“ At Pasty Presto we have created a range of food and drink of the highest quality. We like to use free range, organic and locally sourced ingredients and purchase our coffee beans using fair trading practices. „
Pasty Presto are a fast growing chain of small coffee shops. There are now 23 shops mostly in the south west and south of England. They started, and are based in, Cornwall.
I am a regular customer in their Salisbury shop and have also recently visited their Padstow and St Ives branches.
The shops are typically much smaller than their more muscular counterparts such as Starbucks and Caffe Nero. They offer the usual range of coffees all sourced from selected beans and served following high company standards. Regular sized drinks which are pretty substantial cost just under £2 on average (my favourite, a latte, is £1.90) to drink in. Takeaways are available at a slightly lower cost. The coffee is full flavoured, not overpoweringly strong (you can adjust strength by requesting more or less shots) and distinctive.
Pasty Presto place a great emphasis on high quality - coffee beans, staff training, foodstuff ingredients included. Their food offerings are standout - they look fantastic, small great and, most importantly, are delicious. They sell a range of patisserie style sweet pastries, croissants and the like - all made in France and shipped across to be freshly baked in the shop's many ovens. The (danish) pastry is light, well formed and as good as any I've eaten. Fillings taste fresh and are satisfying and include chocolate, apricot and cherry. They do some savoury filled croissants which look divine but I've not yet tried. Before I move on to the star of this show, the pasties, I should mention that they sell several varieties of scones (cheese is my favourite) some flapjacks and shortbreads as well. All seem reasonably priced, for a coffee shop, for example a very large scone with butter is about £1.60 to eat in and a plain croissant with butter and jam is £1.25.
Now to the pasties - I've never been a big pasty fan (I was put off by chewy meat and big undercooked lumps of vegetable in pasties I tried when younger) but that's no longer the case, thanks to Pasty Presto. The pasties look the part - traditional shape, golden brown pastry with a thick spiralled crust. each variety has its own code marked into the pastry - aiding identification. And they're a decent size that will satisfy most appetites.
There are sweet pasties (chocolate/banana and apple/rhubarb/custard) which I've shied away from. The savoury ones that I have devoured are:
* Traditional - pieces of well-cooked chuck steak combined with finely chopped potato and veg, and very nicely seasoned.
* Thai Chicken - the best of the bunch. Tender chicken in a spicy thai sauce, with veg
* Pork, apple and cider - I was a bit disappointed with the blandness of taste for this combination.
* Spicy chickpea, whoahhhh! what a kick. This tastes like a particularly spicy hot vegetable curry. Tastebuds take a while to return to normal after you've scoffed one of these.
* Cheese and onion - does what it says on the can. Nice balance of main ingredients - tasty cheese and not overpowered by the onion.
* Vegetable - I shared one of these with my missus and we both agreed that it was OK. As with all of PP's pasties you recognise and appreciate the quality of ingredients used but this one didn't have the wow factor.
Other flavours that I've yet to try include, curried parsnip (I'm sure it will be very nice!), chilli beef, indian chicken, thai salmon and bacon/cheese/leek.
The pasties are about £3.20 on average, as eat in and around £2.70 takeaway - and are well worth the price.
I would recommend the food and coffee at Pasty Presto (eat in or takeaway). The staff are always friendly and efficient, standards of hygiene seem high, the tastes and smells are usually divine and you feel that you're dealing with a business that isn't striving for world dominance and where the customer is king.
When I moved in our new apartment I was happy to discover that we have several bakeries just down the road. Soon I discovered my love for Cornish pasties - thanks to the Pasty Presto bakery chain!
I soon started to go there regularly and now it feels like a second home to me. The pasties are of course not the healthiest food but they taste so good that I need my personal treat at least once a week.
The coffee is nice and strong, exactly as I'm used to it from Italy.
If you want to treat yourself to a great snack (and if you live in the southwest) give it a try, you will not be disappointed!
Where to find Pasty Presto?
The chain operates in the southwest of England, most stores are located in Cornwall and Devon.
Here's a list of the towns with a Pasty Presto:
*Ashford, Barnstaple, Bath, Bideford, Birmingham, Bridgend, Cambridge, Dartmouth, East Looe, Falmouth, Mevagissey, Newquay, Padstow, Polperro, Portsmouth, Salisbury, St. Ives, Stratford, Street, Torquay and Winchester.
Ah, all these pasties to choose from and then the lovely sweets for pudding - I have to stop going there if not I'm getting too addicted.
You have a width range of pasties to chose from, starting from traditional beef over veggie options to Thai curry.
* Traditional - the 'original' Cornish pasty with beef potato and onion. I'm not the biggest fan of beef so I wouldn't necessarily buy it.
*Bacon, Leek & Cheese - I didn't like that one but that's just because I really, really hate leek. The smell is enough to put me off, my friend however loves it!
*Cheese & Onion - another 'classic' pasty with a rich cheese & onion filling.
*Vegetable - a nice veggie option if you want to enjoy pasties without meat.
*Pork, Apple & Cider - the cider smell is just delicious. Unfortunately you cannot really taste it. The pork chunks are a bit too big for my liking but work very well with the apple. Sounds a bit unusual but you should give it a try!
*Spicy Chickpea - a vegetarian alternative to the Thai Chicken flavour; it's more like a Indian curry with strong taste. That would be the second choice after my Chicken.
*Thai Chicken - my absolute favourite. The pasty is filled with a lovely chicken curry with coconut milk and lemongrass. It's quite spicy but the buttery pastry balances that out. The chicken chunks are quite big and you have some veggies inside too like bamboo and pepper.
*Chilie Beef - the cheapy under the pasties for only 1.95 to take away. The filling is a spicy chili con carne with lots of meet and whole kidney beans. It's medium spicy.
A bit healthier are the new 'rustic rolls'. Flavours I tasted so far include egg & cress, prawn & rocket and tuna & cucumber. They are between 2 and 3 Pound and quite filling.
They also have a range of sweet pastries which are (as says the advertisement) delivered frozen from France once a week. I just love the Cherry & Almond Croissant!
They have all the basic stuff like croissants, pain au chocolat, pain au raisin and apricot croissant.
On over are savoury croissants as well, filled with cheese or ham but I don't really like them.
Mh, I'm hungry now :-) Let's go quickly to the coffees if not I have to go and buy a pasty.
I've been normally quite disappointed by the coffee you get in northern European countries. Being used to strong Italian espresso I always needed 3 shots of coffee in my Cappuccino. Not so here, the coffee is very strong (I think too strong for some people as my boyfriend orders a 1-shot every time we go there) with a rich flavour.
You can get
*Cappuccino (2 shots of espresso and frothy milk)
*Cafe Latte (2 shots of espresso and hot milk, always with a foam heart on top)
*Mocha - my favourite for cold days (2 shots of espresso, choco powder and hot milk with cream on top)
*Normal Filter Cafe of course (a cafe americano)
A regular sized coffee costs you 1.90 Pound, a large size (3 shots, more milk) will set you back with 2.15 Pound. Prices are the same for both drinking in and taking out.
All coffees are made from freshly grounded Arabica beans. The coffee is FairTrade and comes from Guatemala. Decaf is available.
We (surprisingly) are having a nice, hot summer this year so a coffee is not always the best option. Presto offers Iced Drinks which are great but quite expensive.
are all 2.80 with cream on top. That's an ok-ish price given that they are freshly made with real espresso shots.
The other Iced Drinks however are too expensive for me, 3.50 for a pint sized glass.
*Raspberry Rippler with frozen raspberries, ice cream and milk
*Mango Frappe with frozen Mango, ice cream and milk
If you like neither coffee nor iced drinks you can also get organic soft drinks, normal coke and Innocent Smoothies.
The Interior & Staff
Ok, I can only comment on the Pasty Presto in Salisbury but I guess it's the same everywhere.
The staff is always friendly and knows a lot about the products - it would be my dream job, when you start working there you have to try all the pasties - well that's a job description of my liking!
There's normally more staff than needed and you never have to wait long. It gets quite busy around lunchtime and it's quite difficult to find a place to sit.
It seems to be really quiet in the afternoon which is great for having a coffee break and reading a newspaper.
The shop is always clean; in Salisbury there are around 15 small tables. The shop is a bit small, not the perfect location to go with all your friends.
Prices & Extra
The pasties are a bit expensive, but at least you know that you have quality fresh ingredients. They start with 1.95 Pound and go up to 4 Pound for a Large Traditional. The prices very depending on where you eat them, take away is quite a bit cheaper than eating in. That goes for all the products expect for the coffees, they stay the same with one 1.90 each.
One good tip - if you go there after 4.30 you get all the pasties for 1 Pound each. When I'm feeling lazy I just go there, buy a couple of pasties are we are having them for dinner.
You can get a loyalty card, after the 9th hot drink you'll get one for free.
The range seems to get smaller, last year they had healthy salads in summer and soups in winter, this year they are not on offer anymore.
There are also fewer pasty variants, all the sweet pasties have disappeared as well as the fish pasties. I don't miss them too much, the fishy ones were not very nice.
Instead of baguettes they have now rolls. The price stayed the same but the rolls are of course a lot smaller. They actually taste better but the baguettes were easier too eat and you had more on your plate.
I just love this place, it feels almost like a second home! The food is a bit pricey but here you really get what you pay for - great taste, fresh food and tasty pasties!