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Berlin goes vegan

Berlin is considered to be Europe's vegan capital. Nowhere else are there so many people living an animal-product-free lifestyle and nowhere else is there a greater choice of vegan and vegetarian eateries. Here, we showcase the best of them. The motivation behind the choice to become vegan or vegetarian varies greatly: some people think going meat-free is healthier; others feel sorry for the animals, while yet others simply never liked the taste. But even for die-hard carnivores, enjoying an evening of purely plant-based foods, like those created by Björn Moschinski, can be quite an eye-opener.

PREMIUM MEAT-FREE CUISINE

Since 2011, Moschinski has run ‘Restaurant Kopps' in Berlin's Mitte district (see above; Photo: PR), where nothing is quite as it seems. Bread is served alongside an egg-salad for which no hen ever had to give up an egg; chickpeas are used to craft the deceptively authentic egg flavor. The menu proceeds with a meat-free cordon bleu or stew and ingenious vegetable creations, such as a tarragon, cashew nut and tomato dish, or a confit of herb-crusted Brandenburg beets. While this restaurant, with its light, airy décor, has a distinctly sophisticated feel, the vibe at Björn Moschinski's new project is far more laid back: he recently opened Mio Matto directly above vegan supermarket ‘Veganz' at the Warschauer Brücke bridge in Friedrichshain. The menu there features vegan pizza alongside a range of other animal-product-free delicacies.

CLUB DINING AT COOKIES CREAM

The route to club restaurant ‘Cookies Cream', located just a short distance from Friedrichstraße, takes diners through dark alleyways, past the garbage cans of the ‘Komische Oper' opera house. Housed in a whitewashed loft, its décor marks a revival of the ‘undone' industrial flair of noughties-Berlin. While ‘Cookies' club danced its last dance in the fall of 2014, business at the Drayton Bar and Cookies Cream Restaurant (see above; Photo: PR) continues apace - which is lucky for us, since the vegetarian dishes conjured up by young head chef, Stephan Hentschel, never fail to surprise. His approach has no need of meat replacements like tofu or seitan, and there's no sign of a pasta dish anywhere on the select menu. Instead, an abundance of exotic vegetable dishes, flan or smoked Jerusalem artichoke, followed by corn porridge and popcorn or parmesan dumplings with white alba truffles. One option to perfectly round off the mix-and-match three-course meal could be the warm fig and bramble-champagne sorbet.

RAW FOOD BY CANDLELIGHT

The top address for plant-based culinary delights in the west of the city is ‘La Mano Verde'. Flanked by illustrious neighbors like the salon of stylist-to-the-stars, Udo Walz, and the Hotel Kempinski, guests can savor the surprising delights of German turnip ravioli or algae spaghetti by the light of elegant chandeliers and industrial-chic lamps. Many of the organic dishes are also suitable for those on a raw food diet. For restaurateur Jean-Christian Jury, health and wellbeing are at the core of his concept. Patrons wishing to recreate his dishes at home can now enroll for a class at his Living Food Academy, which will be offering a range of courses in vegan and raw-food cuisine from April 15, 2015. (Photo: Kimchi Tower by Cathrin Bach).