CAFÉ GANDHI – INDIAN STREET FOOD
by Chené Koscielny
Photographs by Caro Blackwell of Caroblackwell.com
The latest Indian food trend to hit the streets of Geneva is thali – an inexpensive and popular street food that is making its appearance on Indian restaurant menus in and around the city.
We were recently invited to try thali at Café Gandhi in Pâquis. We couldn’t say no…
CAFÉ GANDHI – NEW LOOK
Recently redecorated, this formerly traditional Indian restaurant owned by the same owner as Bollywood in Pâquis has been transformed into a vibrant, modern space with colourful, fun decorations and a lively, warm ambiance.
A collection of vintage chairs have been given a new life painted in bright red to contrast beautifully with the turquoise tables. Some of the decorations – including posters of the Indian alphabet and Gandhi quotes have kept just the right touch of traditional India.
WHAT IS THALI?
Thali, a Hindu word that means plate, is the most popular street food in India and consists of an assortment of small dishes served in little metal bowls on a big round metal plate or sometimes on a banana leaf.
In India it is eaten by hand – usually the right hand, whereas the left hand is used to pour curries and hold your drink glass. The thalis can be vegetarian or non-vegetarian and is served with rice and or bread, depending on the region for example naans, chapatis, parathas, puris. You can also expect chutney, dal (lentils) , vegetables and fish or meat (non-vegetarian version). The thalis usually includes some type of dessert.
SUMMER THALI MENU
Café Gandhi offers 5 different thalis – and you are also able to compose your own.
There are 3 thalis to choose from on the summer menu.
Our waitress, who was sweet and charming (such a bonus in Geneva), explained the concept very well before suggesting we try the vegetarian (Colombo) at CHF14 and chicken thalis CHF15 to share.
Each platter consisted of 7 small bowls of food.
WHAT WE HAD
We took our time and shared both thalis – making for an appetizing and colourful feast of flavours and colours.
The Vegetarian (Colombo)
We started with the salad options –including the baajaar salad of onions, tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper and fresh coriander and the Chhola salad which is chick-pea based.
The Raiita is a cucumber, tomato and Indian yoghurt salad.
We scoop up the delicious Bartha, a caviar of spiced aubergines – served at a luke-warm temperature, with chunks of Chapati.
The Mixed Pakora – chickpea flour fried dough balls are lovely and light and the fruit salad of mangoes, grapes and kiwi is a refreshing finish.
The Cochin – chicken Thali – also has the same Chhola salad, Raiita and Bartha and fruit salad, but adds a deliciously fresh chicken tikka salad with radishes, carrots, orange juice and shrimps!
You also get a bowl of mixed Pakora and then an unbelievably tender and perfectly spiced Tandoori chicken thigh.
The Pondichéry is a fish-based Thali – with a salmon based fish curry and shrimp salad added to the other dishes. The price is CHF16.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
We loved the idea of being able to try so many different dishes and of sharing the plates. It’s very sociable and lots of fun.
The portions were generous enough to leave us very satisfied and the flavours complemented one another beautifully.
TAKE-AWAYS AND INDIAN LUNCH BOX
The Thalis is also available as an Indian lunch box for office workers.
You can order online and have your food delivered to your home.
Café Ghandi is open every day from 8am starting with an Indian breakfast/brunch menu, followed by the thalis, as well as a traditional à la carte menu.
Monday-Sunday: 19h- 24h.
37 Rue de Neuchâtel, Geneva 1201
RESERVE BY TELEPHONE
022 731 41 12