Restaurant review #10 – Bistro Pastis is one of the few places in Bruges which standardly has vegan main dishes available. We received this tip from vegan friends who had already been here for dinner. There are four vegetarian main dishes standardly available on their menu, of which two are without dairy and eggs. We had previously mailed with the question if we could get a vegan menu, explicitating what we do and don’t eat, and we got an affirmative reply.
We went there on a friday evening, some months ago (November 2013). Remarkably, there were hardly any tourists, but a lot of locals. Although Pastis is very close to ‘t Zand, there seems to be little tourist traffic in the Speelmansrei. That night it was very quiet on the street. But the restaurant soon packed. So we do advise you to make a reservation.
Tables are spaciously situated, which gives it a calm and more restaurant atmosphere than a bistro impression (at least downstairs, we don’t know about upstairs).
There’s nothing vegan to choose from on the menu as an appetizer, but because we had inquired in advance, the host lady suggested a selection of winter vegetables. It was a pleasant surprise: a finely decorated dish with marinated vegetables (beet, winter raddish, carrot, red onion, broccoli) and also chanterelles, couscous, rocketsalad, a thin slice of toast, with some balsamico and wasabi. This was accompanied with bread and olive oil. I was surprised the marinated vegetables were served cold, but it was very tastefull nonetheless. And above all very creative, and really something else than just a simple salad. Very nice!
Because of the varied and creative appetizer, we were eagerly and curiously anticipating the main courses. But the main dishes didn’t really excell culinary as the appetizer did. At least, not for people experienced in a bit of vegan cooking themselves. The main courses (always available on their menu) are rather ‘bistro-classics’: wrap with vegetables and seitan and passata and a stir fry dish with vegetables and tofu and sesame. It’s nice we could both have a different dish as a main course (respectively with seitan and tofu, which is already unusual for a restaurant in Bruges to serve!) and all in all fantastic of course that they have this standardly available! The wrap (two wraps in fact!) was a huge portion, way too much for me.
The available desserts are the Belgian classics: ice creams and such (meaning, as is the case in most restos in Belgium: lots of dairy). But you can also get a bowl with fresh fruit or a lemon sorbet (we didn’t take the sorbet, and also didn’t explicitly check whether it is vegan, so if you want this, you should still check!). I always have some room left for fruits, and the fruit selection came with some strawberry sauce, while my partner took a coffee (which came with the usual little milk cup on the side, old habbits die hard ;-), but the host honestly apologised.
The host lady at Pastis attentively welcomed and served us. She also told us they intend to look further into vegan cooking, so they can also meet the needs of people with lactose intolerance or milk allergy.
So we will definitely be keeping an eye on the website of Pastis to see if the menu changes! If the chef could apply the creativity of the appetizer into the main dishes, we will surely visit again!
Bistro Pastis – http://www.pastis.be/
Location – google maps