German Gastronomy: Berlin – Series 2, Part II – Pasta e Passione

Breaking our own rules once again with another non-German Germany-based restaurant…

My trip to Berlin was so different in nature to last year’s I feel like I was visiting an entirely separate place. Sure, our host last year told us where to find cheap prostitutes and cocaine within ten minutes of meeting him (not that we had asked), but this was another kettle of fish altogether.

For instance, on my first evening there, instead of waltzing around Alexanderplatz (see pictured above) Jon took me, along with several of his friends, to a drag show. It’s apparently massive over in Germany. I personally remain quite ignorant of such culture, but I will admit that there were some very amusing and talented artists there, particularly the Glaswegian hostess named Gieza Poke.

Jon did have to advise me that there is an entirely different approach to sexuality in Berlin compared to England (and pretty much anywhere else in Europe, for that matter). A general lack of inhibitions both inside and out. Exemplified in that drag club when the hostess was offering tickets to a festival of some sort, on the condition that the volunteers strip naked onstage.

All that aside, let’s focus back on the food and our second restaurant of the series. Like we said in the last article, the chances of visiting a vegan-friendly restaurant serving traditional German fare in Berlin are very slim indeed. It’s just as well that there are so many other options.

For our lunch on probably the first warm day we had during my week-long stay in the capital this time around (after about three days of comfortably warm afternoons and wet evenings), Jon and I dined al fresco at the first Italian restaurants we came across. I had developed a bit of a craving for Italian food over the course of my trip.

Pasta e Passione‘s location is somewhat deceptive, since it directly neighbours an oriental restaurant on a corner. The door on the corner is actually that of the oriental place, but the outdoor seating of both restaurants back onto one another, making it look like one massive establishment. Fortunately Jon and I noticed we had entered the wrong place before we even met a member of staff!

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Our visit was well-timed – there was an offer on. Unlike London and Paris, Berlin’s restaurant prices are remarkably low – unusual for a capital city. A decent selection of dishes in pasta and pizza form were on the discounted list, from which I went down a traditional route and chose a Spaghetti alla Carbonara (see pictured). Jon’s choice was a vegetable pizza without cheese.

Since this will otherwise be a short article, I’ll go off on a tangent here and go into some German dinner etiquette briefly. A lot of you readers will probably be aware of the German toast “Pröst”. At dinner, it is considered bad etiquette to drink before having said “Pröst” – not such a bad thing when there’s just the two of you as we were, but frustrating in larger parties. From etiquette to local superstition – when toasting, you must look your fellow diners in the eye. If you don’t, it’s the same old story – seven years’ bad luck for you!

Back to the food – it has been forever since I last had a good Carbonara, so I was profusely glad that the one served by Pasta e Passione. Despite its discount, they did not stint on portion size – thankfully, since I rarely find a pasta dish filling. Absolutely swimming in a creamy sauce well-flavoured with parmesan and helped on the salty front with lovely thick pieces of bacon. Not the tiny chips chefs have the nerve to call bacon lardons, which would feel more at home in packets being sold behind the bar at pubs.

I had such a good experience at Pasta e Passione that I wanted to go back the next time we passed it a couple of days later. But I was already on a carb overload. Holiday or no holiday, enough was enough.

Odd as it may seem, this will be our last restaurant review in our four-part series. We have a couple of other Berlin features coming up for you, but in the night life and chocoholic lines. Stay tuned…

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