Tired of having an overpriced croque monsieur in an uninspiring restaurant for lunch? A hidden little take-away/cafe called Street Gourmet offers a combination of trendy NYC-inspired superfood and street culture in the heart of Geneva.
Tucked away in a side street (10 rue de Prince) just off the main shopping area in rue de Rive, Street Gourmet has become a lunchtime favourite for many trendy office workers looking for an individualistic and inspiring lunch to go since it opened just over two years ago.
The atmosphere is trendy and interesting, a mix of ‘real street’ and American vintage. The lampshades are car headlights recovered from a breaker’s yard and the walls are decorated with used apple crates, music memorabilia and vintage tiles from the Paris metro! Seating is available but limited, although most customers choose their lunch to go.
“The idea is to mix real street style with gourmet food,” says Lebanese-born Yasmina Wakim, who has been living in Geneva since she was five and runs the restaurant with other family members.
“I wanted people to feel at home and to have a sense of déjà vu when they walk in.”
Pulled pork is Street Gourmet’s star performer
Quirky menu choices such as the Mike Byson burger (made with Genevan bison sourced from Collex-Bossy), Pulp Chicken Burger and Veggie Bardot, reveal Yasmina’s sense of fun. All burgers are also available as mini versions, so if you can’t choose between them why not try a mini version of each of them instead?
The US-inspired Pork of Wall Street (made with pulled pork meat that has been marinated for 24 hours, then cooked for 10) is the most popular choice for lunch. This is served with a variety of homemade ketchups and salad extras of your choice.
If a salad is what you’re after, you’’ll be spoilt for choice with pre-prepared salads or create your own salad bowl from the creative and colourful salad bar.
My salad of kale, quinoa, butternut squash, ginger, feta, lentils, red cabbage and apricots is filling, crunchy and delicious.
Homemade soups and a selection of homemade desserts, including saffron-spiced madeleines and ginger-infused date and coconut energy balls are also on offer. I tried both – in the interest of research and can strongly recommend them.
Start the day the right way
Street Gourmet is open from 8am Monday to Friday for anyone who has had to rush out of the house on an empty stomach. Options include their super healthy and energy giving vitamin bowl – choose your own selection of fruit, granola, nuts, seeds, vitamins and berries from the breakfast bar, with plans to offer smoothie bowls in the future.
Picnic lunches to go
If you’re keen on an alfresco lunch, you’ll soon be able to pick up a picnic crate filled with super-food goodies with a choice of sandwiches, salads or healthy dips of your choice and a bottle of Rosé or artisanal beer to enjoy in the park or on the lakeshore. The crates can be re-used for your next picnic!
The restaurant is currently open from 8-5.30pm weekdays and 10-5pm on Saturdays, but Yasmina has plans to stay open longer to offer office workers a pre-packaged healthy meal in a box to take home and re-heat for dinner.
Street Gourmet is modelled on hip Bronx-style health bars and aimed at people who are passionate about a healthy lifestyle.
Yasmina is also an architect (she’s renovating a villa locally and building a guest house in Porto) and training to be a gyro-kinesis teacher (google it!). She calls herself hyperactive and appears to have endless amounts of energy. She is also a partner in another Geneva restaurant Voisins and is involved in a project to grow saffron in Lebanon to help create jobs for local as well as refugee families.
“I always loved food and wanted to be involved in the food industry, but I didn’t want to focus on Lebanese food, because even though it’s delicious you can’t eat it every day. It’s too heavy,” says Yasmina.
She wants her customers to become regulars who return every day and tries to keep the menu interesting, but above all affordable.
“The way we are eating is changing and the challenge is to offer healthy food but to keep it affordable,” she says.
She believes the restaurant trade in Geneva still has a lot of development to do and there are opportunities for young people like her with an entrepreneurial spirit who are prepared to work hard.