The discovery that The Paste-tree has vegan options was a complete surprise, found after scrolling aimlessly on Deliveroo for almost an hour trying to find somewhere new to eat. The restaurant is one of the newer additions to Cowley Road, and I’ve walked past it a few times but would never have thought that they would serve vegan cheese. Their staple is pizza and French tacos, and with a number of vegan-friendly options, I was looking forward to trying them out.
The first thing to mention is that the stand out thing for us was actually their customer service. The restaurant called three times while we were waiting for our food, calls which we missed, but they were persistent until they got hold of us to let us know our order was going to be a bit late as they’d made a mistake when making the first pizza. By way of apology, they said they were still sending us the pizza with the mistake free of charge, as well as some drinks to make up for it. In the end, our order was barely 10 minutes later than the estimated arrival time, and Jamie was very happy to have an entire extra pizza to enjoy cold the next day. It also gave me confidence that they owned up to their mistake of using non-vegan cheese on the first pizza, and made sure to get my order correct, rather than sending us a non-vegan pizza and hoping I didn’t notice – which I feel like so many fast food places have tried to get away with, from what I hear from the vegan community on Instagram!
The vegan pizza had a very thin crust base, which was nicely cooked, and an antidote to the very stodgy bases you can get from chain fast food pizza places. It was layered with a sweet tomato sauce and a generous handful of vegan cheese. It was called ‘vegan mozzarella’ on the menu, which I question, because it definitely looked like grated vegan cheddar to me. None the less there was a lot of it and it was tasty eaten with all of the toppings, although it did have that stick-to-the-back-of-your-teeth feel. Rather than building my own vegan pizza, which they offer, I opted for the one they’d put together. I enjoyed the cherry tomatoes, which were bursting with flavour, and meaty mushrooms as a topping. There are three different sixes to choose from depending on your appetite, and I opted for the medium one, which was just right for me. It did remind me a bit of the pizzas you can buy in the supermarket, with an extra few handfuls of cheeze and toppings for good measure. But saving myself the effort of leaving the house, I was pretty happy with the order.
Frankly I only have myself to blame when it comes to the French taco, which I did not enjoy anywhere near as much. In my ignorance I wrongly assumed it would be at least somewhat similar to a Mexican taco but of course it wasn’t and I now know better. The overwhelming flavour was raw red onion, which the folded tortilla was absolutely packed with, except when you got a bite of green olive, which I’d hoped to be able to pick out because I hate them. Any hint of the avocado chunks was completely overwhelmed, as were the slightly soggy chips. I thought it was supposed to come with cheese (Google tells me it often would) but this one had none, which was a shame when they’d been so generous with the vegan cheese on the pizza. I do like that they went to the effort to create a vegan option of both of their staple dishes, and I think it would come down to personal preference on the fillings, but this one wasn’t for me.
I would recommend getting a takeaway directly from The Paste-tree if you want to try it out (if you can). The pizzas are pretty reasonable value if you can pick them up while taking a stroll down Cowley Road, and I understand why they’ve had to add a few extra pounds to the price to make it viable to trade via Deliveroo, who take a huge cut of every sale. If you live locally to the restaurant, I’d encourage you to give them a go, and let me know what you think!