Admittedly, Asian-fusion concepts opening up on Torstraße where rents for commercial spaces have sky-rocketed over the past years, don’t necessarily get my hopes up. However, something interested me enough about this new restaurant to put it on my list of the ten new places we all must try, so I went there more or less immediately. And I’m super happy to report: it’s delicious and absolutely perfect for cold winter days!
Loads of thinking obviously went into the design of the place: the dark and stern interior with earth colored walls, geometrical lamps, and bronze colored wall decorations is counteracted by tables topped with warmly colored wood and the inevitable succulent plant, as well as a hidden lounge upstairs with a no-shoe policy and plushy pillows. We sat down by the large windows with the giant neon sign on a quiet afternoon. The service was friendly, yet a bit slow in these low hours after the lunch rush hour, and we sadly never got to see the drinks menu with such unusual items like a Hokkaido pumpkin latte with pandan leafs and roasted sesame, or a Vietnamese coffee with sweet potato paste, house made organic soy milk cream and roasted sesame.
The menu is a play on Vietnamese food, without being very traditional – the main actors are their own spelt noodles, served as a salad with pickled carrots and radish, minced soy meat, cucumbers, cilantro and more; or fried crispy with silk tofu, mushrooms and seasonal vegetables, dressed in a herbs and mushroom sauce; or in a creamy and mild soy milk and miso broth with nori, grilled and marinated bamboo, and shiitake mushrooms. The latter two weren’t available on the lunch menu, where they offer a special with an appetizer and a main for just 8,50 Euro. I went for the sweet potato in tumeric tempura crust with dill and mushroom sauce, which was a bit messy in its mix of many flavors, but my friend’s miso soup was deliciously hearty, and they certainly weren’t shy with the miso, resulting in a delightfully noticeable fermented taste. This miso soup made me really excited for my choice of main, which was advertised as a soup with a strong and aromatic vegetable broth with spelt noodles, pak choi, roasted onions and lemon grass. Because it’s certainly not easy to find a vegetarian broth filled with flavor and punch in this city, even though it’s certainly not impossible (or very hard) to make one.
I went for an add-on of seitan that came in slices which were looking quite similar to beef, adding a different texture to the soup, and next time I’ll definitely also get the oyster mushrooms. I wish the spelt was a bit more intense in the noodles themselves, which would make the soup even heartier, but it’s definitely already one of the tastiest, and yes, most flavorful veggie broths in Mitte. And perfect to warm your frozen bones these days.
My friend enjoyed the wrap with tempura tofu hugged by cabbage a lot, although the fried goba root tempura chips left us both unimpressed. Another strong-suit of Ryong are probably their burgers of which three options are on the lunch menu. Their house made bao bun is deep fried in turmeric or spinach or beet root (or even chocolate) tempura, and then filled with fresh and pickled veggies. Well, if that doesn’t sound out of the box, I don’t know what does. Since I’d always choose a soup with house made noodles over a burger these creations will have to wait for another visit. Have you had one? Let me know what you think!