I went to Easton’s Afghan community restaurant where customers pay what they can

With the cost of living rising over the last few years, eating out has become less affordable for many people. One way that this is being overcome is the offer of a ‘pay as you go can’ menu.

Afghan Tasty Corner, which is just off Stapleton Road, is one of several venues in Bristol that have this offer available. In addition to this, they also have a ‘pay in forward’ system which enables those who are in a better financial position to support the cafe in staying open to those who are short of funds.

I tried the restaurant for a week-day evening meal and the first thing that I noticed as I stepped inside was the decor. As you walk in there is a raised platform, decorated in the traditional Afghan style and adorned with pillows.

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I wasn’t surprised when the kids jumped up and made themselves at home in the comfortable corner of the restaurant. I chose to sit at the table as I felt it would be an easier place to eat once the food arrived and once it did, the kids joined us.

Apart from a few customers finishing off their tea after their meal and a couple of people sat on tables outside, we had the place to ourselves. This was not a problem for me and while it can be a stressful experience sometimes eating out with the kids, we all felt very relaxed to the point where my daughter put a programme she liked on the TV while we waited for our food.

We had to go up and order at the counter and although you have the option of paying what you can at the end, each separate item is individually priced on the menu. The dishes are all displayed behind a glass-covered container, so you can see what you are ordering.

I am not familiar with Afghan cuisine but many of the items are very similar to what you might find in an Indian restaurant including dal, lamb korma, parathas and kabuli pilau. There is a wide variety of dishes and different breads to choose from, with meat, vegetarian and vegan options available as well as freshly squeezed juices and teas.

We decided to try a range of dishes and the food was pretty basic overall but it was sufficient. As we got up to settle the bill, I noticed several people walking in who appeared to be regulars and thought about how beneficial this place is to those who struggle with finances.

I was also impressed with the community notice board which displayed a wide variety of local events. There was also information about the regular ‘open-jam’ night they hold on the last Thursday of the month, which I thought was a nice initiative.

I think the restaurant would benefit from holding more community events, which would bring additional income and customers to the restaurant. The ‘pay as you can’ offer is a great initiative and can also be a way of creating more inclusiveness and breaking down divisions within the community.

Afghan Tasty Corner can be found at 1 Oxford Place, Easton, Bristol, BS5 0NR and is listed as open every day from 8am-11pm. There is also a takeaway menu available within the restaurant which is also on Uber Eats.