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/

Swagat (Vevey, Switzerland)

 

While researching Vevey as a short introduction for this post I found on Wikipedia that it is known to be the last home of Charlie Chaplin, it houses the head quarters of Nestlé  and there is a beautiful lakeside promenade. I would have loved to go to the promenade, but as it was the middle of winter it was cold and dark…the view of Lake Geneva from the promenade will have to wait a few months.

Let’s talk about what I did do in Vevey. I went to an Indian restaurant, Swagat, and it was pretty good. The place itself has a nice décor, it is quite spacious. There is a buffet, with a fixed price. (For lunch there’s also buffet on weekdays which is in fact cheaper for vegetarians!) From what I could see there were not that many options at the buffet. We took from the menu, so that we could sample more different things. There were quite some vegan choices, and there are vegan flat breads in the form of paratha!

Samosas at Swagat
Samosas

Usually when in Indian restaurants your get a small appetizer in the form of papadums, crunchy chickpea crackers, with some different sauces. Not at Swagat which was a bit surprising. A small nit to pick, but since these appetizers are so ubiquitous I noticed their absence.

Pakora at Swagat
Vegetable pakora

We started with two of my favourite dishes: pakora and samosas. Both of these looked beautiful on their plate! The pakora were a little bit spicy. The vegetables were mixed before being fried, so they had a quite nice structure. And they were delicious, which is the most important! The samosa were good too, they were not very oily, as they can be sometimes.

Biryani and aloo gobi at Swagat
Vegetable biryani to the left, aloo gobi to the right. Not pictured: parathas and huge amount of rice

For the main we tried the aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower) and a vegetable biryani. The biryani comes usually with yoghurt sauce, which was left out here. A nice touch from the staff, I think, not to put it on the table for it to be not eaten anyway. The biryani was tasty but there were some strange spice globs in the dish. The aloo gobi was good too, it was a bit spicy but not too much. It came with a bit too much rice though!

Gulab jamun at Swagat
Gulab jamun for dessert!

Swagat also offers vegan desserts: sorbet ice and gulab jamun. I was surprised that the latter didn’t contain milk, and asked the waiter twice. But it was really vegan, so that is a nice surprise! The gulab jamun was very sweet, and somehow partially heated, which is unfortunate.

Overall Swagat is a bit more expensive, especially if you opt to choose from the menu card rather than the buffet. The food was good, the place itself was pretty busy. The staff was helpful about finding vegan items, which is always nice.

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

Website (French):  http://swagat.ch/