We all know that veganism is on the rise, and I’ve been very pleased to see the evidence of this in my own workplace. When I started there 18 months ago, I was the only vegan and it was a sad and lonely time with no options for me at the Christmas party. Now there are two other vegans in the office, plus four people who are mostly plant-based besides the odd bit of cheese: we’re taking over the world! I even managed to get us some delicious, labelled vegan options at our last Christmas party. Not only that, but I’ve successfully convinced two separate teams to schedule our team lunch at a nearby vegan restaurant, and set up a standing weekly lunch date there with one of my omnivorous colleagues. And that restaurant is the wonderful Pastva.
I’d been a good few times before I started working in the neighbourhood, but then it was mostly for the evening menu. Now I’m all about the lunch specials. Every day they have a different menu, generally with one soup and three mains (one of which is always a salad – yawn!). They keep things pretty creative and don’t repeat dishes that regularly, which means it’s always exciting to turn up and see what the daily options are. Best of all, the portions are insanely generous and do not skimp on the carbs: a lunch here sets me up so comfortably for the afternoon that I never need a snack (though I could often do with a post-lunch nap).
Another thing Pastva has going for it is that the chef is not afraid of spices. Quite a lot of their dishes are curries or involve spicy sauces, and they know how to hit the sweet spot of spiced but not too fiery. I wish this tofu curry would pop up on the menu again.
And if the spicy food has some deep-fried tofu on top, so much the better! They know how to prepare tofu in this place.
It’s not always curries though – the quesadilla (with homemade sour cream and guacamole, no less) is absolutely spectacular…
…and there are quite often French stews, or this magnificent concoction: French potatoes with ratatouille. The potatoes were just exquisite! (I also once had hasselback potatoes here, and felt like the fanciest person in the world.)
And occasionally something Czech pops up too, with the classic dumplings thrown in – they may look like slices of baguette, but they’re actually dumplings.
The only downside to Pastva is that it’s so popular! It’s always packed from 12-2pm, and they don’t take bookings for groups smaller than four, so it can be a gamble to see if you’ll get a table. If it pays off though, it’s definitely worth it.
And on days when I take a packed lunch to work, I’ve been known to pop out mid-afternoon for a tea and cake break at Pastva, which is also highly recommended. They do a mean chai latte, and some very exciting cakes (though usually only one or two to choose from – savoury is definitely their speciality).
They’ve got their presentation down – doesn’t this one look pretty?!
And this peanut butter cookie sandwich is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten – hopefully it’ll become a regular fixture.
Looking back over these delicious meals, and reminiscing about the ones I forgot to photograph, I feel incredibly lucky to work near this brilliant establishment and be able to go for a top notch vegan lunch whenever I like. And I feel extra lucky to have so many plant-based friends to share these treats with!