A few years ago I tried the best vegan sushi ever at Edamame Vegan Sushi in Warsaw, and since then I’ve been hoping to recapture that brilliance. Unfortunately it hasn’t quite happened yet, but Secret Garden in Berlin made a pretty good stab at it. It’s a really nice, all vegan eatery, tucked away above the Veganz supermarket on Warschauerstrasse. Despite its location at a busy junction of a main road, the restaurant itself feels extremely peaceful and calming. The menu is not exclusively sushi-based, there are some general Japanese dishes as well, but we were mostly focused on the sushi, which had some quite ambitious and exciting flavour combinations.
It was so peaceful and relaxing in there that we decided to treat ourselves to some cocktails! I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a cocktail, it always seems like such a ridiculous expense. But in the spirit of our forthcoming trip to Japan I decided to throw caution to the wind and have a cherry blossom cocktail, while Dr HH opted for a zingy mocktail. We were both very happy sipping away at our fancy drinks.
Continuing with the non-sushi elements…we were really keen to try some dumplings, because they are always a treat. There were four varieties on the menu, and we opted for these little island ones – steamed dumplings with shiitake, garlic, and vegetables, topped with dried olives, hoisin sauce, and chilli rice flakes. It was tough to pass on the ones that were fried, but flavour wise these were definitely winner! The filling was not that strongly flavoured, but the sauces really delivered.
We also tried some spicy shroom summer rolls, because alas there were no spring rolls on the menu. These contained three types of mushrooms, lovely chunks of cashews, and veg, and were drizzled with a shittake-truffle sauce. The sauce looked so much like mayo (which I hate) that it was a little off-putting, but it was absolutely delicious.
And on to the sushi! You can order them in sets of 4 or 8, so we tried a few sets of four. First of all, we got the excitingly-named angry samurai – black rice, mango, avocado, soy strips, and tomato chilli sauce. They looked good, and tasted even better! Actually, I could have lived with a smaller piece of mango, but the other flavours kept it in check.
Then we went straight for the two tempura options! First up was the golden foo dog, filled with aubergine, tofu, and radish, and topped with Unagi sauce. There’s nothing like a crispy tempura roll, is there? That crunch is just so satisfying! These tasted really savoury and delicious.
But the tempura tiger were possibly even more exciting – rolled with black rice, grilled courgette, mushrooms, and garlic. I would definitely recommend these. None of these sushi varieties were quite as exciting as the ones we had in Warsaw, but this was still a really solid meal.
Nowadays when we go to Berlin we do not really do any sightseeing, we just go to visit the vintage clothes shops and eat…so we spent pretty much a whole afternoon here, ordering small plates, sipping our drinks, and enjoying people-watching (aka dog spotting) from the window. As such, we decided to plough on with some dessert. It is quite rare to spot creme brulee on vegan menus, so I was powerless to resist this one. It had a liquidy layer on top, which made me fearful that it was missing the lovely crackable surface, but fortunately, it was right there! It was a delicious dessert, with the perfect texture and flavour. I am not sure that the berry compote really added much, but it was nice too.
And Dr HH had this matcha cheesecake, which he cannot remember anything about. He shrugged and said it was probably good…so there you go!
This place was not cheap (not extortionate either though), but it was a really nice place to relax and spend a few hours with unobtrusive service, tasty dishes, and a pleasant atmosphere. And most importantly, it had tempura sushi!