Eats in Berlin: Hearty Ramen & Vegan Wurst

A bowl of Japanese ramen soup with egg, noodles, pak choi and a spoon on a table at Hako in Friedrichshain

Winter makes me cook at home more – the idea of going out into the cold for a maybe not so great meal is just not as appealing as in summer. However, if it’s a huge bowl of noodles I will go, so I went to one of my fav ramen places. Somehow I expected the city to be emptier than it currently is (it’s quite packed for January!), are these already the effects of that horrible Berlin, I love you trailer? I can see the tourism board being the only ones clapping their hands at this awful misrepresentation that seems to speak exclusively to IG travel bloggers… I can’t see many good things coming from this film. So let’s focus on food instead.

Hako

It was only 14:00 on a Sunday but this ramen place was already packed to the edges – we squeezed into a corner and ordered almost all the same: Tan Tan, either veggie or with meat. It’s a bowl of noodles topped with shredded tofu, pak choi and an egg swimming in a thick sesame sauce, thicker than I remembered, but maybe that’s their winter version. My friends thought it was a bit too hefty (even though they are Austrian), I still liked it and hope I’ll be eating this soup loads more this winter.

Boxhagener Straße 26

10245 Berlin Friedrichshain

Mon–Thu 17:00–22:00,
Fri 17:00–23:00,
Sat 14:00–23:00,
Sun 14:00–22:00

A cardboard box with a bread roll and a vegetarian sausage inside covered in mustard and ketchup

Der Vegetarische Metzger

I was in the area and a little bit hungry so I thought I’d give this one another try. I went last summer and was really disappointed, but so many people still love this so much on the social medias, I thought a little snack can’t hurt. I’m not agreeing with the many that consider meat-replacements for people who don’t eat meat phoney. For many who choose not to eat meat it’s not so much about the flavour but about the animals. Craving the dishes most of us have been used to since childhood is not something I’d judge negatively. I personally am not super interested and I also think there are too many vegan places in Berlin dealing almost exclusively in replacement-cooking (I’d like to see more vegan snack places that don’t do burgers or “super food”). However, I get the craving! What I don’t get is the success of this place: the pictured Bratwurst (3,50 Euro) was anything but gebraten – nothing roasted about it, not quite as dry as it looks, but not really flavourful either. Mustard and ketchup were pretty standard, but the Brötchen was quite good: fluffy and light while also crispy and chewy. Most of their replacements are made with soy, it’s not known where they source it from and one should remember the company’s goal is to become the “biggest butcher in the world”. To reach this, they sold the whole thing to Unilever end of last year.
Bergmannstraße 1, 10961 Berlin Kreuzberg

A bowl filled with whole spelt, kale, carrots, egg, radishes and more at Lok 6 restaurant in Berlin.

Lok 6

Housed in a small space inside of the very impressive Lokdepot, strikingly red buildings on the boarder of Schöneberg and Kreuzberg, Lok 6 opened in the summer of 2017, serving lunch, aperitivo and brunch. Unfortunately, this pretty place is currently not regularly open but you can rent it for pop ups and private events. Which is how I ended up here for a healthy, light and delicious lunch bowl last week. Julia Heifer is creating very local, very contemporary and very appealing food and I hope they find a model to open it back up to the public in the future.
Am Lokdepot 6, 10965 Berlin Kreuzberg

A bowl with beetroot, apple, mint and horseradish salad on a granite table at Annelies in Kreuzberg

Annelies

The interior of this place is stunning: clean yet cosy, contemporary without being totes hipster. If the sun is out it’s flooding the dining room, there’s an old-timey oven that I hope they also use (at least there’s a wall of chopped wood that is also decorative). The coffee is delicious, as is the cake. I’m still not entirely on board with the food, though. I ordered a beet root salad with apples and horseradish. Unfortunately I found the beets to be a bit overcooked, the apples not fruity (sweet and sour) and the horseradish not stinging enough. Beetroots don’t make me very excited in general (except their color), and I don’t like them super soft so there’s that. I also got the potatos with aioli on the side, which are nice. The pancakes look amazing though, I’ll get them for lunch next time.

Görlitzer Straße 68

10997 Berlin Kreuzberg

Wed–Fri 09:00–17:00,
Sat–Sun 10:00–18:00

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