Takinoa (Nyon, Switzerland)

takinoa_entrance

Takinoa is a Swiss chain of restaurants, founded in 2013.  They are located in the cantons of Geneva and Vaud.  The name ‘Takinoa’ is a combination of the Greek “taki”, meaning speed, combined with ‘no’, so ‘no speed’ or slow. It is also a play on the pronunciation of the word ‘quinoa’, a famed super food. Additionally, their slogan is “food for joy”. Takinoa focuses of food which is good for the consumer, but also the environment. They use local, preferably organic, seasonal and biological products. But they also limit the amount of sugar and salt added to the food. More than half of the dishes they serve are gluten-free, lactose-free and vegetarian. There is also some choice in vegan dishes.

Refrigerator at Takinoa
Available food in the fridge; vegan, vegetarian, lactose- and gluten-free labelled

There is a changing menu, with juices, smoothies, salads, wrap, desserts, and (hot) bowls. The food itself is pre-made, packaged and refrigerated. For each item it is clearly listed if it is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-or lactose-free. They do use recycled plastic, but still it seems a bit wasteful, especially with the environmental message. The food that gets reheated is packaged in glass.

Cookies at Takinoa
Vegan cookies and energy balls at the bar

So you pick the food from the refrigerator, then you pay at the counter. You can also order the daily soup and drinks there. On the counter is also an assortment of cookies and cakes. There were even a few vegan cookies! When applicable the food is heated by the staff, and brought to you together with any drinks you ordered. After eating, you put your tray and the boxes, cutlery and bowls in the correct place. The procedure, and even the bowls reminded me of N & Co by Quinte & Sens. Service was less traumatic here fortunately.

Interior at Takinoa
Water is available for free

That is how it works, now what did we eat! I planned to visit Takinoa for a while, since I had the idea there was a lot of vegan stuff since I had been told it was all vegetarian. When I arrived, I found out that was not really the case. Takinoa mentions on their site that 70% of their food is vegetarian and 20% vegan, and that seemed about right with what I saw. I was happy to see that there were some vegan desserts, and the vegan dishes available were not only salads 🙂

Food at Takinoa
Pumpkin soup with bread, mango lassi, quinoa bowl and soba noodle salad

 

We tried the pumpkin soup, a quinoa bowl, a soba noodle salad and two desserts. I also had a small mango lassi (vegan, made with almond milk and curcuma) but I have to report it was not that great, it didn’t really have the mango taste I expected. The pumpkin soup was nice and thick, served with a generous piece of rustic bread. I do think the soup needed some more seasoning, but I guess this falls in line with the idea of Takinoa using less salt.

Noodle salad at Takinoa
Soba noodle salad with prunes, veggies and nuts. To the left the dressing we picked with it

The quinoa bowl was served warm, or rather flaming hot. Eat carefully! The bowl contained, apart from the quinoa, apple, carrot, some other seasonal vegetables, and balsamic vinegar. It was nice, the apple gave a natural sweetness to the dish. The soba noodle salad was very tasty, it had edamame beans, prunes, broccoli, a few sweet potato pieces, some mushrooms, salad and several types of seeds. We could choose our own dressing for the salad, but there was already some in the dish itself.

Apple crumble at Takinoa
Apple crumble dessert!

We tried two desserts;  an apple crumble with cinnamon and pistachio and a pudding-y dessert with Matcha tea and steamed pear. The apple crumble was just apple sauce with some crumble on top…a bit disappointing. The pudding was nicer, it was topped with goji berries, and had a very interesting texture.

Pudding dessert at Takinoa
Matcha pudding with steamed pear and goji berries

Afterwards, I had a coffee with a vegan cookie. The cookie was a bit salty, it went quite well with coffee. They also have vegan ‘energy balls’.

Coffee at Takinoa
Coffee with plant-milk and a cookie

Overall the food was okay, but a bit on the expensive side. If you take-out, the food it is a bit cheaper.

Type of place: health food
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website (French): http://takinoa.com/

Sultan (Nyon, Switzerland)

 

While I have been posting reviews of restaurants for several months now, somehow there has been a lack of Indian food here! Indian food is known to be great for vegetarians, and I think most restaurants also have vegan dishes, but it depends on the regional cuisine. For example, cream or ghee (a dairy product) are used in some cuisines more than in others.

Sultan interior
Tables at Sultan

The first Indian restaurant I’d like to discuss today is Sultan, in Nyon. During the “Christmas break”, when I visited, it was one of the few places that were open! We went for early lunch, and it was not very busy, which is probably due to the holidays. The atmosphere of the restaurant is modern, a bit bistro-like even, compared to (the many) other Indian restaurants that I have been to.

Onion badji at Sultan
Onion bhaji (before I ate all of them :D) and the salads on the buffet table

Sultan has a lunch deal, a self-service buffet with a fixed price. Naans (which are vegan!) and drinks are not included. The buffet itself is small but sufficient. There are several vegan options, and the staff knows which ones are vegan. Everything is accessible at once, but can be defined as starters/mains/desserts.

Vegan naan bread at Sultan
Vegan naan!

For starters there are delicious onion bhaji, a cucumber salad, and an apple- beet salad. The beet salad was interesting, and a bit sweet.  The vegan “main” options are rice with chick peas, dal tarka, basmati rice and vegetables (cauliflower and potato). There are some lychees for dessert, but I believe there are more dessert options at the dinner service (Not sure if those are vegan)

Dal at Sultan
Dal Tarka at the buffet table
Overall the food was of a good quality, and I am always happy to find vegan naans! The price is fitting for the food that is available. I hope to go back to Sultan for dinner one day.
Type of place: Indian restaurant, buffet
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes

Website (French, English): http://www.sultanindian.ch/

Ex-Machina (Nyon, Switzerland)

A short review today! Ex-Machina in Nyon is a café that offers a relaxed atmosphere and delicious coffee! The café is very spacious with cosy seats. A nice place for a coffee and a good book.

Blackboard with specialty coffees at Ex Machina
Special coffees at Ex Machina

Ex Machina specialises in coffee in its different forms. Apart from the standard espresso machine, they use different methods such as an aeropress. There are also other hot drinks available, such as matcha (my favourite!) and hot chocolate.  They offer several milk alternatives, like almond, soy and oat milk. There were some pastries available, but I don’t believe there were any  vegan options. Additionally, there is also a small shop section with coffee, tea, mugs and the like.

Almond matcha latte at Ex Machina
Almond matcha latte

Normally they have food on offer, but I visited Ex-Machina during the “Christmas Break” when the kitchen was closed, so I cannot comment on that. However, from their FaceBook page it seems that they have some possible vegan dishes.

 

Type of place: Coffee
Completely vegan:no
Website:  http://cafeexmachina.com/  (Under construction), but see https://www.facebook.com/ExMachinaCafe/