Paul- the real life version is almost identical

We calculated the same food would cost approximately £21 to eat in, a saving of £1.

When we delved into the Carluccio’s bag we found a freezer block keeping things extra chilled and an array of colourful dishes peeking from sturdy plastic containers.

This was the classic option for two meat eaters costing £45 and available for ordering with only four hours’ notice.

The star of the show was the moist poached summer chicken with lemon and herb crumb, couscous and seasonal leaves.

Carluccio's- the advertised version

Rosemary bruschetta topped with fresh ricotta, mint and pea shoots was like a mouthful of summer and glistening apricot frangipan tart reflecting the warmth of the sun.

It feels like they missed the mark with the fig, hazelnut and chocolate biscotti however as they really needed an accompanying coffee.

Carluccio's- the neatly packaged real life version

We calculated the same food would cost approximately £72 to eat in, a saving of £27.

So the Italians come out on top, with a picnic that could easily provide a quick and purse-friendly lunch for three or four, or a wonderfully leisurely meal for two.

But thankfully neither had a soggy sandwich in sight.

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