Plava Laguna is a small cafe and sandwich bar on Mansfield Road. If like me you are curious as to the meaning of the name, then apparantly Plava Laguna is a Bosnian, Croatian, Slovene, and Serbian phrase meaning “blue lagoon“. That probably accounts for the lovely deep ocean blue coloured sign on the front of the cafe. A brief wikipedia search on the name also revealed that plavalaguna is the name of a character from the film “The Fifth Element”. I know that is a bit of a random fact and I promise not to try and incorporate the plot line into the tale of this particular food hunt (I did try in my head but It didn’t work).
Inside it is a very friendly little cafe space, there are a couple of tables and some bar stools, lots of chalkboard menu action, and a lovely lady behind the counter serving up sandwiches, paninis, and jacket potatoes. I asked if she had a paper menu, but she told me that they just serve what is fresh in that day so it often changes, so just to check out the boards. There was most of your typical fare but also quite a selection with a Mediterranean flair as well. Some items that caught my eye was the Halloumi cheese and olives salad, a Morrocan style salmon salad, and the Parma ham with hot salsa and roast peppers. If I had known what it was I would have had the Frikadellen & Sauce, which (after some research) is a round, somewhat flattened meat dumpling, made from ground beef, ground pork, or a combination of the two. I wish I had asked the lady of the counter now as I would have been well up for trying that. Still I can go back and sample on another occasion
In the end I had a Pastrami baguette with salad. This was a freshly baked crunchy French style baguette, open faced, covered with a slice of thinly cut pastrami and filled with a chopped salad of yellow pepper, onion, Kos lettuce, tomato, cucumber and topped with a flaking of finely chopped parsely for £3.95. This was a good sandwich, but if I had taken up the offer of some mayo or mustard then it would have been better. The pastrami was nice, with a warm and delicate flavour from the brining, it was lightly seasoned, not too salty and quite different from the beef pastrami that you often get in delis in the States. The sandwich would have benefitted from a bit more meat as once that had gone all you had left was a baguette of mixed salad which is fine if you are a rabbit, but I was just left bereft fondly remembering the slices of pastrami that had gone before.
I did like Flava Laguna, the sandwiches were a little more adventurous and different from the common place and they also had a pretty nice little selection of cakes and pastries that you could try as well. I walked away with a couple of slices of very nice homemade Millionaires Shortbread, which if you have never had it, it is basically a shortbread biscuit base topped with a very soft caramel filling and a milk chocolate topping. It is almost irresitable, and I suppose to be honest the word ‘almost’ had no place on this occasion as I did not resist.
Flava Laguna is located at 89 Mansfield Road, just a short 5 minute walk up from the Royal Centre tram stop, or the Nottingham Trent University stops.