This post is part of a larger series that also includes The Berlin Trip Report.
Does this look at the entrance of a 1-Michelin star restaurant?
I guess there's something intriguing about a restaurant with a secret entrance that involved going to a back alley (see the door next to the trash cans?), entering this secret door, and walking through an empty "pre-bar" area before arriving at a normal pleasant dining room.
It must have something to do with the history of the building, housing the legendary Cookie Bar nightclub for so many years. The bar closed in 2014 and got converted into two restaurants. Crackers on the ground floor, and Cookies Cream Berlin on the upper floor.
Cookies Cream is a 1-Michelin starrred vegetarian restaurant. I have never been a huge meat eater, so I was definitely intrigued by the idea of a vegetarian tasting menu. More recently, they have even created a vegan tasting menu! Cookies Cream boasts the honors of being "best vegetarian restaurant" by the Michelin Guide in 2018.
Cookies Cream Berlin works closely with a farmer in Krielow/Brandenburg and changes dishes depending on what ingredients are in season. They make use of fermentation and preservation to continue offering summer's bounty (in different forms!) during the winter.
The Vegetarian Tasting Menu
The meal began with bread, butter, and wine. A starting wine (a nice, crispy white) came with bread, leek butter whipped with red basil leaves and garlic flowers.
A sea of black dots was a trick of the eye. The large bowl was filled with little black pebbles that were not meant to be eaten. In the center, an onsen egg with croutons, topped with spherified seaweed “caviar” and kombucha.
Next came an artfully layered stack of kohlrabi, cucumber, daikon kimchi topped with a cucumber + yuzu sphere. "Mix it all together to season the dish" we were told. I loved the beautiful bright flavors. They were tart but not too sour, and paired really well with the rhubarb, chicory, spinach, and apple juice that was served with this course.
This may look like some sort of tartare, but it's actually tomato, onion, asparagus, and strawberry mixed with miso and camelina oil from Germany. The clear broth had a lot of umami, some nuttiness, and overall was more savory that sweet, carrying notes of tomato water, apple, and cucumber.
Finally, the "main course", a pastry filled with asparagus and potato served with two different sauces: a leek tarragon sauce poured table-side and also a deep, rich truffle sauce.
As the first pre-dessert (aka palate cleanser sorbet) came by, I leaned back in my seat (which was up against the wall), and just watched the energy of the diners all around me. In some ways it was nice to just soak in the ambiance and enjoy my nice vegetarian meal. I was thankful for the opportunity to dine at such a nice restaurant during our very short stay in Berlin.
At the same time, I distinctly could sense how I just don't love dining out alone. Perhaps it's the extroverted part of my nature that prefers to share these experiences with others. I love dining alone at home, sitting in my jammies enjoying my dinner while reading a book (or my iPad). But for some reason I just don't love dressing up and going to a fancy restaurant all by myself. Perhaps I find myself too boring of a company to be with!
The after dinner drink menu was like none I'd ever seen before. The server came over with a huge stamp and stamped the menu right on the tablecloth before my eyes.
On it, various wines by the glass, after dinner spirits, and some coffee drinks.
I passed on the after dinner drinks, but still very much enjoyed my final sweet bites.
The experience at Cookies Cream was certainly lovely, and I enjoyed the entire adventure. The tasting menu was creative, light, and overall a fun expression of the chef's multi-geographical influences.
I guess we didn't have any very traditional German food (e.g., pork knuckle, weinerschnitzel, pretzels, and the like) this time around.
Here is a short video I made of my solo meal there: