Restaurant Review – Das Brunch

das brunch berlin glutenfrei

One of the advantages of living in Berlin is that there are lots of parties, events and other such cool/hip things to attend.  You could literally spend every night of your Berlin life visiting them and never quite see them all.  But, one of the disadvantages of being a gluten-less individual is that you cannot really attend any of the food based ones, or if you do, you just have to sit, sniffing, hungry and sad in the corner.  But, thanks to my friend Kate over at Sole Satisfaction, I discovered that Das Brunch is actually quite gluten free friendly.  In that all of the food on offer is 100% gluten free with the only stipulation that you have to ask for gluten free bread with your order!  The only downside is that Das Brunch does not happen all that often (there have only been three in the past 6 months).

But, enough of all that, you want to know about the delicious food don’t you?  You want to know if it’s worth keeping watch and finding out when the next one is?  Well, look at this menu.

das brunch gluten free menu

That’s right, three options, all available gluten free with bread from Jute Backerei!  I plumped for the first (with both sausage and bacon, because, why wouldn’t you?) and look what arrived.

gluten free das brunch berlin

It was so good, just as amazing as it looks.  Now here is where I came across the only slight wrinkle in an otherwise great experience.  The meal came with regular gluten bread and only after I double checked with them did they point this out (always, always, always double check!).  Now, it wasn’t an issue, she apologised and went back to have it changed.  I’m not sure if they simply misheard me when I ordered or if there was a mixup in the kitchen, but I don’t think it was their fault, just a regular plain old accident.

They change the venue each time, but on my visit it was the CFL Canteen, which was pretty great.

gluten free das brunch cfl canteen

They even had an oyster bar at the back.

das brunch gluten free oyster bar

In conclusion, I’d definitely recommend a visit next time they appear.  Keep an eye on their facebook events page for the next one!

das brunch glutenfrei cfl canteen

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Shop Review – foodoase.de

I may have said it a million times before but it really can be tough finding good gluten free food to eat here in Germany.  I’m not sure whether it’s the fact that gluten free is still a relatively new thing here or the fact that gluten free food is treated more like a medicine, a sustenance to be endured rather than enjoyed.  Or perhaps it could be the companies here that make the food, or the stores that sell it here, unwilling to think it will sell and demanding long shelf life.  Either way, it can be frustrating, especially after getting back from a trip to the UK or USA, having stuffed my face with amazing food.

Thankfully though, some of the online retailers have taken notice of this and have started importing food from other countries for sale right here in Germany. Out of these, easily the best and the one with the widest range is food oase.  They have some of the best gluten free food from the UK, the USA and other countries.  To put it in perspective, at the time of writing, there are 1772 gluten free products on their site!  Amazing.  Think Doves Farms, Genius, Love More, Bobs Red Mill and many many more.  Do you need some Xanthan Gum?  How about some Baking Soda?  Shortbread perhaps? (not to mention Plamils great dairy free chocolate)

Luckily for me, they send through a sampler package of some of their products.  Luckily for you I took lots of pictures. (and ate it all, just to help, you know, for review purposes)

glutenfrei bobs red mill pancake mix

First up, we have my absolute favourite.  Bob’s Red Mill Pancake Mix.   Bob’s Red Mill simply make the best flours and mixes around (with Doves Farm being a close second), with this one being perhaps the best.  Do you want to eat a pancake and not even notice it’s gluten free?  This is the flour for you.

bobs red mill gluten free pancake flour

bobs red mill glutenfrei pancake

I’m not sure how I didn’t eat that before I took the picture.  But they are just crispy enough, the interior is nice and fluffy without any grainy texture.  Perfection.

glutenfrei pizza flour bobs red mill

Next up with have their Pizza Crust Mix.  It isn’t quite as good as their pancake mix and to be fair, most pizza base mixes are not so great, but it is pretty good.

bobs red mill gluten free pizza dough

The dough turns out a little sticky as most gluten free versions do.

bobs red mill gluten free pizza base

Although a good pizza can be made out of it.  So I guess it does it’s job.  It’s certainly better than any of the mixes you can buy here and better than the pre-made bases from Schaer and the like.

bobs red mill gluten free flour

Next is their Four Grain Porridge.  I do miss my morning porridge (being British, it’s much more of a brekfast food than the delicious pancakes above) so I was rather excited with this one.

glutenfrei porridge bobs red mill

bobs red mill gluten free porridge

Now, yes, you may look at that last picture and think, well, that isn’t porridge, that’s some sand you found.  And yes, it does have the consistency of millions of tiny tiny little pebbles.  Unfortunately this does carry over into the finished product.  I mean, it’s not terrible, but I’ve had better porridge that I’ve made myself from gluten free oats.

Next up is little gluten free buns from Alnavit.  Both their white and seeded versions.

gluten free alvanit bread

They are of the prepackaged long shelf life variety, but they are also lactose free!  So not all bad.

glutenfrei alnavit buns

To be honest, they’re not my favourite in the world but they are on par with Schaer (only slightly more expensive per gram).  If you’re looking to buy bread from foodoase, I’d see my post on Genius first.

gluten free chips chill and lemon

glutenfrei lentil chips creamy dill

Next up are some lovely lovely lentil and chickpea chips.  It’s definitely good to have something other than potatoes to fulfill my junk needs.

glutenfrei lentil chips glutenfrei kirscherbsen chips

The texture is a little odd but they are a great snack food and have a good flavour to them.  Not too strong, just enough.  They might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’d give them a try for at least one packet (of the creamy dill variety, they were rather delicious).

gluten free eat real bars

Last up is Eat Real Cashew & Cranberry Bars.  These were perhaps the most disappointing of the selection.  They sound and look good, but they were unfortunately extremely crumbly and quite lacking in flavour.  If I had nothing else to hand, they’re good, but otherwise, I’d give them a miss.

glutenfrei eat real bar

All in all, foodoase is a great site and they are really trying to provide a good selection of high quality products from around the world.  Something that is essential in the somewhat behind German gluten free market.

Genius in Germany – Part 2

If you have read my first post on Genius, you’ll know that the most amazing thing in the world is happening.  Genius Gluten Free are launching here in Germany!!  No more long shelf life bread.  No more solid ‘brick buns’.  No more sadly eating sandwiches that are a bit naff.  Just good, fresh, gluten free bread.

It has been almost two months since I learned about all this, but, to be honest I’m still just as excited.  Mostly as I can now actually walk into a supermarket and buy Genius bread, even if for the time being it’s only in a few participating Kaisers.  I mean, just look at it!

genius glutenfrei deutschland

‘But, what should I buy?’ I hear you say.  Well.  A good first try is their white loaf.

genius glutenfrei brot

It’s nice and soft, fresh and approximately a million times better than any other gluten free loaf you can buy here.  Now I know that some of you may prefer a harder loaf.  But we’re talking about sandwich bread here, you simply cannot make a good sandwich with a solid block of bread.  It’s just terrible.

Also, their dark loaf and their similar ‘traditional’ dark bread are pretty damn good too.

IMG_3468

This one is the best for making toast.  Especially cheese on toast, it’s simply amazing, mostly as it actually toasts like real bread.

There are of course, their amazing muffins and their absolutely ridiculously good buns.  Check out my first post on Genius for my review of them.

For now, there is just a trial in eight Kaisers stores.  So if you want Genius to stay here in Germany you should go and buy 5 loaves a day.  Right now.

  • Bergmannstrasse 5, 10961 Berlin
  • Nollendorfplatz 8-9 10777 Berlin
  • Neue Kantstrasse 29, 14057 Berlin
  • Clayallee 336, 14169 Berlin
  • Winsstrasse 18, 10405 Berlin
  • Revalerstrasse 2, 10243 Berlin
  • Baumschulenstrasse 31, 12437 Berlin
  • Boelschestrasse 32, 12587 Berlin

 

Genius in Germany

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, it should come as no surprise that I’ve been unhappy with the state of gluten free bread in Germany for many years.  Yes, technically, the bread you can buy now is much much better than what you could buy six years ago.  But, saying that, I have also become desensitised to how bad the gluten free bread is here and I have lowered my standards a little to accept it.  All of this unhappiness is due to the fact that I have sampled very good gluten free bread back in the UK and in other countries.  I know how good a gluten-less life could be like and, in comparison, how bad it is here.

Thankfully though, the lovely lovely people at Genius Gluten Free have decided to save us all and launch their products here in Germany.  Now, some of you (probably the British amongst my readers) will have just experienced their head exploding with joy.  For the rest of you unfamiliar with Genius, they produce perhaps the best gluten free bread you can buy in a supermarket, anywhere.  Now, this is quite a statement and I’ve not tried every single bread in the world, but there is such a difference between the Schaer and Schnitzers of the world and Genius, I feel pretty comfortable saying it.

First off, and most importantly, they make fresh bread.  There is no three month shelf life in sight here, no long list of chemicals pumped into the bread to make it last forever to satiate those nervous store owners.  As a result it’s pretty healthy (well, as much as gluten free bread can be) and tastes roughly a million times better.  Who knew that making a bread to have a good taste, texture and be eaten fresh would be good? (oh, only all those gluten tolerant people who get to do it every day)

If you’re thinking “Oh, I’ve tried all that gluten free bread before, it’s terrible.  I’ve given up completely on bread and I’m not going to bother with another one.”.  Give it a chance.  Buy a loaf or two and some rolls.  You will be happier.

At the moment they’re only launching a limited selection of their products and, for now (see more below), they’re available on foodoase.de here :

http://foodoase.de/shop/system/?func=searchdo&field_17=Genius&

I was fortunate enough to meet up with the owner Lucinda and their German Genius team a little while ago and just look at the bounty they provided me :

genius gluten free range germany

Four types of loaves, muffins and buns!  Happiness.  Plus, they gave me a little deeper knowledge into the company and what it is they’re trying to do.  Basically to make life normal for us, to make us feel like we don’t just have to ‘make do’ with bad gluten free products.  How many times have you bought a packaged loaf from some biomarkt that was probably baked a month ago and had to reactivate it with grilling or some such just to make it taste passable?  Other people don’t have to do this, so why should we?

But, I know you really want to hear about the actual bread.  So, the first thing I had to try was the white rolls.  The easiest way to put this is that rolls like these are simply not available here in Germany.  You can buy ‘rolls’ here but they’re more akin to a solid lump of stone that has never even heard of the concept of air.

genius glutenfrei brotchen genius gluten free rolls

Yes, they are every bit as amazing as they look.  Soft, delicious and very close to ‘real’ bread.  You simply have to try them to believe how good they are.  Plus they have a seeded version (they are equally as good, although this photo was taken a few days later when they were a little less fresh, hence the slight crumble).

IMG_3493

Then, of course, I had to wash down the rolls with a muffin.  Just look at it.

genius glutenfrei muffin

Lemon and poppy seed.  It was easily better than any muffin I’ve had here, even those ‘freshly baked’ ones that are available in cafes.

Then there is the fruit bread.  Another one of these products you cannot buy here and it is simply delicious.

IMG_3498

There are other loaves, a couple of darker ones and a white, but for now I’ll leave you with the tease of the ones above.  The reason for this is that they will soon start selling genius in a few select Kaisers!!!  YES!!!  Actually just being able to walk to the shop and buy some on a whim!!!  It will be a trial to see how well the breads sell, so we’ll all have to go and buy lots and lots to convince them to stock Genius forever!  I’ll post up part two of my review then as a little reminder.  Although, if you can’t wait, be sure to check out Sole Satisfaction for her own review (and amazing photos) of all the genius breads here.

The list of Kaisers for the trial is as follows :

From Monday 1st February :

  • Bergmannstrasse 5, 10961 Berlin
  • Nollendorfplatz 8-9 10777 Berlin
  • Neue Kantstrasse 29, 14057 Berlin
  • Clayallee 336, 14169 Berlin

From Tuesday 2nd Februrary :

  • Winsstrasse 18, 10405 Berlin
  • Revalerstrasse 2, 10243 Berlin
  • Baumschulenstrasse 31, 12437 Berlin
  • Boelschestrasse 32, 12587 Berlin

Cafe Review – Lissabonbon

glutenfrei lissabonbon cafe berlin

If there’s one thing that makes life easy for a blogger, especially one who writes reviews of cafes and restaurants, it’s when you have a gorgeous looking cafe.  With lots of little nicknacks, textures, antique furniture and good lighting.  Just pointing the camera in any random direction makes a great photo.  Easy.  Add into that amazing food and my life is almost complete.  But, just look at Lissabonbon.

gluten free cafe lissabonbon berlin

I mean, what more could you want?  The place is a fairly small cafe, just south of Görlitzer Park in Kreuzberg.  Yes, it is a little bit of a walk from the nearest U-Bahn station (Görlitzer Bahnhof or Schlesisches Tor), but it’s well worth it and I’ve heard that there are these things called buses too.  There are only around 10 seats inside, but if it is summer, there are plenty more outside.

glutenfrei cafe lissabonbon berlin outside seating

Back inside though, there is plenty of food to be had.  On first sight you may think there’s gluten free bread tucked behind some glass in a nice display, but, at the moment there is unfortunately not.

gluten free cafe lissabonbon counter

Just your regular gluten filled bread.  Although the owner (who is delightful and you should spend some of your time chatting to) is planning on making her own gluten free bread.  If you’d like this, go, often, buy all you can and let her know how much you’d love it (and her) if she made some.

But, let’s get to the food itself, this is what we are here for after all.

gluten free selection at lissabonbon cafe berlin

That’s right, sandwiches AND cake!  All of the sandwiches are individually wrapped to help avoid cross contamination.

gluten free sandwich lissabonbon berlin

I’ve been a few times and there has been a different cake on each visit.  Which is a welcome change, too many places here just bake the same gluten free cake again and again.

glutenfrei cake lissabonbon berlin

gluten free lime cake lissabonbon berlin cafe

The sandwiches come heated and rather delicious.  The schaer foccacia bread isn’t absolutely amazing, but it’s also not bad.  Just regular.

glutenfrei sandwich lissabonbon berlin cafe

Delicious!  The Slimey Limey cake, which absolutely had to be eaten with a name like that, came with whipped cream and lime sauce.

gluten free lime cake lissabonbon cafe berlin

To say it was amazing would be an understatement.  Yes.  Go, hope that they have this, then stuff your face.  If not, their other cakes are also rather good, and certainly not a consolation prize.

lissabonbon berlin gluten free cake

They also have amazing soups (which I ate too quickly to take a photo of) and tapas with plenty of gluten free options (which I haven’t had a chance to try just yet).

gluten free lissabonbon berlin tapas

In conclusion, they’re really trying to provide a good experience for those of us gluten afflicted.  A fairly varied selection of dishes which are different than what you can get in most other places.  And, hopefully, with your support of them, they’ll start to offer more and more.  Yes, you should definitely make your way there and eat as much as you possibly can.

gluten free cafe lissabonbon berlin

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Cafe Review – Eat Performance Bistro Ritterstrasse

gluten free restaurant eat performance berlin

Before I moved to the great city of Berlin, I had absolutely no idea what a Paleo diet was.  In my rather small and parochial hometown we were rather unlikely to ever hear about the concept of a Paleo restaurant, never-mind getting one.  Then back in 2010, Sauvage happened.  Out of the blue I found a diet that just happened to completely align with my various aliments and allergies.  Perfection!  Since then we’ve  had a second Sauvage with their delicious breakfasts.  And up until recently the pair were the only 100% completely gluten free restaurants in the city.  Thankfully though, Paleo is a rather popular diet, and we did not have to wait too long until the second opened up, Eat Performance.

Now, before we start on the review proper.  I have to warn you the place is a little hard to find.  To start, this is the view of the main entrance from the road.

eat performance glutenfrei berlin

Not your average entrance to a cafe/restaurant.  I walked right past on the first attempt and it took me a while before I even noticed the sign on the right of the picture.  But, get a little closer and you’ll see this.

eat performance gluten free sign

Well, at least I know I’m walking in the right direction (although, I have been back and the banner thing wasn’t there).  Inside the (rather lovely) courtyard, you find the actual bistro!

eat performance berlin gluten free bistro

Not the easiest to find.  But certainly not the hardest.

Before I went, I had no idea what to expect from them.  Was this to be fine dining a’la Sauvage?  Well, probably not with the bistro title.  But, you never know!  Inside, it’s rather nice, if a little sparse, and there’s plenty of room.

eat performance glutenfrei bistro

The menu gives you a pretty good run down of what they offer.  ALL GLUTEN FREE!!

eat performance gluten free menu

EGGS! BURGERS! SANDWICHES! Oh my.

Plus, there are plenty of little treats to buy.

gluten free snacks eat performance berlin

 

gluten free muesli eat performance berlin

 

gluten free chia pudding eat performance berlin

I ordered myself just a sandwich (well, it’s not like I get to do that often) and my friend ordered the baked eggs.  Now, it’s at this point I had my first disappointment, the sandwich was not something made to order, not something which came with a side salad or such.  But, it was one of the pre-made sandwiches from the fridge, albeit heated.

gluten free sandwich eat performance berlin

It was a surprise.  But I think more due to my expectations.  My feeling is that there’s a part of the  menu that is aimed more at the working quick lunch crowd and the rest (burgers and such) is more aimed towards sitting in.  This isn’t a problem really though.  Infact it’s great, if I worked nearby it would be a miracle.  It’s what you’d get from a regular lunch bistro, like a normal gluten person.

But, the sandwich was roast beef, and how on earth could I turn that down.

gluten free sandwich eat performance berlin

Yum!  It’s not the best sandwich I’ve ever had (it’s no Friedman’s Lunch in New York), but the bread was rather good.  I’d probably say it’s my favourite bread I’ve had in Berlin (including Jüte, the gluten free bakery), but then, I am a fan of chestnut bread anyway.

The baked egg dish looked a little better than my sandwich, and from my friends reactions, tasted rather good too.

eat performance gluten free baked eggs

Their smoothies are great and I had myself a beetroot filled one.  (I can’t stop stuffing my face with beetroot, I may have a problem).

eat performance glutenfrei smoothie

I have visited once since then and tried one of their burgers.  Look at it.

gluten free burger eat performance berlin

Easily, very easily, the best gluten free burger I have had in Berlin.  I would highly recommend you go and try one.

The only other downside is that their service is rather slow.  It was pretty empty on both of my visits and the food took quite some time to arrive.  If it was busy, I would be concerned.  Hopefully this is just growing pains and they will improve soon.

In conclusion.  Yes, go and eat there, even if just for the burger or the delights of buying a quick takeout sandwich/salad like a normal person.

eat performance berlin

Ps. they do have a second location in Schöneberg which I’ve yet to visit.  I’d expect it to be just as good though.
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Bakery Review – Jute Backerei Preview

gluten free jute bakery berlin

I am so unbelievably excited this month.  Why you may ask?  Well, when I am traveling the world and I have a choice between a few cities, I’ll invariably pick the one with the best Gluten Free options.  If that city has a dedicated Gluten Free bakery, then I’m already there.  But, get this, we’re going to have our very own Gluten Free bakery here in Berlin!

To give you an idea of my level of excitement, this pre-review is being written before they even open.

But, it does include a little substance as they have been selling their bread (plus buns and a rather delicious apple cake) as a preview before they open on the 27th September.  Upon hearing this, I ran over immediately and bought myself a little something (I did try the apple cake, but it obviously did not survive long enough for a photo).

glutenfrei jute backerei berlin brot

YUM!

gluten free jute bakery bread

Yes, it is good.  While it’s probably not my absolute favourite Gluten Free loaf I’ve had (my English sensibilities prefer lighter and fluffier bread) it’s pretty high up there.  Although, they do have a lighter white loaf which I shall be sampling soon indeed.

So, yes, they’re not open yet, but yes, you should definitely go down there right now.  Tell them how much you love them for opening a Gluten Free bakery and spend all the money you have right then and there.

Plus, attend their opening party on the 27th.

Click the banner below to see all the details of this restaurant on our sister site, Allergy Explorer.

Allergy Explorer - Gluten Free food and restaurant listings in Germany

Restaurant Review – Sauvage Prenzlauer Berg

Gluten Free Sauvage

I am sometimes surprised by how long I’ve been doing this blog, what seems to be a year or two in my head quickly turns into 3 or 4 when I check in with reality, must be the old age creeping up.  The good side of all this time passing by though, is that I get to see the truly good Gluten Free places here thrive and grow.  A little around 3 of those short seeming years ago I reviewed Sauvage in Neuköln, expressing my surprise that they were actually gluten free.  At the time I think the owners were also a little surprised to find out they were the only completely gluten free restaurant in the whole city, hence why back then, they thought it not important to mention it on their website.  Thankfully for us, 3 years later, the restaurant is a rather huge success in both the ‘regular person’ and Paleo diet world, meaning the gluten afflicted world gets to enjoy some good high end cuisine.  Imagine my joy then, when they opened a second location in Prenzlauer Berg.  Plus, they’ve embraced their gluten free-ness with abandon and gluten free icons on their website.  Happiness.

Glutenfrei Sauvage

Another surprise is the benefits that doing this website occasionally affords me, the odd sample of products from Schär and such or the odd offer of a free slice of cake.  This time however, I was invited for a complimentary meal at Sauvage.  Normally, I would be worried this would affect the outcome of my review and I would not partake.  Fortunately though, having been there a few times over the years, I knew the food at Sauvage would be rather good.

First off, the decor.  I am a big fan of the cave/rustic theme of the Neuköln restaurant and this new place does not disappoint.

glutenfrei sauvage inside

I do so love the twiggy lamp/light things on the ceiling.  Earth and Warmth is definitely the theme.

The second thing I noticed on my wander around is that the restaurant also has a mini shop and just look at what they are selling!

Gluten Free Bread Sauvage

Paleo Gluten Free bread!  Now, yes, you may see that it costs €6.80 and think to yourself “oh my, that is a little steep” and you would be right.  It is expensive.  But there is one thing that is always worth paying for.  Expertise, quality and especially with gluten free products, taste.  So, I think you can guess my opinion of this bread, but I’m going to make you wait a little for me to say it.  First it’s time for the meal.

IMG_2111

The initial mini-starter was this.  I’m not 100% sure exactly what it was, I was revelling in the fact that I did not have to ask what all of the ingredients in the dish were and forgot to inquire.  But it was rather delicious indeed.

IMG_2115

Then came the cocktails.  Not that most cocktails have gluten in them, or that my drink order really belongs in a gluten free review, but they look good and they tasted great.  So that means I get to show them to you.

Glutenfrei starter Sauvage

Beef with nuts and berries in a small crumbly tarte base.  It was absolutely amazing, really, amazing.  Shortly after, with a satisfied grin still on my face, the main meals arrived.

I had myself duck with ‘pan fried salsify, braised red cabbage and quince, turmeric quince purée and orange jus’.  Yes, it was every bit as delicious as that sounds, even if I don’t know what some of those things may be.

glutenfrei essen sauvage

My partner had ‘Lamb carré with a pistachio-thyme crust, pan-fried brussel sprouts, a sunchoke sun-dried tomato creme, and cumin jus’.  Again, just ridiculous.

Gluten Free Meal Sauvage

To add to this feast, some gluten free bread was also placed on our table.  Leaving me with a giant nightmare of what to eat first.

Gluten Free Bread Sauvage

The bread of course!  It was amazing.  By far the best gluten free bread I’ve had in Berlin.  Well, maybe not for a sandwich, this is the type of bread you eat on it’s own with a little something spread on top.  It’s not to be used as a container for other tasty things, it is the tasty thing.  The flavours in the bread, especially the darker of the two, were a welcome refresh from the blandness of my bread based life here.  You should definitely buy a loaf to take away with you.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, ‘my that is a lot of food, I bet you were giddy, very full and definitely satisfied without a chance of eating anything more’, and you’d be right.  I was all those things, especially full.  But, when you are in a restaurant where you can eat absolutely everything on the menu, you go a little crazy.  So a short while later, this arrived.

Gluten Free Dessert Sauvage

A small pumpkin tarte.  The contents were delicious, and here is where my only complaint of the whole meal is.  The crust was a little tough to get through, but ultimately worth the effort.

After the meal, as I wobbled out towards the door, this lovely sign caught my attention.

Gluten Free Brunch Sauvage

Check that, a completely gluten free brunch that is on every sunday!!

In conclusion, Sauvage continues to be THE best Gluten Free food and experience you can have in Berlin.  There simply are no other completely gluten free restaurants to start with, combine this with good food and you need to be there now.  But, stop, put down your coat and shoes, before you do go there is one downside.  The place is rather expensive, the main meals can reach over €30 each.  All this means though is that it is not a place to visit every week to have an evening meal, it’s a special place to visit and pretend you live in a world where you can eat whatever you want.  It is worth every penny that you spend there.

glutenfrei sauvage antlers

Click the banner below to see all the details of this restaurant on our sister site, Allergy Explorer.

Allergy Explorer - Gluten Free food and restaurant listings in Germany

Product Review – Schär Meisterbäckers Vital Frischbrot

I used to spend a lot of time on this blog complaining about the terrible state of gluten free bread here in Germany.  To be fair, when I started back in 2010, the glutenfrei bread here was pretty abysmal.  Tasteless bricks of compressed sand for the most part.  Fortunately for us, all those German manufacturers were not sitting around resting on their laurels, they were busy tinkering and experimenting, gradually providing us with better and better bread.  The latest I’ve tested is the Schär Meisterbäckers Vital Frischbrot, a bit of a mouthful to type so, if I refer to it again, I’ll call it Vital Brot.

schaer vital gluten free bread

The packaging is much the same as all of the other Schär fresh breads, a giant balloon holding a soft squishy loaf.

schaer vital glutenfrei brot

Inside you get the usual plastic tray containing the gluten free goodies.  The vital brot (yay, i referred to it by name again) is pretty good by my standards.  There’s a good flavour to it, nothing too strong, just about right.  The texture is great too, not too crumbly and the little seeds add some bite.

In conclusion, I’d recommend it, I think it’s my favourite of the frischbrot from Schär.

Restaurant Review – Dirty South

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South

Update 04 November 2013 – Their cornbread is no longer Gluten Free.

Update 15 September 2014 – Unfortunately Dirty South has closed, they have been replaced with a Mexican restaurant but at the moment it’s not clear if they will offer gluten free food.

There is one thing I definitely miss from my Gluten days, which is being out, having a few drinks and just wandering into somewhere to have a good ol’ drunken snack.  It’s near impossible to do gluten free here, unless you count a bag of carefully selected erdnuss flips from the local späti.  So when I first walked past Dirty South, not long after it had opened, I was rather excited.  A restaurant which serves tacos and comfort food, has booze and had taken the time to actually write that they are gluten free friendly on their sign outside!!

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South Wall

Although, it still confuses me a bit as to why people join Vegan and Gluten Free together, but, nevermind, I’m quite happy enough to see Gluten Free get a mention.

So, I endeavoured to visit and consume.  I tried twice, only to find them closed during their listed open hours!  What with not being able to eat a full meal anywhere else nearby, it meant a 30 minute journey back home to cook and eat, quite frustrating indeed.  I dropped by a third time to just check out their menu, having already eaten elsewhere and was greeted by a staff member who had no idea what gluten free even was, I was a little dismayed.  But, I persisted, and on my fourth try, I found them open and a (mostly) knowledgeable staff member, joy!  I have since visited a few times and have had no issue with them being open, I’m guessing it was a little early teething problem, the staff though, is another issue.

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South Pictures

The place itself is a nice and a little themed, glorious and all ‘American’ to my European eyes with a complete lack of the useless tack that you get in other American places here (think neon signs).  Plus, they have quite a nice selection of alcohols behind the bar and American beers (although the glutenfrei options are German).

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South Alcohol

But, this is not why I was visiting.  Food was to be consumed!  I opened the menu, wondering at just what delights I could eat!

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South Menu

Comfort foods, sounds good, but no sign of anything gluten free, next page.

glutenfrei Berlin Dirty South Menu

Tacos sound great also, but, again, no mention of gluten free.  Odd.  It was at this point that I called over the server and inquired, she went away and checked with the kitchen and was able to list off what was and what was not gluten free, although further questions needed additional visits to the kitchen.  To say it was a little confusing would be an understatement.  I have since been back a couple of times and have met the same issue, the staff seem to have not been trained as to what gluten free really is and give the impression that they are not 100% sure what is and what is not gluten free on the menu.  I think this is down to a confusion between ‘may contain traces of’ and ‘completely gluten free’, but either way, it does not fill you with any confidence when ordering.  Thankfully, it’s not that they do not care and you will get to order gluten free food, it’s just the process is far more difficult and worrying than it should be.

Now, it’s not that I don’t have to go through this kind of hassle in a regular restaurant, but for a place that offers specifically gluten free items, to not have them at least marked on the menu and have your staff trained seems rather odd indeed.  The next time I visit I’m tempted to take along a little packet of sticky red dots to put next to each gluten free item.

But, after being reassured that the kitchen is well aware of gluten and they know what they’re doing, I ordered myself a Black Beans & Rice Deluxe with Bacon and Cornbread.  Plus, as I was in an American place, this little can of high fructose corn syrupy joy.

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South Drinks

I don’t care what people say, root beer is delicious.  Then this arrived, causing homer-esque “mmmm, bacon”s in my brain.

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South Bacon

And just look at this golden brick of gluten free lovelyness.

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South Corn Bread

It was rather good and, even with the bacon of the main dish, I think the cornbread was my favourite.  Although that may be because I was actually eating bread with my meal in a restaurant, rare.

On my second successful visit, I ordered the beef version of the dish above.

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South Beef

It was far better and I would highly recommend giving it a try.

The only downside was that, at least on my visit, there were no gluten free desserts as such, but here’s hoping that they change that.

In conclusion, forgive their little oddities, it may be disconcerting and a bit of pain to order but they are slowly getting better with the knowledge and ability to advise.  Just focus on the fact that the food is good and they serve cocktails.  What more could you want.

glutenfrei Berlin Dirty South

Dirty South
Krossener Straße 18
10245 Berlin
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