Cafe l’Ami-ami(Neuchâtel, Switzerland)

A few weeks ago I was in the beautiful town of Neuchâtel to see one of my favourite bands live! They didn’t tour for a few years, and I saw completely by chance they were going to perform near my current home town. And to properly prepare for an evening of headbanging on platform heels, you gonna need some good food!

Initially I wanted to go to a fully vegan place in Neuchâtel, but unfortunately, like so many fully vegan places in Switzerland, that place is only open during the week, and I happened to be in Neuchâtel on a Saturday. After some further investigation, I found on HappyCow the Cafe l’Ami-Ami, a restaurant with vegan options that serves Isreali food in the Jewish culinary tradition. Sounds interesting!

Interior at Cafe l'Ami-Ami

The reviews were positive, and without getting ahead of myself, I can already say I agree!  We didn’t reserve and arrived just in time to get the last free spot. The place is very small, and very busy. The atmosphere is relaxed, like a nice corner eatery. There were all different kinds of people, which is also nice to see. Cafe l’Ami-ami also does catering, and they sell some of their products in a little shop, like hummus and teas.

Table at Cafe l'Ami-Ami

Cafe l’Ami-Ami is not purely vegan or vegetarian, but there is a vegetarian menu with several vegan dishes. These are not specifically marked, but the kind owner will help with picking the vegan ones. It is also possible to veganise some of the vegetarian dishes. The falafel, vegetable balls and melaouah are vegan, and there are some vegan sandwiches as well.

Melaouah at Cafe l'Ami-Ami
Melaouah with tomato sauce and spicy sauce at the side

We tried the melaouah for starter, then the falafel with salad and sauces, and the vegetable fritters with fries and a small salad. I had read about the melaouah (or malawach), so I was very curious! It is Yemeni speciality, and it resembles a pancake made of thin layers of puff pastry, which are folded. The result is a very crusty exterior, and a soft inside, the taste is almost buttery, very interesting and delicious! It is served with a spicy sauce and a fresh tomato sauce, with coriander and onion. The light sauce fits well with the more heavy pastry. Definitively a new favourite of mine!

Falafel plate at Cafe l'Ami-Ami
Middle-Eastern plate of yum: falafel, salad, sauces and pita

The falafel either comes with pita and a small salad, or two sides of choice.  It is also possible to order them as an ‘add-on’ to the ‘complete’ salad with sauces, which is what we did. This ‘complete’ salad is served with hummus, tahin, tomato-bellpepper sauce,  smoked aubergine sauce, 2 pita breads and home made green salad (salad leaves, tomato, cucumber, onion). Since the smoked aubergine is not vegan, the owner suggested to swap it for an additional tomato-and-bellpepper sauce.I assumed the aubergine sauce would be like baba ganoush, so it was unfortunate that it wasn’t vegan but I think the tomato sauce made up for it. The falafel is very nice and crispy and all the sauces were good too! The vegetable fritters were served with fries and a similar small salad. The fritters were nice and soft, and nicely spiced. The fries were okay, not too special. Probably because the rest of the food was so nice, the fries were a bit basic 🙂

Vegetable fritters and fries at Cafe l'Ami-Ami
Vegetable fritters, salad and fries

I really enjoyed my visit to Cafe l’Ami-ami! It is nice to experience different types of food and cuisines. I really liked the food, the owner was helpful and kind and the place has a great atmosphere.

Interior at Cafe l'Ami-Ami

Type of place :  Middle Eastern/Jewish restaurant
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: ?

Website (French): http://cafe-ami-ami.ch/

Hummus House (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

The Hummus House. What can be better than an eatery fully focused on one of the staples of the vegan diet! While the Hummus house is not fully vegan, there are many options for vegans. The most important part, the hummus itself, is vegan.

Open kitchen at Hummus house
Eat hummus – Be happy

The Hummus House is a fast-casual place. The atmosphere is chill, there is jazz music playing. I believe they also do take-away.

hummushouse_interior

The food is prepared in the open kitchen and comes out fast. There is a hummus plate, which comes with pita, pickles and two types of sauces (a spicy sauce, and a garlic & lemon sauce, both are vegan). Then there are possibilities for add-ons such as fava beans, or eggs. I added the aubergine, which was great! You can also order additional extras like more pita bread, pickles or chopped almonds. The hummus was very good, full of taste and very creamy. The pitas were nice and fluffy, the garlic lemon sauce was quite sharp, the other sauce indeed pretty spicy.  I liked the addition of the pickles, I never thought to combine them but the sour pickles go well with the creamy hummus.

Hummus plate at Hummus house
Hummus with eggplant, pitas, pickles and two sauces

The Hummus House also serves main dishes, like aubergine, baked potatoes or roasted veggies, salads, and special tapas such as matbuka, a dish with roasted bell pepper, or mushrooms. I would totally go for the hummus plate though, it is pretty amazing.

Dessert at Hummus House
Coconut malabi!

The Hummus House serves several desserts, and there is also a vegan option!  This dessert, coconut malabi, is based on coconut custard with almonds and coconut flakes, which was very tasty! I really like to be able to try desserts like this, which are (based on) traditional recipes, instead of the standard ice cream that many non-Western restaurants offer.

 

Coffee with speculoos at Hummus House

For drinks they have several juices and home-made drinks, soda pop and warm drinks like coffee and tea. I tried the home-made lemonade. It comes with sugar water, which was needed since the lemonade was quite sour! I like to be able to dose the amount of sugar I need in my drinks, so I really liked this idea.

Type of place: Middle-eastern
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes !

Website (English) : https://www.hummushouse.nl/