Enter into one of Geneva’s most delicious restaurants. I finally got to savour their cuisine! The lunch dish is not expensive for such a multitude of multi-coloured choices. Here, you will eat vegan, organic, local and mostly gluten-free, and you will be filled to satiety without slipping into a food coma. Chuck out your photos, you won’t find grey food lacking in flavours or proteins here. Mu-Food offers the exact opposite. Thanks to their buffet, you can taste, tickle your fancy and decide for yourself what vegan can reveal about succulence.
But before eating, a little flashback: 15 years ago, I met Kwai Luong and Timour Yildirim in Geneva’s alternative nights. As party friends, they decided to set up a project together. Timour was trained at the Lausanne Hospitality School, Kwai came from a family of gastronomists. Their backgrounds were conducive to developing a catering service, but not just any kind. One idea they held dear: avoiding food waste, and other excess waste. In Asia, the bento box (meal box) is popular, why not bring that concept to Geneva? From ideas to connections, the project began to take shape. The two friends met Hugo from Potagers de Gaïa in Hermance, and with shared values, the menus would be both organic and local. In 2011, Gaston, then member of the Dialogal committee, allowed them to use the association’s canteen. They then developed their catering service and, as of 2012, with their takeover of the bar, the restaurant in Paquis opened with a plat du jour and salad option at lunchtime.
Over the years, vegan has logically followed organic and local. Not because Mu-Foodians are the ayatollahs of vegetarianism, but because their intention is to raise awareness: not to eat industrial food, protecting the environment, discovering colourful, varied and delicious dishes.
Success is achieved, and at the beginning of 2016 the partners are joined by Melanie Beauvais who adds her personal touch to the adventure. It all could have continued as such, but their permit was not renewed. Today I feel like saying thank goodness, because after a period of searching for new premises, interrupted by festivals and catering gigs, Mu-Food 2.0 was launched on rue de Lausanne on July 1st. This larger space allows them, with the help of a bigger team, to offer a new formula: hot/cold buffet at lunchtime, for a larger variety of dishes, and tapas à la carte in the evenings.
Amongst the clients, heterogenous universes collide. They are mostly omnivores, from the workers to yoga teachers, and bankers, not all are into animal welfare causes, but they always come back for more with a smile.
Melanie is happy with this new version. She has infused into it a more Latin, Hispanic spirit. In the evenings the tapas are inspired by Asia and seasons, their compositions change with local production. And if there isn’t a lunch menu, it is to encourage dialogues with clients, because sharing and meeting people are very important to her.
I met Nastassia at the bar. A talented barmaid, her beverages are less sweet, she uses brown sugar. She loves to innovate and create drinks: home-made juice (fruits and ginger, kombucha and kefir), or cocktails with vodka, rum, herbs, etc. This winter there will be high-end teas to try out. While you’re waiting, you can also try the local beers, and organic wines.
In preparation for a near future, a terrace and décor will evolve according to the inspirations of the team… a good excuse to go back, but do you really need an excuse to eat healthy and be welcomed by a warm smile? Yes, I already want to return, because Mu-Food is an absolute must in Geneva!
Photography © Nathalie Mastail-Hirosawa
Rue de Lausanne 59, 1202 Geneva
Mon to Sat: Vegan buffet 11.30am-3pm
Tue to Sat: tapas 6-10pm & cocktails/bac 11.30am-midnight