325 Route de Lausanne, 1293 Bellevue
Menu Choice 5/10
Value for money 6/10
Kutchi in Bellevue just outside of Geneva is a small guest house with a restaurant which serves predominantly Afghani cuisine. I’ve visited twice, once enjoying the terrace out the back and another time, when the weather turned on us, sitting inside. I’d heard that Afghan cuisine is fairly unique, full of aromatic spices and flavours and was looking forward to trying something a little bit different.
On my first visit with a large group of work colleagues we opted for a shared set menu in order to make life easier and allow us to try and share many things. We were presented with a huge array of tasty dishes including rice dishes, salads, curries and grilled meats. I have no idea what a lot of what I ate was but enjoyed it a lot hence my decision to go there again with friend.
Alas, the sharing option no longer seemed to be offered, at least it is not on their website anymore. I believe it was still an option on my second visit with friends, however on that occasion we ordered from the al la carte menu which is not particularly extensive. Starters cost between 7 – 12CHF and mains are 23 – 28CHF. Personally I found some of the menu descriptions a bit confusing as a lot of dishes sound the same so choosing what I wanted was a bit tricky.
On this occasion while waiting for our food we were given some bread and three dipping sauces. As with everything I ate on the first visit, I have no idea what was in the sauces, but they were pretty interesting. Two seemed to be a sort of rather hot fruit and chilli concoction, one raspberry and the other mango (I think!) and the third one was a nice cooling yoghurt type dip.
My starter was Ashak, which consisted of a crisp filo shell filled with leeks and covered with a meat sauce and mint oil. A bit similar to a samosa I guess. After the rather hot dipping sauces this starter I was surprised how subtle this was, not at all fiery, but tasty nonetheless. I also pinched some of someone else’s Borani Banjon (grilled aubergines with sauce) which was really delicious.
As a mains course I had Caraï, a flat bread filled with lamb meatballs in a tomato sauce and topped with fried egg and also tried some Quabouli-Palaw, fragrant rice with pieces of beautifully soft lamb that is often served at marriages. While the portions were large, the mains didn’t have quite the same visual elegance as the starters and we’re a little bland by comparison. The flavours seemed a bit similar and aside from minor textural differences it was quite hard to distinguish them. Don’t get me wrong, the flavours were good, but I got the impression it didn’t really matter which dish I had chosen. A little more variety in flavour between the dishes would have been nice.
Dessert was a shared Ferni, a set cream flavoured with rose, cardamom, pistachios and almonds which just slipped down and was lovely and fresh after the richness of the savoury food. This was a real high note and something that, along with the starters I would try and recreate at home.
On both occasions the service was relaxed and unobtrusive, but could sometimes a little too absent. Empty plates would sit for quite some time before being cleared and food was leisurely in arriving. If you want three courses you will need to devote an entire evening to the endeavor.
Overall I had a nice time on both occasions at Kuchi. My two visits were about a year apart and while I would go back again if someone suggested it or particularly wanted to go I think two visits is plenty for me for now.