Akiko (Geneva, Switzerland)

Interior at Akiko

Akiko is a chain of modern Asian fusion restaurants in Geneva. There are currently three locations, and I have visited the one closest to the main train station several times. The restaurant has an East Asian-inspired feel, modern interior and upbeat 90-ties musics. There are plenty of places to plug a phone charger, which is always nice. Apart from eating in, they also do take-out.

Drinks at the counter at Akiko
Choice of drinks and ready made food

The food is East Asian fusion, so think Pad Thai, spring rolls and fried rice. For drinks there is the standard soft drinks, but also some special drinks, like lychee juice. They also have bubble tea! There are quite some vegan options, even for the bubble tea!  It is not completely clear from the menu what is vegan but the staff is pretty helpful.  You order at the counter, pay and you get a little buzzer that tells you when the food is ready.

Interior at Akiko

For the mains there are some pre-configured dishes, but you can also create your own. We tried this, for vegans there are two options: tofu or vegetables, and then you choose either a plate (like noodles or Pad Thai) or rice and a sauce. We tried the Pad Thai version with tofu, which we were told was vegan. However, while we were waiting for our food (with the little timer) someone came to us to say it is usually served with egg! But it was easy to leave it out.  There are also vegan desserts: Japanese Mochi (tiny balls of rice with bean paste, sounds strange and non-dessert-y for those used to Western cuisine, but it tastes great!)

Spring rolls at Akiko
Spring rolls!

We tried the spring rolls, served with a good dipping sauce. The rolls are nice and crispy, fried on the spot.  The Pad Thai is served with mung bean sprouts, noodles, spring onion and peanuts. Tasty and sticky, as it should be! The portion is pretty big by the way. For drinks we had a matcha and taro bubble tea with soy milk.

Food at Akiko
Bubble tea, spring rolls and Pad Thai with tofu

Akiko is a nice place for a quick and filling meal. The staff is nice and accommodating, and food is good.

Type of place : Asian fusion restaurant
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website (French): https://www.akiko.company/#!

Supatra (Versoix, Switzerland)

This tiny Thai restaurant near to the Versoix train station is bigger than it seems! I had passed it a few times but it didn’t register fully as a restaurant. Inside there is quite some space, there are in fact two rooms, and I believe there is also a terrace.

Interior at Supatra
A view on the entrance

We visited Supatra on a bank holiday, for dinner, and we were quite early. It was very quiet, which made me realise there was no background music. It was actually quite pleasant, to just be able to hear the sounds from the kitchen and the outside (since the door was open)

Interoir at Supatra

Supatra also do take-away and catering. There were some other people that came in just after us to make a (large) take-away order (yup, spoiler, that is gonna be important later)

Spring rolls at Supatra
Spring rolls!

For drinks they had some interesting choices, like lychee juice. I completely forgot to make a picture of it though! But it was tasty, nice and looked like juice.

For starters there are a few vegan options: spring rolls with dip sauce, and a papaya salad with peanuts and tomatoes. Unfortunately, the papaya salad was not available any more. So we tried the spring rolls. They were nice, the outside was crunchy. The inside (rice vermicelli and vegetables) was piping hot, so don’t eat those too fast! The sauce it was served with was fine, I don’t know if it was home-made.

Red curry with vegetables at Supatra
Red curry with vegetables

I think the person that served us initially was also the cook, she knew everything about each dish and was very helpful. However, the service was not very fast. This is probably because of the large take-away order made just after we came in. While we were waiting for our mains, some other people also entered and it became clear the restaurant was understaffed. Apart from the cook, there was one other person and I understood it was her first day. At this point the background music was switched on, which I found a bit unpleasant actually since it was quite loud. On the other hand, it did dampen the conversations around us a bit.

Rice at Supatra
Bowls with rice, served separately

For mains there are several vegetarian options, of which some have eggs but others are vegan. For some dishes you can choose the spiciness when you order.  We tried 2 different curries, a mixed vegetable red curry with coconut milk, which has courgette, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. It also had tofu. We also tried a green curry with tofu, courgette and bamboo shoots. It was a bit more creamy than the red one. Both curries were very tasty! They were served with rice, we got no other option. The rice-to-curry ratio was a off, we had quite some curry left, which was unfortunate. Also, and this sounds nit-picky, the portion was quite small. Not all restaurants should choose quantity over quality and should stuff you to the brim, but it was really not a lot.

Green curry at Supatra
Green curry with bamboo and tofu

So yeah room for dessert! There were several options that seemed vegan and tasty, but they had only a few ice creams left! Very unfortunate, since often Thai restaurants have great vegan desserts. So I decided to leave it be, and maybe come back one day.

 

Important detail, on the door there is a sign that they don’t accept credit card. Turns out they don’t accept any type of payment card, which is inconvenient (even though there is a bank across the street) Overall, I liked the food, it was quite refined, albeit not a lot. It was unfortunate they were out of several dishes, and that they were understaffed. Both of these are not insurmountable obstacles though. I’d like to go back to at least try the desserts!

Type of place: Thai Restaurant, Take-out
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: maybe?

Website (French, English) : http://thaisupatra.com/

Chiang Mai Thai (Geneva, Switzerland)

We have had some sombre weather in Switzerland, so what’s better than going out for lunch trying some great food? The restaurant we initially wanted to visit was closed, but fortunately Chiang Mai, a Thai restaurant was open! I have been lucky enough to taste some great Thai food so the bar was set high.

Table at Chiang Mai Thai
Ready to eat!

Like many restaurants, there is a daily (lunch) menu, consisting of a starter and a main. While the daily menu was not vegan, it could be veganised. In general, in every  dish the meat could replaced with tofu.  Nice! To get a full picture of what was available, we had the daily and some items from the general menu.

Spring rolls at Chiang Mai Thai
Spring rolls

The atmosphere in the restaurant is relaxed, but it was a bit dark inside. We started with the spring rolls (from the daily menu) and thod pak (vegetable cakes). The spring rolls were great, very crunchy and not overly greasy.  The thod pak reminded me a bit of Indian pakoras, they were not very doughy, and contained several vegetables; courgette, broccoli, cauliflower, and onion.

 

Thod pak at Chiang Mai Thai
Beautiful dish! Vegetables cakes with sauce.

For our main course we had a curry with tofu subbed from the daily menu, and sautéed noodles with vegetables and tofu  (goei thew phad phak). The curry had a nice mix of sweet coconut flavour with the spiciness from the curry. The sautéed noodles were tasty, and a lot. There was a lot of vegetables in there as well, so that is good.

Tofu curry at Chiang Mai Thai
Tofu curry

As I hoped, Chiang Mai has several vegan desserts! The mango- sticky rice dessert I hoped to try was not available due to absence of sticky rice, so we got just the mango. We also tried a rice banana combination, which was interesting and sweet.

Noodles at Chiang Mai Thai
Huge heap of noodles with veggies and tofu

Price wise…well it is the centre of Geneva, so it is not cheap, but it is not extreme either, especially if you choose the daily menu. The service was good, and the staff was also accommodating when it came to adjusting dishes.

Dessert at Chiang Mai Thai
Dessert of rice and banana
Type of place: Thai restaurant
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website : https://www.facebook.com/Chiang-Mai-Thai-Restaurant-164757043539008/

Aux 3 elephants (Paris, France)

This Thai restaurant is located on a quiet street in the centre of Paris. The restaurant itself was bustling! I have had good experiences with Thai food, and a quick glance on the menu showed a complete “vegetarian” section, which is always promising. Thai cuisine tends to be milk-free, but eggs are used for example in noodles. So, I asked the staff whether any of the vegetarian dishes were vegan. After a short discussion I found that all the “vegetarian” dishes are actually vegan! Even better, but a bit confusing.  However, the word vegetarian used to denote what is vegan now, maybe that is why.

Coconut drink at aux 3 elephants
Coconut drink

After the initial confusion was cleared up, we ordered our drinks. I had the coconut water, which had actual pieces of coconut. Can recommend! Since we didn’t feel very hungry we skipped the starter. For the main course we had a curry with vegetables and tofu with cashew nuts, with normal and sticky rice as sides. The sticky rice was particularly nice, and it came in a small basket! The curry was a bit spicy but not overtly so.

Rice and tofu dish at aux 3 elephants
Tofu with vegetables and peanuts dish and the little basket with sticky rice

There were actual vegan desserts! This was not marked clearly on the menu, so it was a nice surprise. I had a dessert with mango, sticky rice and coconut milk.  This combination was simply heavenly! It was very sweet, but not overtly so. The taste of the mango and coconut milk go very well together, and in this simple dish they really shine!

Curry with rice at aux 3 elephants
Curry with rice

The only thing what bothered me was the confusion between the waiter and me about what was vegan and what not, which might be caused by the language barrier (my French is okay, but I am far from fluent). Also my question on whether the dessert was vegan was answered a bit snappily. On the one hand, it was a busy night. On the other hand, restaurants don’t put a full ingredient list on their menu. I rather ask and be sure, then not order to be on the safe side. Especially since Aux 3 Elephants serves desserts that do have egg and milk and this is not clearly marked on the menu card.

I think this might be a general thing that vegans (or those with allergies) can come across.

Mango, coconut milk, sticky rice at aux 3 elephants
Mango, coconut milk, sticky rice ❤

Overall, my experience was a pleasant one!  The service was extremely fast, the prices good and the food delicious. I would definitively go back!

 

Type of place: Thai restaurant
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website (French) : http://www.aux3elephants.com/