Clockwise from top left: Vegan Tiger, Brammibal's Donuts by Francesca Torricelli, Kontor Eismanufaktur Berlin, Wilder Hase by Rosalind O'Connor, The Bowl by Francesca Torricelli
Whether you're a staunch activist or merely appreciate a good meatless meal now and again, your options just keep on multiplying. Here are five of the latest.
1Warschauer Straße 33, 10243 Berlin
Located above Veganz supermarket in the former home of failed vegan Italian eatery Mio Matto, The Bowl is a health-and-ethics dream: vegan, organic, free of gluten and refined sugar. They even cook using renewable energy. The menu is divided into starters (perfectly cooked Brussels sprouts with cashew cream, €4, marinated Japanese wakame and cucumber salad, €3.50) and mains – “Bowls” (€9.90-10.90). We particularly enjoyed the Macro Bowl: a nice combination of lemon quinoa, Brussels sprouts, tempeh, miso and white bean hummus, “pink kimchi” (more like sauerkraut), wakame-cucumber salad, greens and a ‘super-food’ dressing. Also highly recommendable is the Buddha Bowl, the centrepiece of which is a mildly spicy aubergine and pumpkin curry. Not all the dishes deliver, though: the sweet-potato fries weren’t crisp and the California Bowl as a whole simply lacked flavour. The delicate bean and zucchini pasta would have been better with a subtle lemon dressing than the hearty ratatouille-like tomato sauce it was saddled with, and why on earth does the Macro Bowl come with a side of homemade ketchup – as generic as its supermarket cousin? Ask for the pleasantly sweet and tart teriyaki hibiscus sauce! Picking a drink is hard: there’s a whole range of smoothies, sugar-free lemonades (try the hibiscus/grapefruit or apple/cucumber/ginger), homemade kombucha and coffee drinks (turmeric lattes!). Not a place we feel passionate about – but still worth a visit if only for the great view over Warschauer Brücke. EL
2Danziger Straße 65, 10435 Berlin
Once upon a time ‘Vegan ice cream’ meant sorbet in the best case; grainy soy concoctions in the worst. Not anymore. Instead of cop-outs or pale imitations, Kontor Eismanufaktur Berlin creates Eis that actually leans into the flavour of its lactose-free base – be it soy, coconut, oat or rice milk. The odd-on-paper basil-oat blend turns out to be a delicate, subtle flavour experience, but if you’re not in the mood for subtlety, “Reese’s Pieces” disguises its soy origins with gobs of peanut butter and chocolate, and the rich Belgian chocolate sorbet is like eating an entire bar in frozen form. Owner Susanne Jecht and her son Jakob made regular ice cream in Freiburg for five years before moving to Berlin to open a shop more closely aligned with their own dietary preferences, which might explain why they’ve got the perfectly smooth, creamy consistency down pat. Have a scoop for €1.30-1.80, or get it served a top a vegan donut from Brammibal’s – proof that ice cream lovers don’t need to eat animal products to pig out. JS
3Helsingforser Straße 10, 10243 Berlin
Now vegans no longer have to resort to pretzels and fries to sate their biergarten munchies. Located in an untamed conservation area near Berghain, chilled-out rustic watering hole Wilder Hase serves vegan-only beer (sadly, still mainstream brands like Jever and Berliner Pilsner, €2.50) alongside animal-free döner kebabs (all €4.50). You might recognise some of the menu from Prenzlauer Berg’s Fast Rabbit, and indeed, the owner of that “vegan junk food” restaurant, Christoph Rupprecht, is the gastronomic mastermind behind Wilder Hase. Most food is prepared in the Fast Rabbit kitchen, but through the summer the garden’s open-fire BBQ is grilling up soy gyros (from German vegan wholesaler Absolute Vegan Empire) to be wrapped up with ‘superfood’ salads, lemon hummus, potato salad, cashew-based cheese from German brand Happy Cheeze and more. The latest addition to their menu is the Kung Fu Döner – filled with a brown rice salad, sweet and sour sauce and deep-fried soy schnitzel. If you’re missing the traditional biergarten experience, there are still pretzels (€1.50, served with tzatziki dip). HS
4Lettestraße 5, 10437 Berlin
Opened last month inside Buchbox on Helmholtzplatz, hipper-than-thou all-vegan, all-organic café Vegan Tiger tastes great. But its breakfast prices aren’t just high, they’re unconscionable. Are your muesli-pouring skills really so impaired that you’d pay €5.80 for a bowl of the stuff? Can you really not find it within yourself to pick up some delicious marinated tofu from market vendors Tofu Manufaktur and layer it with avocado, tomato and basil atop a single slice of whole-grain bread for far, far less than the €6.40 demanded by the bearded guy behind the counter? (Yes, everyone here has a beard.) Lunch options range from a €7.20-rotating daily special like “chilli sin carne” to a €7.80 avocado-fennel-celery-goji berry salad topped with tofu. And of course they do green smoothies (€4.90) – a strongly herbal “Feuer und Flamme”, with parsley, spinach, apple, banana and ginger. But for those, the infinitely superior selection at Liquid Garden on Staargarder Straße is a short stroll away. JS
5Maybachufer 8, 12047 Berlin
Looks good, right? €15 gets you a dozen of these babies, baked by Bram van Montfort and Jessica Jeworutzki in their Friedrichshain kitchen. Fortified with coconut milk, Brammibal’s yeasty rings taste like, well, donuts – we’re partial to the chocolate-peanut butter and blueberry-almond versions, and the smoked-coconut ‘bacon’ topping the maple flavour. They’re orderable via Facebook and making their way around Berlin street markets and select cafes, where they cost €2 a pop. Kickstarter efforts to start a donut shop failed, but that doesn’t mean they’re giving up.
Orders and whereabouts on their Facebook page.