Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A city in the cloud - or - Vegetarian Dinner Club visit


All of Berlin was covered in a beautiful cloud of fog today. I wanted to take photographs of everything I saw: the TV tower disappearing into whiteness, the windows of the Park Inn Hotel slowly fading into invisibility, the Volksbühne's outlines blending with the grey veil around it, the traffic lights glowing insistently, multiplied by reflections in the fog particles. It was a beautiful day, even if you couldn't see much more than a few buildings ahead.

Work was a hurried affair. Lately, I've been up reading all night and today I had turned off my alarm and slept until noon. And then I closed my eyes again and slept another hour. At work I noticed that I had double-booked myself by promising to sit in on a meeting at 2pm, as well as have a tandem lunch with K. Back in the office at 3.30, my colleague W reminds me that I made dinner plans with him only yesterday – for 5pm.

I've wanted to check out the Kurukshetra Vegetarian Dinner Club for over two years now: ever since I saw their flyer in Mauerpark. W and I lock our bikes outside an Indian shop that looks just like any other hippie store specialising in incenses and wooden pearl bracelets. A blond girl with markings painted between her eyebrows tells us that if we're here for dinner, it's through the backdoor. She opens it for us and points us in the right direction: take a left after the yoga hall. Luckily we get some help and we find the homely dining room decorated with a half of a straw hut and pillow strewn chill out corner.




The dinner club serves a vegetarian all-you-can-eat meal for €4.50 every work day between 5-8pm. Each day of the week has it's own menu that you find out there, or by signing up to the newsletter. As we take a seat, an older woman with long, gray hair comes to ask us if we want some of her own blend of magical herbal tea. We politely accept and I ask her if how long the Club has been around? She tells us that she's native American, a wold citizen who's travelled everywhere, teaching and uniting people in peace and love. I compliment her tea and ask her if there's licorice in it – there are six herbs in it, that's why it's magical, she replies. The conversation is interesting, but not very informative. We are brought a plate of pasta and tomato sauce each and dig in. The sauce has a great taste, but the pasta is watery and over cooked, so I leave most of it. We converse about Norwegian black metal bands and mass-murderers, as well as about work and ecstasy parties. Another plate appears in front of both, this time with a veggie burger and a stuffed bell pepper. The veggie burger is fantastic: it has great texture, great flavour and is completed by a slice of cheese, tomato and cucumber. I'm so stuffed that I can barely look at the bell pepper, but out of curiosity I have a bite anyway. Luckily I concentrated my efforts on the burger, because the pepper is really bland. We get a refill of the magical tea and dessert bowls with a generous cut of chocolate cake. Somehow, neither one of us has a problem with finishing the whole piece. Even if not every single component was to my liking, everything was all right – and when the dishes were good, they were fantastic. If we were only served the burgers, cake and tea I would have been happy to pay €4.50 for that alone! Surely this is one of the best dinner deals in Berlin.




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