Donnerstag, 1. August 2013

A Foreigner at Mano Verde

I am by principle sceptical to places that are the main topic of conversation in town. Especially when it comes to a vegan restaurant, I know the usual snobbish reaction: rolling eyes, affected sigh and always good reviews. Of course, vegan is the real life, animal eating is bad and so on and so on.
Two days ago, when looking at a foodie review about Berlin, I saw once again a review of La Mano Verde and decided to try it. Especially after I found out is less than 30 minutes away from me.
It is modernly, pop-art designed, with comfy tables outside, the best choice when you want to eat in the summer. You can consult and chose the menu on an iPad and the service is relatively fast. If you want to know how your food is done, you can have a look at the open kitchen. The toilets are clean and ecological, in line with the philosophy of the restaurant.
The biggest - unpleasant - surprise was that even though we arrived at 14.40, there was not possible to get the standard menu. According to the website, the dinner menu is available till 15.30. I know I was late, blame the summer laziness, but still hoped that I am not that late to miss the menu. My disappointment grew when I was told that the Limetten-Almond Gazpacho was not available either. Even though I was explained that the limited number of portions and menus is due to the fact that they want to serve them as fresh as possible, and even I was offered a sorbet at the end of the meal, nothing cured the sadness of the spoiled kid who could not have what she wanted to. Anyway, if interested to go there, be sure that you plan your trip and make a reservation at least 10 hours before arrival. 
 I started my exploration with a jasmin tea. Simple, tasty, Kuzman. With an obvious calming effect.
The gazpacho I dreamed about was not available, and I was offered instead a soup with ginger and pumpkin. And saffron. As for the taste, there was too much lemon/orange and I would have want at least a little pinch of salt. The saffron did not add much to the mixture, except the (very) good look.
The next 'meal' was a green salad, with a lot of seeds and a very tasty sauce. The green combination as such did not impress me, but in combination with the seeds it turned to be a good choice for someone on a diet. Not me. As I saw that here are organised a lot of cooking classes - and some cooking books are exposed in the lobby - I may consider at a certain moment to enrol for some workshops. I am not a vegetarian/vegan person, even though must part of the time I don't eat meat, but I miss greatly the understanding of the right taste combination of meals without eggs or fish. Maybe if I would like to return to Mano Verde and the famous menu will be available I can change the perspective on the vegan life. 
The location is nice, the service is fast and the prices are medium to high. Maybe taste-wise disappointments are the result of my lack of gastronomic vegan experiences. Anyone looking for a clean, meat-free place should try it, but not without a reservation. 

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