It’s not advisable to just walk into any Indian restaurant in Berlin. 99% of them are shit. Seriously, Indian food is badly represented in Berlin, but at the same time it’s almost annoyingly present – there are hundreds of places serving bland heavy-cream-curries in heavy-orange-tinted atmosphere. I stopped trying a long time ago and just settled with the fact that there’s none (there wasn’t even a tag for it on this very blog). However, I obviously wasn’t the only one suffering from the lack of tasty paneer – end of last year Prenzlauer Berg welcomed a beautiful addition: South-Indian street food at Chutnify!
Berlin was craving Indian food so much, everyone jumped for joy once this opened and so the small joint is packed when we arrive on a weeknight. We were lucky to grab a table, but I would really recommend to book one in advance. The colorful interior is decorated with a lot of love to detail and has a super-cosy feeling (it’s rather dark, hence the terribly lit pictures), the menu comes in between two cardboard wraps and sounds very exciting (including loads of vegan options!): read sweet potato Ragda patty with Masala chickpea mix in a soft wheat bun or Channa Masala rice bowl with chickpeas. The heart of the menu, however, are the dosas, thin vegan lentil-rice pancakes filled with all kinds of things and accompanied by a choice of chutneys, spicy, sour and sweet.
We started with Bombay Bhel (4,20 Euro), a salad of puffed rice, red onions, lentils, pomegranate seeds, peanuts, cilantro and much more. This dish alone excited me so much with its many complex flavors – sour, fresh, sweet, nutty, tart – and textures, I was ready to call this one the best Indian food I ever had (however, I’ve never been in India, so this label has to be taken with care). The food continued to be scrumptious with Idli – fluffy semolina patties served with curries, sambar (a kind of lentil stew) and chutneys (pictured at the top, 7,20 Euro). This treat was followed by the Mean Green Dosa (9,20 Euro), a dosa filled with green-chutney-marinated paneer cheese, served with, of course, a variety of chutneys (ask for the really spicy one). Oh the joy, I still remember the heart-warming feel of the soft dosa, the squeaky cheese and the many flavors of chutney.
The service is lovely, while a bit confused at times – we had to wait a bit for our order of Chai tea, but it was very worth it. The spicy, warm tea was the best I had in Berlin. You see, I am using a lot of this dreaded best-label, but I really loved it and typing these lines makes me want to go for lunch to Prenzlauer Berg right now. Seriously.
Thanks to Julia for this recommendation.