A VEGAN BRUNCH EVEN NON-VEGANS WILL LOVE
by Chené Koscielny
Photos by Caro Blackwell of Caroblackwell.com
Being vegan in Geneva is getting a lot easier with new vegan restaurants or pop-up options sprouting across the city. And if you’re steering away from vegan food because you think it tastes like rubber and looks unappetising, you’re in for a big surprise at Gives A Fork – the trendiest new vegan brunch in town.
Two other new vegan restaurants include a tiny outlet called @Chez_Marie_Chou – in Route de Chêne, which we haven’t tried yet, and a Peruvian Vegan restaurant called @EnVie in Rue des Voisins, Plainpalais, which is also on our list of restaurants to try.
GIVES A FORK – VEGAN BRUNCH
Although I love vegetables and fresh food, I’m not vegan and brunch for me is not brunch without at least a couple of eggs.
However, I’m persuaded to try this when I read their mission.
Our purpose is to create simple; mouthwatering, out of this world, kick ass food that is sustainable to our planet. Conscious Eating.
They promise to have something special for you whether you are a committed vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, dietary ignorant, dietary indifferent or a full blown carnivore.
THE CONCEPT AND THE CHEF
The restaurant was started earlier this year by Chef Q @qgivesafork who gained her experience in Australia from working as a head chef in a vegan restaurant and subsequently running her own vegan café in Melbourne. Krsnamayi Chan, better known as Q, was born in 1991 in Copenhagen, Denmark and has lived all over the world. She is passionate about travelling and loves connecting people through food.
Gives a Fork is her latest business and is run in collaboration with L’Etablie bar in Plainpalais on Saturday and Sunday mornings, a great way of saving on start-up costs and testing the success of your idea.
We try the restaurant on the Sunday morning after Geneva’s flash flood and am surprised to find the venue buzzing with people, many youngsters in their late 20s and 30s.
The restaurant itself is not huge, but there is a terrace outside and a pretty little courtyard at the back, which is occupied by a private party during our visit.
We start the morning with chai lattés and tea – while perusing the menus.
I’m totally surprised by the variety of meals on the menu – all sounding delicious, making it tough to choose.
There is a Malaysian-themed menu just for the week (this will be varied every week), as well as the standard weekly menu.
Options on the Malaysian menu include Nasi Lemak – pandan steamed rice, sambal paste, tofu puff, tempeh, cucumber strips and mushrooms slow cooked in rendang curry.. – This dish is traditionally cooked with beef, which has been substituted by mushrooms.
We decide to try the Satay faux chicken skewers – chicken, that is not chicken!
Interestingly, this chicken is a new product created by 3 young food engineering students in Zurich – under the label Planted www.planted.ch .
It is made from ingredients such as pea protein, pea fiber, sunflower oil and water – Nothing else.
So, I have to admit I was skeptical about this – but the chicken not only looks like chicken, it also has the same texture and a very convincing chicken taste.
The ‘faux’ chicken is marinated in ginger, lemongrass, turmeric and galangal and served with a Satay sauce. (CHF18).
On the weekly menu, options include basics such as seasonal granola with your choice of oat, soy and almond milk.
We opt for the Forking Avocado – smashed avocado, multigrain bread, agave lime tossed arugula, almonds, tomato, apple matchsticks and pesto-infused eggs. CHF21
This dish is simply divine – and you feel smug eating this – not a calorie in sight.
I have to say, I do miss my real eggs, though – but the pesto-infused egg isn’t half bad and looks like the white part of a boiled egg too.
MEET BOB – THE STAR ON THE MENU
This is the highlight and the most popular item on the menu – a vegan black bean burger – served alongside stuffed mini peppers with cashew cream, creamy mango and capsicum sauce, purple apple slaw, grilled corn, avocado – served in a brioche bun. Served with yummy chips and spicy mayo.
The flavours here were great, the chips more-ish and the portion very generous. If we have to give a criticism, the brioche was a bit dry and the patty crumbled a bit, as, of course, it didn’t have egg as a binder. Totally satisfying, though CHF30.
Sticky Icky (CHF 19) Who can resist? We HAD to try this – banana and date loaf, passion fruit, salted caramel nice cream, topped with shave cacao and toasted almond flake. Very delicious.
If we had to find fault – we’d say, include more of the salted caramel cream, which is to die for!
On the day of our visit the candy floss machine was ‘en panne’ but we totally will go back to La La (CHF26) : Cacao brownie waffles, salted caramel nice cream, fairy floss, chocolate dirt, fresh berries, edible flowers and hibiscus dusting.
YUM! This creation topped with candy floss looks too good to eat.
One of the other guests, come over to our table to chat and she assures us that Gives a Fork is the best vegan option in town by a mile. She’s there every weekend with her family. Kids are also catered for with options such as avocado and toast and a choc waffle and nice cream.
The best part is that you this is a guilt-free brunch. None of the heaviness and bloated feeling afterwards. You feel light and full of energy! A great way to start the day.