Before I decided to go vegetarian, one thing always worried me; that the food would be boring. I mean seriously, who really wants to eat a stuffed pepper? But one thing I’ve been utterly thrilled to see is how much more inventive restaurants are becoming with creating delicious vegetarian and vegan options that surpass the traditional standbys of goat’s cheese, betroot and giant mushrooms.
As one of Europe’s prime hotspots for delicious vegan food, we decided to head to the plant-based fine dining restaurant Lucky Leek on our first night staying in Berlin. With limited experience of fine dining food (I usually end up choosing quantity over quality with zero regrets), I wasn’t sure what to expect but all my expectations about poncey food were completely smashed.
For a fine dining restaurant, Lucky Leek is welcoming and unpretentious with waiting staff who explained the menu in perfect English. As typically ignorant British tourists, we were grateful for that! After ordering our food (minus the wine pairings as drinking with food still doesn’t appeal to me – is that an adult thing too?), an amuse-bouche quickly appeared at the table. The vegan approach to sushi left me feeling a bit unsure but the pairing on the spoon was delicious and included our first taste of cashew ‘cheese’.
As we chatted away, it felt like no time had passed before our starter was arriving. The blood orange salad was served with hemp cream ‘cheese’ praline, red onion, black salsify pesto, parsley and walnuts and oh my goodness. It’s rare that you’ll ever get me to order a salad, let alone compliment it, but there’s something about orange that freshens everything up with an incredible zing.
For the main event, we both ordered the same dish: a risky decision perhaps, but one that paid off as it was even more delicious than the first! Crispy marinated tofu was served with hoi-sin sweet potato, bok choy, a steamed sesame roll and a dash of the most incredible salsa. It had a lemongrass taste to it that made me wish the chef had slathered it across the entire meal! The crispy tofu was a hit too: there have only been a few times when I’ve particularly enjoyed eating tofu but this was really tasty and filling when combined with the sesame roll. Jamie compared it to an Asian-style roast dinner and it definitely felt that way when eating: warm, hearty and comforting.
Despite feeling wonderfully full after our mains, we couldn’t leave without testing out some of the desserts because *klaxton* there was a vegan cheeseboard. With cashew versions of blue, smoked, caramelised onion and cheddar cheeses served alongside bread, fig and apple, we were so excited to try it and also opted for a belgian cookie slice for balance, complete with berry icecream and cookie praline.
Let me tell you that the berry ice cream was divine – I just couldn’t stop eating it! But as for the cheeseboard, it pains me to say that we didn’t enjoy it much. While the cheese worked well as part of an overall dish earlier in the meal, it didn’t quite stand up to the challenge when forced to take the starring role. My favourite variety was the smoked-style morsel but honestly, the sweet plate far won the dessert battle for me.
Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or even a meat eater keen to try something new, I’d highly recommend a visit to Lucky Leek. The intriguing combination of plant-based dishes leave you satisfied and never feeling like your meal is lacking. If anything, it educated me to be more less cautious about branching out with unusual flavour combinations so that’s got to be a pretty successful visit, right?
Do you like finding new places to eat when you travel? How do you choose where to visit?
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