One Planet (Kyiv, Ukraine)

 

One Planet is a fully vegan restaurant in Kyiv. It was in the fact the first fully vegan restaurant in Ukraine! The restaurant is located a bit away from the main street, and it is rather small. There is some place to sit, and I believe there is a terrace when the weather is nice. They do take-away as well.

Interior at One Planet

One Planet serves burgers, soups, salads, drinks and desserts. There is a menu in English available. We tried the “black burger”, a burger of potatoes, bamboo and corn, served on a black bun, and a quasadilla with ‘vegan cheese’ made from soy and chick peas. There are not really any side dishes like fries or so available.

Hot drink at One Planet
Healthy hot drink with spices and fruit

I was hoping to get a milk shake (pretty ubiquitous in Kyiv, so not a strange request) but there were none so I got a “health drink” made with ginger and slices of fruits. It was very tasty!

Burger at One Planet
Black burger

The food was presented in a very beautiful way. The quasadilla was pink! It was more like a wrap, not very cheese-y, but tasty nonetheless. The burger was served with a nice spicy mustard sauce which went well with the soft taste of the burger. I have to say the burger was a bit smaller than expected.

Quasadilla at One Planet
Pink quasadilla

Of course we had a dessert! There were several options, we tried the Napoleon and the blue berry cheesecake. The Napoleon, made with coconut cream, was very creamy, almost gooey but in a good way.  The blue berry cheesecake is made with cashews and coconut milk but I found the coconut taste to be pretty overpowering. The texture of the cake was interesting, it was not very smooth, but not in an unpleasant way.

Desserts at One Planet
Desserts! On top the Napoleon and below the blueberry cheesecake

The service is okay, it was a bit awkward since the space is small and we were the only guests,  the servers were hovering around us a bit. The food was nice, but the portions rather small. And to be honest, it was actually a bit expensive for what we got. Especially in Kyiv where food is often very reasonably priced. With the menu in English too (albeit with some creative translation), we had the idea this place caters mostly to foreigners, rather than locals.

Blue berry cheesecake at One Planet

Type of place :  vegan restaurant
Completely vegan: yes
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website (Ukrainian) : https://www.facebook.com/oneplanetfamily/

SNCKBR/ Waku Waku (Utrecht, the Netherlands)

SNCKBR? Yes, it is time for another place to get our healthy vegan junk food on! Amsterdam has the Vegan Junkfood Bar but Utrecht is coming on strong with SNCKBR.  Fun fact, there were several other SNCKBR (3 I believe) which were non-vegan and they all closed, while the all-vegan SNCKBR is going strong! Survival of the fittest !

When I visited at the end of last year the places was called SNCKBR, but the name has been changed to Waku Waku in 2019. It seems the menu is largely the same, but it seems they wanted to get away from the ‘junk food’ idea.

Kitchen at SNCKBR/Wakuwaku
View on the kitchen

We were in Utrecht, fresh of the plane, to get a late lunch. SNCKBR describes their dishes as healthy comfort food, they use fresh produce, and organic when possible. Their food is free from refined sugars and artificial additives. I am not sure if that makes it healthy, but reading their menu card I completely agree with the comfort food part!  Think: fries, burgers, Peking luck, kibbeh, etc. The menu card also nicely notes any potential allergens that could be in the dishes. There is a lunch and a dinner card, which have some overlap.

Interior at SNCKBR/Wakuwaku
Hello little monkey friend

The place itself is very spacious, and very nicely decorated.  It is also conveniently located extremely close to Utrecht central station. It was not very busy when we visited, since we arrived at such a strange hour for lunch (few Dutch people would have lunch at 1430 :)). The atmosphere is very relaxed, and they played some Rolling Stones oldies. The waiting staff was superfriendly and we had some great conversations.

Table at SNCKBR/Wakuwaku

The food took a bit longer, probably because we arrived at a bit of a strange time between lunch and dinner. It was well worth the wait! First off, the presentation is more than beautiful. It was almost a shame to eat the food.

Burger and fries at SNCKBR/Wakuwaku
Burger with salad, and sweet potato fries with truffle mayo

The burger is served with salad and sauce. The salad consists of beets, potato and small carrots. The bun of the burger is nice and soft. I don’t know what the patty is made of, there is not really an overpowering taste, but it is a bit mushroom-y  (according to me) or meat-y (according to a non-veggie). The sweet potato fries are served with mayonnaise and are delicious, and perfectly crispy.

Kapsalon at SNCKBR/Wakuwaku
Vegan “kapsalon”

The ‘double dutch kapsalon’ is a variation on the monstrosity, I mean eclectic combination of foods, called kapsalon; a layer of fries, a layer of shawarma, a layer of cheese and on top  lettuce and a variety of sauces. The kapsalon served at SNCKBR consists of sweet potato fries, pulled jackfruit, vegan cheese and a salad similar to what is served with the burger.

SNCKBR serves several types of sodas, fresh juices, lemonades, coffee and tea.  But they also served alcoholic drinks, like wine, beer, and cocktails.  I had an elderflower lemonade which I think went very nicely with the food:)

Tiramisu at SNCKBR/Wakuwaku
Tiramisu, non-conventional presentation

For dessert there are several choices, there is a cake of the day, a brownie, fudge, and more! When we visited there was tiramisu on the menu, but I think it is no longer available. The tiramisu is prepared with speculoos and coconut yoghurt. I found the taste of speculoos overpowering, which I don’t mind since I love it, but it was not the tiramisu taste I had expected. I also tried the “kerststol”, a type of Dutch christmas bread which contains dried fruits, raisins and a centre of almond paste. Usually they are not vegan, so I was excited to try this vegan version! It was indeed very nice, a bit dry maybe.

Kerststol at SNCKBR/Wakuwaku
Kerststol and latte

For the coffee there are several plant milks available, and you can even get vegan whipped cream! The coffee is served with a small chocolate, the perfect way to end a delicious vegan meal!

So my main problem with SNCKBR, or Waku waku, is that it is very far from where I live. The atmosphere of this place is great, the staff friendly and the food is just delicious!

Interior at SNCKBR/Wakuwaku
Very lush and green interior

 

Type of place: Vegan Restaurant
Completely vegan: yes
Vegan desserts: yes!
Website (Dutch, English):

https://www.snckbr.com/SNCKBRUTRECHT/ (old)

https://wakuwaku.nl/ (new)

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/

Veganism in: Ethiopian & Eritrean Cuisine

Somehow I never really was exposed to Ethiopian and Eritrean food before coming to Switzerland. I am not sure how common Ethiopian restaurants are around the world, but it was somehow not on my radar. Which is very unfortunate since I have been missing out. Turns out Ethiopian food is delicious and great for vegans! I have discussed several Ethiopian restaurants on my blog and I actually go back to those quite often. So, if you still haven’t tried: you are missing out.

Once again, I want to iterate that with this article I will just provide a basic overview. The culture and cuisine of Ethiopia and Eritrea is, like all cultures,  very extensive. Please check the sources below for more information. Especially the second link is full of information (it is a blog companion to a book)

Ethiopia and Eritrea

Notice in the title I mention Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. Eritrea used to be part of Ethiopia, it separated after a long fight for independence. The cuisines are quite similar, except in Eritrea, which has a coast, more seafood is consumed. Also, since this part was colonised by Italy longer, there are some specific pasta dishes found in Eritrea. I noticed several Ethiopian restaurants call themselves “Ethiopian and Eritrean” so I am sure they don’t mind I bunch them together here.

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Sambusas at Awash (Geneva)

Ethiopia is a pretty special country with a history longer than most. Literally. Since some of the oldest modern human skeletons have been found in Ethiopia. It is also the region from where the first modern humans travelled to the Middle-East and beyond. And, little known fact maybe, but it was one of the first countries that adopted Christianity as a state religion. Christians still make up the greater part of the population, followed by Islam. While initially the Ethiopian Orthodox church was part of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, it separated in 1959.

Food

Which is a nice segue to get onto the food, because that is what we are here to talk about! Orthodox Christianity prescribes several fasting days and periods, called tsom in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, during which animal products are excluded from the menu (similar as Pist of Post in Ukraine). This means that Ethiopian cuisine has several specifically vegan dishes, which are commonly eaten during these fasting periods.

Most Ethiopian dishes are in the form of thick, spicy stews, called wat or wot. These stews are served on top of injera, a large, thin, circular pancake made of fermented teff flour. Teff is a type of grass, and one of the earliest cultivated plants. The injera has a very specific taste due to the fermentation, and an almost spongy texture. It serves as a plate, and also as utensils; pieces are torn of to scoop up the stews (with the right hand!). In most Ethiopian restaurants you don’t get utensils (unless you ask nicely:)) and I have to say learning to efficiently eat one-handedly was a bit of a struggle, but you’ll get the hang of it quickly.

Injera at a table in Zara2001
Injera with salad and shiro wat – notice the holes in the injera – great for soaking up the stew juices!

During non-fasting days, different types of meat are used (apart from pork and shell-fish for religious reasons). Some dairy products are used, specifically clarified butter, niter kibbeh, for cooking (this is substituted by different types of oils during the fasting periods).  Legumes such as lentils, chick peas, and split peas are used in stews as well. Common vegetables are potatoes, onions, garlic, chard, carrots, tomatoes. For spices, the ‘berbere’ spice mix, which contains chilli peppers is very common. Some less spicy stews rely more heavy on turmeric.

Desserts are not really part of the Ethiopian food culture. The desserts that are exist are mostly imported from other cultures, like from the Italian and Arabic cuisines. The Ethiopian restaurants I have been too mostly serve Western-style desserts, or baklava. Of course Ethiopian-style sweets and pastries do exist, they are just not commonly eaten as desserts.

Drinks

Of course you can find a lot of global brands of drinks, like soft drinks, beer and wine in Ethiopia. But there are also some specific traditional drinks. However, in restaurants outside of Ethiopia, those drinks might be less common.

Let’s start with one of the most important beverages in Ethiopia:  Coffee. Traditionally it is made in a clay pot (jebena), and the beans are roasted on the spot. There is a whole coffee ceremony surrounding the drinking of coffee, which can take hours. Coffee is consumed with salt or sugar, and in some regions niter kibbeh is added to it.

For alcoholic beverages, there is tej (honey wine),  tella (beer made from barley) and areki, a strong liquor made of grain. In general beer is the most popular alcoholic drink, and in many Ethiopian restaurants several kinds of Ethiopian beer are served in addition to the local drinks.  Kenetto is a drink similar to tella, but without alcohol.

 

Zara2001 Interior
Mesob at a table at Zara2001 (Geneva)

Vegan dishes in Ethiopian restaurants

My exposure to Ethiopian food has purely been in restaurants outside of Ethiopia, so similar as for article on Indian food, there might be a Western cultural influence at play I am not aware of. What I have seen and eaten does line up with most of what I have read about the food, and most of the places I went to were also frequented by people from Ethiopia, so my guess is that it is relatively accurate. I do think the spiciness might be tuned down a bit 🙂

In all Ethiopian restaurants I have visited there is a clear distinction between the meat and vegetarian/vegan dishes on the menu card. In general the vegetarian dishes are okay for vegans to, just make sure there is no butter used. I found in most restaurants it is common to get several stews at once, which is similar to how the food is served in Ethiopia.

The stews are served on a (couple of) injera, and often accompanied by a salad made of greens, onions and tomatoes. Also, commonly the food is served in a sort of ‘sharing style’, where there is one main platter for several people. This platter is often presented in a mesob, a woven wicker basket. Traditionally these come on a foot, and all diners will sit around it to eat. Smaller versions that can fit on a dinner table exist as well.

Food at Awash
Salad, gomen wat, shiro wat, kik alecha and misir wat served on several injera

Sambusa/samosa: dough triangles filled with lentils (vegan version). Served as a starter

Injera: the sour-dough pancake made of teff

Shiro wat : mild chick pea stew, made from powdered chick peas. When I first had it I thought it was made from peanuts! It is very soft and creamy. (Careful, it occasionally contains niter kebbeh!)

Misir wat: red lentil stew with berbere spices

Kik alecha: yellow split peas, the alecha is a milder type of  stew made with turmeric

Gomen wat: Collard greens stew. I have mostly seen this dish made with spinach.

There are many more variations on these stews but these are the ones I have seen the most! Wow, writing this post made me crave some Ethiopian food! I am going to have to plan my next stop at an Ethiopian restaurant…I recently discovered some new ones 😀

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_cuisine

https://ethiopianfood.wordpress.com/ *

* This is a whole series of posts, all very interesting!

https://www.africanbites.com/ethiopian-collard-greens/

http://www.thegourmetgourmand.com/ethiopian-shiro-wat/

https://asoulfulappetite.com/african-cuisine/misir-and-shiro-wat-ethiopian-101/

https://allaboutethio.com/tfoodndrinks.html

 

 

Mama Tierra (Athens, Greece)

Mama Tierra Interior

 

Mama Tierra, or “Mother Earth” in Spanish, is a fully vegan restaurant in Athens.  It was the first meal we had in Athens, so it set the standard!

The atmosphere inside is relaxed, with jazzy music. It is not a very big place, and it was rather empty when we were there.

Menu at Mama Tierra

Mama Tierra is open for lunch and dinner, providing “healthy and delicious food for all” (their words). Where possible they use local and organic products. In fact on the menu it is mentioned they buy all veggies fresh each day and they mention which ingredients may be frozen. Apart from dining-in, there is the option for take-out, delivery, and Mama Tierra also does catering.

Sweet potato hummus at Mama Tierra
Sweet potato hummus & pita

There is enough choice on the menu without being overwhelming. Several dishes are also gluten-free. Mama Tierra serves soups, starters, salads, burgers and “ethnic” options (Greek/ Middle-Eastern, Indian and Mexican options). Of course there are desserts and drinks as well!

We started with the sweet potato hummus which is served with caramelised onions and pita bread. The hummus is very tasty, with a nice acidity.

Mousakas at Mama Tierra
Mousakas – top view – look at that bechamel layer !

After we had the mushroom burger: made with different types of mushrooms and served with vegan cheese, caramelised onions and home-made mayonnaise. The burger is served with patatas bravas and BBQ sauce. The patty itself very tasty, with nice wholegrain bread, and the vegan cheese has a proper melt going on. The BBQ sauce was good too, very smokey and a bit spicey. The patatas themselves were a bit disappointing, maybe they had been reheated, but they weren’t very crunchy.

Mushroom burger at Mama Tierra
Mushroom burger with patatas bravas and BBQ sauce

We also tried the mousakas, a traditional Greek oven dish which is normally made with layers of meat, aubergine and tomato, topped with bechamel sauce. This vegan version was made with beans and veggies in the ‘meat’ layer, and potato at the bottom. The bechamel sauce, based on coconut milk, was perfection; nice, thick, soft and creamy. Almost a bit sweet. It was also piping hot, so don’t dig in too fast 🙂

Mousakas at Mama Tierra

Mama Tierra of course also serves desserts, but too be honest we were full-up after the food and pretty tired after the travel. I guess I’ll have to get back one day to check out the desserts!

 

Type of place: Vegan Restaurant
Completely vegan: yes
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website (Greek, English): https://www.mamatierra.gr/

Veganaki (Athens, Greece)

Bar at Veganaki

During my holidays in Athens we were staying conveniently close to an all-vegan place! I swear I didn’t plan it, but nevertheless it was a nice coincidence. Might as well use the opportunity to check it out, right?

Veganaki serves classic Greek street food – in vegan form. They are open the whole day, so you can pop in for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in between. Veganaki serves coffee, tea, juices, beer and wine, pita wraps, sandwiches, salads, traditional savoury pies in several flavours and sweets. There are several gluten-free options available as well.

Freddo cappuccino at Veganaki
Freddo cappuccino

The café itself is quite small, there are some spaces inside and a nice terrace. However, the terrace is close to a busy street, so for seasoned big-city dwellers, or in the early morning when there’s less traffic. Inside the atmosphere is calm and cosy. The menu is available both in Greek and in English. They use fair trade coffee, and disposable and biodegradable packaging.

Cake at Veganaki
Cake with raisins!

I visited Veganaki twice, first to just check out the place and get some coffee and a piece of cake.  We tried a “freddo cappuccino”, a variation of Greek cold coffee. Freddo cappuccino is cold, foamed (plant) milk over espresso and ice. The freddo espresso is just the espresso over ice. Both of these are different from frappé, which is normally made of instant coffee. With the coffee we had a piece of home made cake with raisins. I really enjoyed the cake, the texture was very nice and fluffy.

Breakfast at Veganaki
The full breakfast table!

We returned another day to Veganaki to try the breakfast options. We had a toast with vegan cheese and tomato, a piece of courgette pie and a “lachanoulis” pita. The pita wraps and traditional pies can also be served as plates, including additional salad for a small surcharge. For drinks we had an orange juice and a mixed fruit juice, gottta work on those vitamins after all 🙂

The toast was basic and a bit dry, but that is also just the nature of toast.  The other toasts available are more common in vegan cafes; with hummus or avocado. I wanted to try the tomato-cheez version, since I used to eat those myself quite often, and they are a bit more special. I mean, vegan sandwich without hummus are pretty rare! (No hate for hummus, I love that stuff! But it is a bit of a vegan default option)

Savoury courgette pie and toasty at Veganaki
Tomato-cheez toast and a piece of courgette savoury pie

The courgette traditional pie was very nice, it was not too dry and not too soggy, good consistency. The lachanoulis pita; a pita wrap with home-made vegetable burgers, tomato, lettuce, mustard and home made vegan tzatziki, was good too. The sauce inside was just slightly spicy, which went well with the vegetable filling.

Pita wrap at Veganaki
Pita wrap! Filled with home made vegetable fritters, veggies and sauces

I really liked Veganaki, the atmosphere is nice, the food is good and very reasonably priced (especially for people travelling from Switzerland :D) and the staff is very friendly!

Toasty at Veganaki
Sunny breakfast in Athens ❤
Type of place: Greek vegan street food
Completely vegan: yes
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website  : https://www.facebook.com/VeganakiGR/

 

Cookoomela Grill (Athens, Greece)

We found Cookoomela via Happy Cow; most vegans know about this great website, and if you don’t go check it! It is very useful to find vegan eateries in many different cities all over the world. For my blog, I prefer to write about places that are not ‘known’ to be vegan-friendly or listed on HappyCow … everyone likes to be the first to discover and report on a cool place! Honestly, it is difficult to find really “uncharted” new places since HappyCow is pretty extensive…. #firstworldveganproblems 😀 So I don’t mind to give a longer review on a “known” vegan place once in a while **

Cookoomela Grill

Cookoomela Grill is a completely vegan street food-style eatery. They make gyros, a traditional Greek meat dish,  from mushrooms and they serve kebab made of lentils. The place itself is very small. There are a few places outside to sit, and it was very busy. I believe they do mostly take-away. Fortunately, this type of food is made to be eaten on the go!

Cookoomela grill
Mushroom ‘gyros’ on the grill

Cookoomela Grill offers a few variants of stuffed pita, fries and a salad. We tried two of the pita, the “Cookoomela Kebab”; the lentil kebab with potato, homemade tomato sauce, salad and almond cream cheese, served wrapped in a pita, and the “Cookoomela Red”, a pita with mushroom gyros, avocado, home made tomato sauce, vegan mayonnaise, salad and potatoes (I only got a blurry picture of this one, it was already pretty dark!)

Ingredients at Cookoomela Grill
Pita ingredients

Even though Cookoomela is very small, they serve vegan desserts. Cannoli (are they the new hip vegan dessert?) in two flavours: chocolate and vanilla.

Lentil kebab pita from Cookoomela Grill
Lentil ‘kebab’ pita with veggies and almond cream cheez

 

I really like the street-food style and the vegan interpretation of classic dishes of the Cookoomela Grill. It was great to see this small place so busy as well. The only downside is that there’s not so much space to sit, but the food can be eaten while walking pretty easily.

** Not an ad (I wish!)

 

Type of place: vegan street food
Completely vegan:  yes
Vegan desserts: yes !

Website (Greek, English) : http://cookoomela.gr/