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8 April 2018

four vegan spots to try in berlin

since the start of the year, i have sort of lived by the "vegan in, veggie out" mantra, meaning that i don't buy or cook any meat, eggs or dairy "in" when i am at home, but when i travel - or when eating "out", i will allow myself a vegetarian option if the vegan one doesn't make me happy (i truly hate falafel in all its iterations). it's sort of like a "holiday treat" almost, when i go abroad, that i'll have some cheese to look forward to, instead of the usual diet of veggie sausages, plain veggie pasta, or coconut curries - but when i was in berlin, i was travelling with a well-researched vegan foodie in the way of leigh travers of fox and feather blog, and so with her experience at the lead, i actually got to try some bloody great vegan treats on this trip away - including currywurst!

lily burger - am friedrichshain 34, 10407 berlin

leigh had told everyone on the trip about lily burger, and we were all really excited to go there and try it - that is until we got there, and saw the over-complicated menu, and the ridiculous prices for their burgers. 15 euro for one burger - without sides - is a bloody rip off in any language, but the restaurant was only a five minute walk from the hampton by hilton we were staying in, and came highly recommended; so we sucked it up and stayed. the menu didn't need to be so complicated, as what we had seen as three menus in one (meat, veggie and vegan) was in fact, the same menu with three options; it would have been much easier to make a choice if things were just simply labelled as "can be made veg/an" - never the less, we each ordered a jfk burger (me: seitan, leigh: sweet potato, katy: meaaat), which came with a patty, lettuce and tomato, bacon and cheese (vegan versions for leigh and i), a giant onion ring, bbq and mayo (homemade and vegan!), and then a pickle in the top.

sounded tasty enough, but then when it came out, i was blown awaaaaay by it. it was towering on the plate, with cheese and sauce ooozing from every level, and without much hesitation, i grabbed a knife and fork and dug straight in. and in all honesty: it was easiest the best vegan burger i've ever tasted. seitan has been something i've not been a big fan of since trying vegan this year, but this was so well seasoned and cooked that it had all the textures of meat, and all the flavours that i look for in a patty. it was incredible - especially the vegan bacon; it tasted exactly like regular bacon, was smokey and salty, and weirdly, even had crunch to it. if i hadn't have known better, i would not have known that burger was vegan at all. i demolished mine in about five minutes flat, and with no regrets. i would have paid twenty quid for that burger - it filled me up and made me so happy. honestly, this burger changed everything.

find out more about lily burger here.

brammibal's donuts - maybachufer 8, 12047 berlin

another spot we were desperate for leigh to take us to, was brammibal's vegan donut shop. there are two in berlin, neither of which were totally "near by" to our hotel, but we made a day of visiting all the spots we wouldn't normally, and to be honest - it's always worth travelling for donuts. especially vegan donuts, because they're not something you typically find oversees - or outside of your lefty big cities, so we made it our mission to go, regardless of the trip. and realistically, it was only ten or so minutes on the tube, and then another ten minutes walk. so, totally worth it.

we got there towards the end of the day, so our choices were pretty limited to whatever was left, but thankfully, we each found something we wanted to demolish. i went for the charity donut of the day (with 1 euro of the sale going to charity) - a tonka bean filled babe of a bun, and a salted caramel hazelnut traditional holey babe, and i am not ashamed to say that i ate both with zero trouble. the tonka bean was sweet and creamy - a nice surprise inside an otherwise fairly ordinary bun (other than the icing, it just tasted like donut), while the salted caramel one had crunchy hazelnut bits all over the top, which meant that every bite had a little taste burst in it. a more flavourful donut, for sure. each was reasonably priced, too, which was a shock for a bakery that had a line of waiting customers right out of the door.

find out more about brammibal's donut shop here.

house of small wonder - johannisstraße 20, 10117 berlin

the week before we flew out to berlin, leigh sent me pictures on instagram of a place called house of small wonder that looked a bit like a showroom for plants. almost every picture we saw on instagram showed off this beautiful entrance way with spiral staircase and plant reception, and we weren't really sure what the space was until we googled it, and found out it was a spacious upstairs restaurant. gasping for a coffee after our big wander around the city, we headed there on our way to brammibal's to get a little recharge before the journey across berlin. when we arrived, we didn't expect to see as varied a menu as we did!

it was a pretty eclectic menu, actually, with everything from japanese ongiri to french croque monsieur, but best of all, was their range of homemade treats that - once they're gone, they're gone. we only stopped in for drinks, but if we'd not just eaten already (keep reading for that), or planning on getting our fill of donuts shortly (see above), we would absolutely have stopped in there. everything from the decor to the music, to the community vibe inside was totally worth stopping by, and that's even before you consider the amount of people who simply stop by to take photos of their reception. the staff were a little, erm, casual, to be honest, but meh. maybe we're just spoiled.

find out more about house of small wonder here.

mauerpark flea market food stalls - bernauer straße, 10437 berlin

the sunday flea market in mauerpark was something we all wanted to check out, but annoyingly, the day we went it was literally heaving with people. it was a beautiful sunny day, to be fair, but still.. i hate people. in the sunnier seasons, the great open space that hosts the flea market also hosts a sunday public karaoke event in the middle of the field - how awesome?! sadly for us, it doesn't start until late april/early may (depending on the weather), so it's not something we were able to take in for ourselves. but, the highlight of the mauerpark flea market for me was definitely the food trucks.

they had evvvverything on offer, incluuuuding vegan fucking currywurst. vegan! currywurst! i wasn't sure i was going to be able to have anything akin to a traditional sausage while in berlin, but here i was being faced with a food truck with an entirely vegan sauce range, as well as more than five vegan sausage options. i was in my element, and ordered it immediately. and guess what? it was everything i could have asked for. it was the right texture, it had the right flavours, and it did not make me feel sick at all in any way after i'd devoured it. the vegan sausage - served with triple-cooked chips, was the second best thing i'd eaten that weekend, after the seitan burger the night before.

find out more about mauerpark here.

so, i certainly learned a lesson while travelling with another - full time - vegan: as long as you do your research, you can easily find restaurants and menus that can suit your specific diet. have you any other vegan suggestions for the next time i visit berlin?

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