Vegan pasta company Pastan launched in London in November 2020. From its charcoal-based ravioli and turmeric-infused gnocchi to its pea and shallot tortelloni, it’s spreading love for pasta across Britain.
“Our love for food, for fresh pasta, our concerns about sustainability, and our commitment and passion to the hospitality industry,” says Jerome Ibanez, on why he co-founded Pastan. After launching its first dark kitchen in November 2020, Pastan now crafts and delivers handmade, vegan-friendly pasta to the UK.
Ibanez and his co-founder Dean Fawcett started the business after seeing a huge gap in the market for vegan fresh pasta. While the partners are 99% plant-based, because of their love for ethically sourced cheese, Pastan was born out of an ambition to support the vegan community and provide delicious alternatives to non-vegans.
Pastan’s founders are also fascinated and inspired by the plant-based tech and innovation production industries. When it first launched, one hardship they faced was raising awareness about the brand on limited capital. “No frustration there, however,” says Ibanez. “Pastan is not a race.”
For those trying out a less meat-heavy diet, Ibanez recommends his favourite dish, Song For Guy: a winter lentil ragu served with orecchiette pasta, topped with grated nutmeg and Pastan’s homemade grated cashew parmesan. But Comfort You, Pastan’s signature mac and cheese consisting of fresh cavatelli pasta and homemade vegan cheese sauce, is the one currently topping the company’s menu.
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Pastan offers a variety of dishes on top of that, all of which entail their own unique twist on a classic. Its Christmas special, Love Actually, was tortelloni stuffed with pumpkin and sage, and coated in oat milk, cranberries, paprika-roasted tofu, chestnuts, and cinnamon and mixed peel breadcrumbs.
For Valentine’s Day, the brand created Lady & The Tramp: beetroot-flavoured gnocchi with courgetti, THIS Isn’t Bacon, balsamic-roasted cherry tomatoes and cashew parmesan. China Girl, a half-moon pasta filled with pak choi, red pepper, beansprouts and dressed in chilli, kale, coconut shavings, lime, coconut milk and mango-flavoured breadcrumbs is an avant-garde take on northern Italy’s tomato agnolotti.
The vegan pasta company also offers:
- Back to Black: charcoal-based ravioli, filled with mushroom-infused black tea, black garlic, steamed oat milk, topped with grated beetroot and pomegranate, pink pepper toasted bread crumbs and truffle oil.
- Yellow Brick Road: turmeric pan-fried gnocchi, with a sweet potato, baby corn, pepper, chickpea and broccoli curry, topped with edamame beans, lemon zest and chilli, and seasoned with coriander breadcrumbs and black sesame seeds.
- Vegan popcorn by Joe and Seph’s: vegan salted caramel, vegan cacao and coconut, vegan toffee apple and cinnamon
- Vegan ice cream: using rice malt, and no preservatives, Pastan’s homemade ice cream comes in pairs of flavours. Raspberry and Coconut, Pistachio and Hazelnut, and Chokeberry and Choco Dream.
- Biscoff-filled mini doughnuts: boxes of six, nine or 20 pieces.
Currently operating one dark kitchen in east central London, it is set to open another in Wood Green in early March. It delivers via Deliveroo in central London, greater London and within the M25, as well as through Slerp — where customers will also be able to access raw pasta, sauces and its other delicacies.
For 2021, Ibanez already has big plans in the works. Two to three more dark kitchens will enter the mix, as well as two retail units in London, and a pop-up in Bristol.
But Pastan won’t stop there. Its menu will continue to change according to season and adapt in line with customer feedback, as well as incorporate new and exciting ingredients from the plant-based tech industry. After partnering with THIS, Pastan has recently added plant-based chicken goujons and bacon rashers to some of its dishes.
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Provided it continues to adapt to a constantly growing market, while maintaining optimal customer interaction, the entrepreneur sees a bright future ahead. Within five years, dark kitchens and restaurants will cover the UK, and Pastan hopes to be feeding other countries with an appetite for vegan fresh pasta too.
Growth aside, Ibanez maintains the need to return to its roots. “The ultimate goal is to feel as happy, committed and driven as we feel today.”