German Gastronomy: Berlin – Series 2, Part I – Vận May, Berlin

We couldn’t resist returning to the German capital for a few days and enjoy a couple more restaurants. This one, among them…

After visiting Germany for the last two years straight, I thought this year we would go for a change of scene when it came to a gourmet travel series. However, there’s only so many invitations from Jon Appleby I can decline and so, within the space of a day, I was fully booked to spend a week with him at his digs in Angerweg, not far from Berlin city centre.

This is the first of two restaurant reviews that will make up half of a four-part travel series. The meal in question took place at a Thai restaurant by the name of Vận May, at which Jon and I ate with his partner Felix in between errands. It is nigh impossible to visit any traditional German restaurants for these series – partly because they are mostly chains, but also because they don’t offer much in the way of vegan-friendly food — for Jon.

Berlin has a thriving Asian community, so there is also a wealth of restaurants serving oriental cuisine. As such, restaurants like Vận May are not few-and-far-between. Our favourite from last year – Chén Chè (entrance pictured) – is among them.

Bún Sả Ớt with Shrimps

The menu was surprisingly very eclectic, to a point where it was a struggle knowing a dish on which to settle. Eventually, after a fair few minutes ricocheting between decisions, I opted for something called Bún Sả Ớt with Shrimps (see pictured). This was a dish of rice noodles and prawns – rather than shrimps – along with a bunch of herbs and Asian vegetables, plus a little chilli. The menu had a flame against this dish’s title, but Jon advised me it would not be too spicy as Germans, in general, aren’t too partial to overly spicy food.

For me, it was just the right amount of heat behind the sweet and herby flavours. The sauce that coated the prawns was deliciously salty and fishy, further varying the mix of tastes to the dish. A great choice for lunch and, if you have a number of Asian dishes in your repertoire, not that difficult to replicate, I would imagine.

If you’re in Berlin and only fancy a quick bite for lunch, they have indoor and outdoor seating to accommodate all weathers and serve very quickly. Vận May would be ideal for those wanting to get out of the office on their lunch break, in my opinion. The only thing I would mark it down on properly would be the service. It may be quick but the staff are rather short-spoken and abrupt. Call that general German customer service if you want, but courteous waiting staff is something by which I must stand.

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