What: A vegan pasta restaurant just off Brighton’s London Road. The launch was originally slated for September with the opening understood to have been held up by staffing issues. Pastan launched its first permanent site Bristol in 2020 following successful pop-ups in both Bristol and London and currently operates a further two sites, one in London’s Barbican and another in Barcelona. In 2022, it launched a site in Manchester but that restaurant has now closed.
Who: Pastan is the creation of Jerome Ibanez-Fawcett and chef Dean Fawcett, who saw a ‘huge’ gap in the market for vegan pasta. Both had been in the hospitality industry for some time prior to launching Pastan.
The vibe: Pastan has taken the former site of well-regarded Brighton indie Semolina, which closed its doors last year after nearly a decade in business. The 25-cover site hasn’t changed much save a lick of Pastan’s signature green paint and the installation of a neon pink sign (pictured above). The restaurant is located on Baker Street which - despite being a little off the beaten track and some distance from the areas of Brighton and Hove that are popular with tourists - is home to a fair few independent restaurants. London Road isn’t one of the seaside city’s prettier stretches but it’s a much better pitch than it was thanks to a number of new development projects including student accommodation (Nando’s recently launched a restaurant there bringing its total presence in the city to four).
The food: As one would expect, the food is broadly Italian but there are a couple of Spain-inspired dishes thrown in for good measure including takes on pan con tomate, and paella. Starters take in shiitake Caesar salad; and loaded gnocchi with a choice of either tomato, plant-based ‘cheese’ or mushroom. Pasta dishes, meanwhile, include pumpkin and sage tortellini dressed with sage butter; vegan mac ‘n’ cheese; a take on spaghetti alla puttanesca (pictured above); and Pastan's signature Dolce Vita, a vegan interpretation of carbonara made with a coconut-based sauce. Despite Pastan’s claim that ‘you won’t find anything refined or unnatural in our food’ the menu does feature a number of ‘fake’ meat and fish products. Some vegan alternatives are made by Pastan itself, including its plant-based ‘buffalo mozzarella’ and ‘Parmesan’, which is made with ground cashews and roasted nutritional yeast.
And another thing: So far, all of Pastan’s (successful) permanent sites have been in places that begin with b. With that in mind the smart money is on Birmingham for site number five.
15 Baker St, Brighton and Hove, Brighton BN1 4JN