Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cookies Cream

June 13, 2012

When I started doing my restaurant planning for Berlin, I got pretty excited by the idea of Cookies Cream - a slightly fancy vegetarian place tucked down a Berlin alleyway with lots of positive reviews. It went straight to the top of the list. And so it was that on our third night in Berlin we were picking our way through a deserted-looking hotel carpark and trying to find our way in - it's not quite as hard as we feared (the giant chandeliers kind of give the game away), but it still adds a bit of mystique to the whole occasion. A rough pictorial map of our trip in:

The restaurant entryway is up those stairs in the last photo, although you still have to figure out where to go once you're in - the restaurant is at the top of the stairs, above a bar (that looks lovely but was empty when we wandered past at 7:30pm).

Anyway, we made it in and were one of the first tables seated (dinner, like all things in Berlin, starts pretty late). The fit-out is sparse - exposed concrete ceilings and floors, limited decoration, and the major decorative piece is a slightly rude picture including an American Express logo that we're told is not to be photographed due to previous legal threats. Service is efficient but slightly cool - I get the feeling that the peeps at Cookies Cream kind of miss the days when they really were a secretive restaurant for insiders only rather than somewhere that turns up in guide books and on web resources like Happy Cow (which was, as ever, invaluable in planning this trip!).

Onto the food! The menu has three courses, with five options each for starter and main and three for dessert. You're encouraged to pick one of each (36€ ~ AU$45), although you can order them one at a time (starters and desserts 10€, mains 20€). We ponder our options over some drinks - a garden tonic for me (gin, elderflower liqueur, lavender and elder flower tonic, 8€~AU$10) and an apple sour for Cindy (cucumber, lemon, sugar and apple juice, 5.5€~AU$7).

We again decided that we'd just split everything we ordered, and negotiated two items from each menu section that we were keen on. To start, the poached organic egg with hop and malt, puff pastry and salt flakes along with the endive salad with apple vinaigrette, chicory rolls stuffed with celery and apples and a baked hazelnut stick.

The poached egg was soft and runny, just like they're supposed to be, and the hollandaisey sauce had an interesting flavour - possibly the hops and malt at work. The greens were coarse and quite chewy, but had a slightly bitter flavour that worked nicely against all the creaminess on the plate.

The second appetiser was piled high with greens, which were nicely dressed in a sweetish vinaigrette. They sat upon some a couple of fat rolls made of chicory leaves, which had a cooked down mix of apple and celery inside. The hazelnut cigar provided a bit of savoury crunchiness to compliment the rest. This didn't work quite as well as the egg for me - it was very heavy on the greens and the chicory rolls themselves weren't that exciting.

Before our mains came out, the waitstaff snuck out some bread for us - I'd noticed it going to other tables and requested a serve for us, if only to sample the herby spread that came with it. Completely unnecessary, but completely delicious.

Onto the mains. First up, this peal barley strudel with chanterelle, parsley root, wild herbs and jus.

The strudel was a pleasant enough mix of crispy pastry and lightly seasoned pearl barley filling, but the stars of this dish were the glorious little mushrooms dotted all over the plate - I could have eaten them on their own.

Our other main was a serve of parmesan dumplings, with artichokes, bbq tomato and 'alloyed' sauce.

The dumplings weren't the won-ton style parcels I was expecting, instead they were big floury globs of richness with a wonderful parmesan essence embedded in them. The bbq tomato had a slightly smoky taste on top of its tomato-y sweetness, and the artichokes were tender. I'm not sure what the 'alloyed' sauce was, but it was rich and creamy and soaked into the dumplings pretty damn well.

Our first dessert was a chocolate fondant with blueberry sorbet, nougat sauce, bilberries and a sugar chip.

The fondant had an oozing chocolate middle that was super rich, and very challenging to split in half. On its own it was possibly a bit much, but the blueberry sorbet had just the right level of acidity to cut through it. Pretty great.

Last of all was a crunchy rhubarb tartlet with pistachio ice cream, yoghurt ice cream and sorrel.

The sorrel added a slightly confusing flavour to this dessert, but I really enjoyed the tart fresh rhubarb in the pastry and wafer sandwich and the creamy yoghurt ice cream. This was a nice fresh counterpart to the heavy chocolate dessert, and left us feeling pretty happy with our meal at Cookies Cream.

I'd definitely recommend checking out this place if you're a vegetarian in Berlin with a bit of spare money to burn - it's scandalously expensive by Berlin standards but really pretty reasonable if you think about eating at similarly flash places in Melbourne. The menu isn't loaded up with vegan options but it seems that they offer at least one appetiser, main and dessert each night, although I don't think they quite scale the same heights as the veg food. It's a fun place to eat, at least in part because of the effort they're going to to make it a bit hip. You'll definitely find better value veg food in Berlin, but you'll be hard pressed to find somewhere else that makes dinner seem as much of an occasion.

Cookies Cream is a pretty common stop off for food bloggers visiting Berlin. The Carnivorous Vegan, SMASH AND SNIFF, TheKua Does Food, I Can Has Cook?, A Typique Gourmand (French), The Young Foodie, Nimmersatt in Berlin (German), marsupialia, The captious vegetarian, DUA (Swedish) and The Busy Day Gourmet all enjoyed it, while What Do I Know didn't think it quite lived up to the hype.

Cookies Cream
Behrenstrasse 55, Berlin
030 27492940
three course meal, 36€ ~AU$45 (beware the tedious intro)

Accessibility: We had to trudge up multiple flights of stairs to get into the restaurant - I'm not sure if there's another way in, definitely call ahead if stairs are an issue. Once you're inside it's pretty spacious and well lit, and there's comprehensive table service. We didn't visit the bathrooms.


  1. these dishes are so interesting! (and they SCREAM "i'm expensive" lol)
    your second app looks especially odd to me but I would love to try it. thanks for the post!

    1. Hi LiveLoveNYC! The hazelnut stick on that app was awesome, and definitely fancy. :-)

  2. From the photos alone, I would've though the dumplings main was a dessert! However, I'd be much happier with the actual rhubarb dessert, I think. Love using savoury herbs in sweet things!

    1. Hi Hannah! Yep, there's something very 'dessert' about that plating, huh? And speaking of savoury herbs in sweet things, I had THE BEST non-alcoholic drink at a restaurant a few nights later. Stay tuned!