Serving up Senegalese pastels (pastries) stuffed with fillings from around the world, this colorful new snack bar is right at home in multicultural Noailles. Think fast food with a slow food spirit here :-)
Sandwiched between pita libanais et des gateaux tunisiens, Noaille’s rue d’Aubagne has a new address for doughy delights. “Chacun a son petit truc ici” (nb: everyone has their own thing here,”) explains Sonia, one half of the enterprising young couple behind Pastels World. Theirs is the pastel, Senegal’s member of the savory, stuffed pastry family—see Argentinian empanadas and Indian samossas.
Her partner in life and business, Raphaël (nb: himself from neighboring Guinea-Bissau) grew up eating these West African chaussons at weddings and parties. Thinking it would be a “bonne idée de partager ça” (a good idea to share them), the former truck driver teamed up with Sonia, a chef by trade. With the help of family and a mural by local artist Julien Raynaud, they transformed a former medical center into a colorful center for pastels, a welcoming spot where “tout le monde mange ensemble” (everyone eats together). homemade desserts, made-to-order pastels, and market-driven salads.
Pastels are traditionally stuffed with tuna or ground beef, tomatoes and onion and have a high pastry to filling ratio—just a “noisette,” explains Raphaël. At Pastels World, they are generously loaded with flavorful fillings inspired by Sonia’s love of international cuisine de rue. Here you “mangez le monde” with the menu asie–caramelized pork, carrots, bergamot and ciboulette thai—or the menu afrique– chicken, spinach, peanuts, and tomatoes. To prevent palate fatigue and feed their curiosity, the amiable couple plans to change fillings each month.
Made from a wheat and corn flour dough, each pastel is made fresh each day (nb: the just-opened kitchen has no freezer) using ingredients sourced from the nearby primeurs and Tam-ky Asian market. Make a meal out of it with farm-fresh salads, fresh-baked desserts, and housemade juices like mocochinchi – a Bolivian beverage made from dehydrated peaches and cinnamon.
These finger-licking-good pastels are good for lunch, after-school snack, or to pick up for apèro at a friend’s house. Available in 4, 10, or 20, you can also order greater quantities in advance if you want to spice up your soirée Senegalese style.
Le petit plus : Start your morning off on the right foot with bowls of granola, fromage blanc, and exotic fruits.
Text Alexis Steinman