What is Afghan cuisine? I have the idea most Western Europeans think directly of the Kebab. But Afghan cuisine is much more than that. Due to its location important trade routes crossed the country, and in the food this is reflected by influences from India, the Middle-East, China and the Mediterranean. Rice is an important crop in Afghanistan, and it is the base of one of the most popular dishes in Afghanistan: qabili palau. While Afghani food tends to be heavy on the animal products, there is also rich use of vegetables and grains.
Afghan restaurants seem to be less common than for example Indian and Italian restaurants in Western-Europe. In Bellevue, near Geneva, there is Kutchi, a hotel and Afghan restaurant. The place itself is a bit more fancy than most restaurants I have been too. We went there for dinner during the week, and it was relatively quiet. The interior of the restaurant is minimalist with slight Afghan details.
There are a lot of separate dishes on the card, but there are also several predefined menus. We tried the vegetarian menu (which is also vegan) to have a taste of many different dishes. We got an appetizer (not sure if that’s part of the menu) of flatbread with 3 sauces. One of the sauces is not vegan, the others are. The sauces are a bit spicy. After we got a bean soup, which is normally served with yoghurt, but without for the vegetarian menu.
The starter was also a combination of several different items; a small dolma (vine leaf with stuffing), a ravioli with leek (ashak) and a piece of grilled aubergine (banjon borani). The ravioli was very crispy, with a thin dough, quite interesting. The aubergine was grilled to perfection, so soft and tasty!
Then the main course, it was just a feast to look at! I do have to say, the bowls were not super practical but presentation is important too. The main consisted of six dishes. Two types of rice were included: tchalaw (rice with saffron) and sabzi laidam (rice with spinach) The other dishes were dal, carrots, sabzi (a spinach dish) and 2 other vegetable stews.
Dessert was not included in the menu we took but of course we wanted to try some! Unfortunately there were no vegan Afghan specialities, but there was sorbet ice. I took the mango ice, which was served with a small fruit.
For drinks I was hoping to try some special beverages, but there were none. They did have Lebanese beer. I took an apple juice, which went well with the food.
Overall, great food, the price was a bit higher than average, but it fitted the quality, atmosphere and presentation of the dishes. I hope to sample some more Afghan food soon!
Website (French) : http://www.kutchi.ch/