1st July 2012

Amrit Indisches Restaurant

40 Winterfeldstrasse, Berlin

What form do the vegetarian delights of Indian food take in Germany? The serve of onion bhaji at this suburban restaurant is enormous: the large pieces come on a bed of lettuce, grated cabbage and tomato with finely grated yellow cheese on top and three dips standing by, one of chilli and two dairy-based. Natraj thali comprises four bowls: one of chick peas with a few cubes of paneer that is quite mild by the standards of Indian food, one of vegetables, very much al dente, one of rice, and the final one a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and rings of red onion on which pepper and green chillies have been sprinkled! This is Indian food adjusted to German tastes and, very obviously, appetites, and cries out for a glass of pils to wash it down. It may be a wee bit more expensive than some other dining options, but never mind, if you have the meal just described for your lunch you won’t need to eat for the rest of the day!

The nearest U-Bahn is Nollendorfplatz.

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28th June 2012

Hot Chips

I find delicious hot chips difficult to track down, so I felt the need of a list of places where I have successfully found delicious hot chips. Please add to the list if you know of others! (I like my chips to be crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, taste of fresh oil and love them best with their skin on.)

  • Gallery Walk Cafe, Carindale Shopping Centre (thick and crisp)
  • Shingle Inn, Garden City (thick and crisp)
  • Songbirds, Mt Tambourine (fat, crisp and with skin on) Tambourine Mountain Road, North Tambourine
  • Snack Bar, Sunnybank Hills  (thin and crisp – I do ask for them to be cooked a little bit golden otherwise they are a bit pale for me) Corner Beenleigh Road and Wynne Street

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13th May 2012


246 Friedrichstrasse, Berlin

Don’t be alarmed at the signs outside promising Pasta and Pizza, for this is a proper Middle Eastern restaurant with a variety of vegetarian dishes. Order falafel and a plate arrives with six pieces of freshly cooked falafel on a sliver of pita bread, hummus (what I would call mayonnaise), potato chips, rice, and two large bread rolls…more carbohydrate, anyone? But the side dishes include a wonderful puree of capsicum, onion and tomatoes, full of flavour without being hot and decorated with sprigs of broad leaf parsley; its moisture goes well with the slightly dry main course. The drinks menu ranges as widely as it usually does in Berlin, with the addition of bottled water from Turkey! While not being up-market, this is the most formal of the Turkish restaurants reviewed in this series, and like the others it makes vegetarian food available in an environment which veggies won’t always find particularly friendly.

Apologies to Turkish readers; I have spelt the name of this restaurant using the letter i, not being able to generate the similar Turkish letter without the dot.

The nearest U-Bahn is Hallesches Tor.

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6th May 2012


44 Taunsstrasse, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Among the variety of Turkish restaurants in Germany serving vegetarian food, this establishment, while unpretentious, is a step above Habibis, reviewed recently; you order your meal at a counter and find a table, to which it will be brought. The vegetarian range is very good. They do a hearty lentil soup (linsesuppe) that hits the spot on a cold day; beautifully red and bursting with flavour, it comes with a large piece of Turkish bread, a wedge of lemon, and a chilli. There are fresh salads with plenty of greens, with or without cheese, and enormous plates of potato chips (pommes frites) with sauce. Of the range of drinks in the fridge the fizzy apple juice has a strong taste that goes well with this food. While the staff prefer to speak German or Turkish they are friendly and easy to communicate with.

Only one thing holds me back from giving this restaurant top marks. It’s located close to the main station, and the lights are neither green nor orange in this district. Ignore the sleaze.

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29th April 2012


24 Goltzstrasse, Berlin

Germany has become the largest foreign market for Turkish Airlines, and the change in population of which this is a symptom has had excellent results for vegetarians. Different types of places serving Turkish food have sprung up, the most basic of which is exemplified by Habibi. You walk in off the street and join a queue at the counter; when your turn comes say you want falafel, and when asked ‘Komplett?’ say ‘Ja!’ Your falafel, warm and of generous proportion, will come in a triangular piece of flat bread with tomato, cucumber, onions, a large pickle and sauce. Vegans should know that whereas Arabs use tahini for this purpose, Turkish sauces are based on yoghurt.  You hold the bread in a piece of grease proof paper, which you throw into the bin by the door as you walk out if you decide to stay in the cafe rather than munch your falafel as you walk down the street.  There are countless places like this in Germany, some of them outdoor stalls, all of them providing tasty and nutritious falafel. Amazingly, the one served at Habibi will set you back just €2.50!

The nearest U-Bahn is Nollendorfplatz.

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22nd April 2012

Yellow Sunshine

19 Wienerstrasse, Berlin

Located in  part of eastern Berlin that looks as though it has seen better days, this entirely vegetarian restaurant is run by people who give an air of being very committed. What better place to veg out on some junk food? The Hot Chili Burger comes on a roll of brown bread, the patty has a fine taste and texture, and comes with lettuce, tomato and a sauce of just the right heat. It is smaller than the serve of potato chips (pommes frites) I had assumed would be a side dish, which are accompanied by a moderately hot dip. The restaurant also offers many dishes that imitate meat. and while I can’t vouch for the organic beer available from the fridge the the fresh orange juice is of the blood red variety and its intense taste is excellent, going well with strongly flavoured food. This is a worthy restaurant, popular among vegetarians, that deserves support. But it occurs to me that there may be other ways forward for vegetarian food in this part of the world.

The nearest U-Bahn station is Goerlitzer Bahnhof.

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15th April 2012

Haus Hiltl

Sihlstrasse 28, Zurich, Switzerland

What could a self-service vegetarian restaurant in the land that invented muesli be like? Well, you pick up a tray and wander around trying to choose between dishes of hummus, mung beans, quorn, paneer curry, asparagus in sesame oil, beetroot, cucumber, potatoes, wasabi beans in their pods, carrots, mushrooms and several dozen others, both hot and cold, before taking your tray to a cashier who charges according to weight. Every one of the dishes I tried was fresh, attractively presented and extremely tasty. The restaurant also offers freshly squeezed juices, among them an apple juice bursting with flavour; other juices were of tropical fruits, which must have accumulated a fair few air miles on their way to Switzerland. At lunchtime the place is full of a mixed crowd of students and workers in suits for whom it is obviously a favourite. And despite the restaurant having been founded in 1898, at about the time that Bircher-Benner was perfecting his muesli, there’s not a bowl of moistened oats to be seen.

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11th March 2012

Teatro Vivaldi Restaurant

ANU Arts Centre, University Ave, Canberra ACT

This is a slightly up-market restaurant tucked into a beautiful corner of a lovely campus, next to some of the largest willows I’ve ever seen. The menu offers a wide range of  main meals that are specially marked as vegetarian, and gelati and sorbets. But it also states that special diets are catered for, so I put them to the test and asked for a vegan meal. The challenge was superbly met! A dish emerged of penne in a rich tomato sauce containing aubergine, zucchini and black olives, its intense taste nicely complimenting the pasta. Sitting beside it was a side salad of crisp small leaves, cucumber and tomato, a fine contrast with the main dish in texture, taste, colour and, come to think of it, nutrition. An old friend suggested this would be a good place for catching up over lunch, and as is usually the case the recommendation of a local was spot on. Viva Italia!

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4th March 2012

Punjabi Palace

135 Melbourne St, South Brisbane Qld

This is a well-established restaurant in an inner suburban area that has been changing character, so that it now finds itself on the fringe of a tourist area. But there’s no reason why locals can’t enjoy it, and we began our meal with a plate of nicely cooked onion bhaji pakoras, before passing on to a satisfying vegetable dahl and an alu palak of spinach and potato. Perhaps it was exposure to Popeye the Sailor Man that led to my love of spinach, but I’m always happy to sit down to a dish of this vegetable, and usually appreciate the way it has been cooked, as I certainly did at the Palace. This dish is also available as paneer palak, and there is no shortage of paneer (cheese) dishes on the menu. An Indian salad comes as a tricoleur of cucumber, tomato and red onion that are laid out to form stripes, a beautifully fresh and moist accompaniment to the main dishes which has a strong enough taste to be able to hold its own against their spices, and the pan fried alu paratha, utterly non-greasy, is a winner. It being lunch time we didn’t linger, but walked into the street in very good cheer.

Punjabi Palace on Urbanspoon

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19th February 2012

Tibetan Kitchen

454 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley, Qld

While its management is Nepalese, this restaurant offers Tibetan as well as Nepalese food that seems made for vegetarians. The food is hearty in the extreme and very satisfying. We began with Mount Everest Soup, consisting of dumplings, vegetables and long strips of firm tofu in a mixture that recalled the Thai Tom Yum, and Nepalese samosas, perhaps a tad drier than their Indian cousins, that were served with cutney. For a main meal you can’t go past the good old Dhaal Bhat of lentils in a thin gruel, potatoes and carrot cooked in a sauce, and rice accompanied by some cabbage on the side; the serve in so generous it comes on its own tray. We enjoyed a vegetable dish, Kauli ko Taraki, that contains cauliflower, potatoes, green peas and tomatoes, and a Tofu Curry, in which large pieces of soft tofu came in a broth that seemed to be made of milk and lemon juice.  There is a variety of breads, among them the strongly flavoured chilli bread. This is a cuisine for healthy appetites rather than picky eaters, and they do it well at the Tibetan Kitchen.

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