The Berlin of 2016 is thankfully quite different to the Berlin of 2009 that I moved to. Back then you were lucky if you could find a lone slice of gluten free cake anywhere in the city and people were very proud to tell you that there was no MSG in their food when you asked about gluten. But, this new state of affairs is not without it’s problems. Gluten Free has become so popular that many places are now offering it, with not all of them being quite sure what gluten free actually is. The idea that you just change out regular bread for gluten free bread and everything is spiffy is quite prevalent and people are quite shocked that things such as mustard and soy sauce can have gluten in them.
Today, I’m reviewing Charlies Asian Bakery in Kruezberg. They are thankfully a little bit in the middle of these two extremes and advertise themselves as a gluten free place. They do seem to be quite knowledgeable about it and have a pretty good range of gluten free meals and cakes. But there was a small problem, more on that later.
First off, the place itself is lovely. All that Berlin decor of old furniture, warm lights and comfort, perfect. When you walk in, you’ll be presented with this display on the counter.
Lots of gluten free! Then you might notice this menu.
Even more gluten free! Then if you take a look over at the cake display cake, you may pop. So much choice!
So, you may be wondering. What was with my rant on the state of gluten free here in Berlin all about? Well, I decided to order the Banh Bao and look what arrived.
Yes, that does look amazing, you are correct, it was delicious. The problem was that little dish in the top right. Soy Sauce and not of the gluten free variety. Now, even though the rice bun is advertised as being gluten free and that I asked for a gluten free rice bun, it still arrived with the soy sauce. I only avoided eating it as I double checked (always, always, always double check). If this was a meal that you could specify to be gluten free as an option, I could understand, but it is specifically being sold as gluten free. The staff were helpful enough to check on both of the sauces for me, but still, it’s rather worrying.
Plus, there’s the fact that they could spend an extra 50 cents and buy gluten free soy sauce and only use that in the whole place. But what can you do.
Now, the complaining over. It could, after all, have been a simple mistake or lack of training of their staff. The food itself was actually pretty great and I have been a few times now and never suffered a reaction. Plus, the cakes, oh my, the cakes are simply amazing.
This is perhaps my new favourite gluten free cake in Berlin.
This was was pretty awesome too. There is absolutely nothing to complain about in the cake department.
Plus, they have some rather good drinks from ManuTeeFaktur there.
In conclusion, should you go? Yes, they may have made a mistake, but this is par for the course in Berlin these days and we all have to be vigilant. I’m pretty sure they will improve when more of us visit and point these things out. The food is well worth the trip and any hassles.