Isn’t it weird how quick we are to establish routines and stick to our known routes? Seems like a particular problem when it comes to lunch on office-days. I moved my office to Kreuzberg end of 2013, to an area with a plethora of options to try and it still took me until two weeks ago to eat at Vabrique. It was about time.
Vabrique is located inside of a former valve factory on Ritterstraße, better known as Aqua Butzke Werke or even Aqua Carré, which today is one of those praised “creativity hubs”, giving a home to carpenters, tape distributors, graphic designers, start-ups and the German offices of Etsy. And also reconnecting the street to its history of being the main road of the so called Exportviertel, the busiest commercial center of Berlin with innumerable sample stocks and show rooms of local businesses back in the 19th century until the 2nd world war. There’s not much left of this former glory, yet the courtyard of Vabrique might give you an impression of the neighborhood’s past atmosphere and its industrial architecture. The bistro itself is located on the ground floor in an open and bright space with the kitchen only separated by a glass wall and a distinct industrial yet warm feel of wooden furniture and modest decoration.
Besides small breakfast options and coffee, Vabrique’s focus is lunch – with a daily changing menu of two dishes, one of them vegetarian, they’re making sure you won’t get bored. It also means that once the daily special is sold out, it’s done. Although I have seen them preparing deliciously looking dishes after the special was gone, so just ask. And yes, the food looks gorgeous – we had pan fried bok choy with a pepper jam on pearl barley risotto. The vivid color and contrast instantly lightened my grey January-mood, everything was super fresh and very tasty with a nice balance of flavors.
Their weekly menu reveals a tendency towards seasonal ingredients and some influences of classic German cooking. And there’s a vegan dish on the permanent menu, currently it’s pepper filled with amaranth, smoked tofu and a gratin. “We want to offer an hour of lunch-wellness” says their website, and it works.