Kolo (Kyiv, Ukraine)

Outside Kolo
Small terrace outside with the daily menu on display

Kolo is a completely vegan café in Kyiv which serves vegan food, like wraps, soups, salads and burgers. You can also come in for coffee, milkshakes, teas and sweets. The menu changes daily. You can order pies and I believe they do food delivery too.

Inside Kolo
Artsy and relaxed interior

The place itself is cute, a bit hipster, with brick walls and different types of art on the wall. We visited for coffee and a slice of cake. Unfortunately they were just out of cakes! But there were cupcakes, so we tried a carrot-cake cupcake. It was very tasty, and nicely moist. I had a blueberry milkshake (I love how many vegan places offer milkshakes in Kyiv!) which was good.

Snack at Kolo
Blueberry milkshake and carrot cupcake

I have to say the service was a bit overzealous, they took my cup literally minutes after I finished my drink. Apart from that, it was a nice place to sit and relax a bit. I want to go back for a full meal! So there might be a part 2 to this review 🙂

Cupcakes at Kolo
Carrot cupcakes and some cookies to take-away
Type of place :  Vegan café
Completely vegan: yes
Vegan desserts: yes !
Website (Ukrainian, English): https://www.facebook.com/kolo.podol/

Coffee break (Groningen, the Netherlands)

Coffee Break

I went to Coffee Break in Groningen almost two years ago. I went to get breakfast and coffee, and it happened to be close to my hotel. They had several sandwiches for breakfast, including one that was easily veganisable, a peanut-butter banana toasty. At the time it was served with honey, which was easily left out. Also they had plant-milk for in the coffee. At that time I didn’t make any pictures, but I made a mental note to come back and write about this place for my blog.

Interior at Coffee Break
View on the reading table

Finally, I made my way back to Groningen and visited Coffee break again. The place expanded! It is now at least three times as big, with a second floor. While the room is spacious, the atmosphere is still relaxed and cosy. There is for example a reading table with several magazines and newspapers available. The toast that I had last time is now served in a vegan form. And very special: in the fancy coffee you get oat milk as a standard. They have other milk alternatives, such as soy and almond, as well. They do serve cow milk, but for that you have to pay extra. This is the first time that I have seen that! I really like the initiative.  I was a bit surprised that on the tables they do have standard creamer, but later I found out they normally have soy creamer. There was just an issue with the supplier that time.

Vegan cake at Coffee break
Vegan forest fruits and date cake

When I visited Coffee Break there were several cakes on display, and one was vegan. There is a whole bunch of vegan items on the menu now!  We wanted to try a slice of the vegan cake of course, so we had that with a coffee. They also have several smoothies, so I wanted to try one of those as well. An interesting combination, and we also got our order in several parts. We got the cake before the coffee, probably because there was only one server for the entire room. It was however, not that busy. The blueberry cake with dates was nice, not too sweet. The coffee was fine too. It got served with chocolates, which were not vegan. [Edited to add] I have been contacted by Coffee Break and they have informed me their chocolates were in fact vegan.

Coffee and cake at Coffee Break
Oat latte and a slice of the aforementioned cake

We got our smoothies after the coffee, we tried the “mean green”, a combination of spinach, parsley, ginger, mango, and lemon juice (water-based) and the “goody fruity”, a banana-strawberry version with almond milk. The smoothies look very pretty, and are decorated with cacao nibs. They are served with a recyclable straw. Taste-wise they were fine, not very special.

Smoothies at Coffee Break
Pretty smoothies

One thing that is strange, is that the toilet is located upstairs. I have to admit here, that I only thought about it because one of the other patrons was in a wheelchair. I will try to make the effort to note these things. [Edited to add:] I initially thought there was only a staircase but there is also an elevator.

Interior at Coffee Break
Upstairs room

 

Type of place: Breakfast and lunch café
Completely vegan: no

Address: Gedempte Zuiderdiep 22, 9711 HG Groningen, Netherlands

I couldn’t find a working website for Coffee Break. At the time of writing the website linked from the Facebook of their old location was down.

Be Kind Cafe (Geneva, Switzerland)

Exterior of Be Kind Cafe
Bio, vegan, home-made

This cute café in Geneva has opened only a few weeks ago! I had read about the opening of Be Kind Cafe, and since the initial opening coincided with a day I was off of work, I was excited to visit! Unfortunately, the opening was postponed due to water issues.  It took a while before I could visit, since they are only open during the week and I have a full-time job in another city. So when I finally had the chance to be in Geneva around lunchtime, of course I directly wanted to visit the Be Kind Cafe!

Counter at Be Kind Cafe
Cookies on the counter!

Be Kind Cafe offers breakfast foods, coffee and pastries, and lunch. There is a daily lunch menu, with some standard items but the exact ingredients are different per day, and change depending on the season and availability, since they use almost exclusively biological and local products. There are some larger dishes, like a burger and a savoury pie, and smaller foods like sandwiches and soups. For drinks there are juices, hot drinks like coffee and tea, but also wine and beer. You can eat in the café itself, but they also do take-away. The atmosphere of the café is very relaxed, it was quite spacious, hip and still cosy. A place to sit with a nice cup of coffee and a delicious vegan meal.

Inside the cafe
A relaxed, cosy atmosphere

When I visited I tried the daily bagel with a side of roasted potato wedges. The bagel was on the smaller side, and contained salad, roasted pumpkin, vegan ‘ricotta’ and almonds. The tastes went very well together! The bagel bread is very tasty and toasted rather than soft. The potatoes were well-seasoned, large, nice and crunchy.

Be kind Cafe food
Bagel with a side of potato

For a drink I tried the kefir with figs. I know kefir as a yogurt-product, but this was rather a fermented fruit juice.

Bagel close-up at Be Kind Cafe
The bagel was properly stuffed with vegetable goodness !

There are several desserts available, there are some standard on the menu but there are also some daily variations. I tried the apple crumble with oats, with vanilla ice cream on top. With it, a coffee of course 🙂 The crumble was great!

Dessert at Be Kind Cafe
Apple crumble with oats and vanilla ice cream

I really like the Be Kind Cafe, the food is good and service great! The only downside is that they are only open on weekdays. I really do have to get back one day for their breakfast menu though; vegan croissants! Also I’d love to try the vegan burger they offer. And the other cookies I didn’t try yet…so yes, I will be back 🙂

Type of place: breakfast, lunch, café
Completely vegan: yes
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website (French): https://www.bekindcafe.ch/

N & Co by Quinte & Sens (Vevey, Switzerland)

netco_exterior

Quinte & Sens is a shop in Vevey which sells biological products. Attached to it is N&Co, a small café. The entrance to the shop is at on one side of the block, N&Co has its own entrance in a pedestrian area at the other side. (You can also pass through the shop to get to the café)

Food at N&Co
Vegan pastries and savoury snacks!

The café is small, with some seats inside and a small terrace. The food in N & Co is touted to be 100% vegetarian, gluten-free and lactose-free. They use a lot of local, and of course biological products.

There is a counter with some savoury items, a glass display with pastries and sandwiches, a small refrigerated area with pre-made and pre-packaged dishes and drinks, and a salad bar where you can compose your own salad. You order at the counter, pay, and they bring your food after heating it. N&Co does a lot of take-out too, from what I could see when I visited. It was quite busy actually.

Salad bar at N&Co
Salad bar

It was a bit unclear to me if they serve vegetarian or vegan-only food, but when we visited and asked, we were told all the food was vegan! We tried a piece of broccoli savoury pie, empanadas and a lentil salad (from the refrigerated area). All of those got heated (also the lentil salad…I guess it was not a salad 🙂 )  Unfortunately the reheating of the lentil salad was not very thorough, some parts were flaming hot and others were actually cold.  That is too bad since the salad itself was pretty tasty.

Lentil salad at N&Co
Lentil dish

I never really tasted empanadas until I visited New York, were I found a lot of vegan ones and I ate a ton of them. They are generally very tasty, so I was excited to try them! The empanadas at N&Co were okay but lacked a bit of spiciness to me. Maybe because I got used to the spicy NYC version 🙂

Empanadas at N&Co
Empanadas!

My absolute favourite was however the broccoli tart. Apart from broccoli it also has nuts, seeds and mushrooms, which added a nice, earthy taste.

For desserts we choose a prune pie (tarte aux prunes) and a muffin. I really like the prune pie, it was fresh, and not too sweet. The muffin is nice, but quite dense.

We got all the food at once, I guess because we ordered all at the same time. The food ordering process was …. chaotic. But I will talk more about that in a moment.

Food at N&Co
Piece of broccoli pie, prune tart and muffin

If you order food you can get some iced tea for free with it, but they also serve other drinks like juices. We decided to go with the tea (mostly because of aforementioned confusion, we were not comfortable ordering something else).

So, the service. I don’t like being negative, and I want to stress that this was a single visit. Most reviews I read online don’t mention the service at all, or say that it’s great so I think we just got unlucky. But I also want to be honest. The service in the café, when I visited, was not good. It was quite busy and there was only one staff member, so I understand he couldn’t keep up with the people. But the way he reacted was rude and borderline unstable.

When we arrived at N&Co the staff member was on the phone behind the counter.  Assuming he was busy we waited with ordering while checking out the food stuffs on display and trying to make a choice. It all looked good! While still on the phone, the staff member urged us to order anyway. The ordering process was very chaotic, we had to say several times what we wanted. So the moment I wanted to pay he quoted the price. But. He overcharged us by 60CHF (!!!), since he had mis-typed one of the prices(!). Even in Switzerland, that amount is ridiculous. This more than doubled our total ! And he didn’t blink at quoting us that price either.  I noticed the discrepancy and I refused to pay until he had given us the proper bill. He urged us to sit down and resolve it later, since it was busy. However, he was being very rude about it, and behaved erratically. We sat down, got the food. But it was uncomfortable. I am not saying customer is king, but we felt like we were inconveniencing this guy.

After eating our food I again tried to pay and this time we got the right price.  The staff member, now calmed down, apologised for the mix-up and we got our desserts comped because he screwed up before.

Tea at N&Co
Home made, unsweetened iced tea

So yeah, the food was great but the service made it hard to enjoy. It just felt uncomfortable.  If I am in Vevey I might pop by to see who is at the counter and order again. But I won’t go out of my way to visit. There are too many other good places!

Type of place:  café/lunch
Completely vegan:  ?
Vegan desserts: yes

Website (French) : http://quinte-et-sens.bio/

Anat (Groningen, the Netherlands)

Situated in the Noorderplantsoen park, in a beautiful old building, you can find Anat. This cute little café offers breakfast, lunch, drinks, and cakes. And it is all vegan! Both of the times I visited I sat outside, but inside there is also space on the first floor, with a view on the park. Both times I was there the terrace was almost completely full! Fortunately Anat also does take-away.

The philosophy behind Anat is to respect humans, animals and the environment (something I think most of us can get behind) so the ingredients used are mostly biological and preferably local. In addition Anat also offers workshops and food consults.  In the café there is also a small selection of vegan cookbooks for sale.

Sandwich with olives, rucola, hummus and pumpkin
Sandwich with olives, aragula, hummus and pumpkin

The ingredients used in the menu depend on the availability/season but in general the lunch menu is a variation on sandwich, salad and soup. There’s choice of two types of bread for the sandwich or it can be served as a wrap (one of the options is gluten-free). They also offered a combination plate which basically combined all the offerings (for 2 people).

Coffee is served with a selection of milk alternatives, and there’s hot chocolate milk on offer. There’s a variety of (slow) juices and tea. Now the cakes, let’s talk about those. When I last visited there were 4 type of cakes available: chocolate, banana, lavender and cupcakes. I couldn’t resist and tried a bit of each. They were all so delicious!

Picture of a chocolate cake on a plate
Chocolate cake with pumpkin seeds at Anat!

I have visited Anat only for lunch and coffee & cake. Based on that experience I am confident to say that the breakfast is probably great as well!
Type of place: Breakfast/Lunch/Coffee
Completely vegan: yes
Website (Dutch) : http://www.anat.nu/