So, apparently there is no Emma Pea, not an Emma, not even a woman, but two guys behind the vegan food joint, Emma Pea. The chef told me it was something to do with hip hop, or beat box, or something. I feel decidedly uncool. James, the Chef, is not from Berlin, but the West of Ireland. Does that matter? I guess not. Speaking to him briefly, it was clear to see he is passionate about food. That does matter.
The cafe is situated in-between Friedrichsain and Kreuzberg, a stones throw from the river and a long section of Berlin Wall, within the hub of Urban Spree. Emma Pea shares it’s space with climbing walls, outdoor bars, music venues and an arts space. It looks somewhat like a trailer, with steel steps up to the restaurant. It’s cozy inside and feels relaxed. Outside you can sit out on the high deck and people watch. If you are lucky, enjoy the sun too.
James, teased me about my lengthy deliberations on choosing the menu. “you’re a blogger? Jesus, how long does it take you to write?!’ Writing is easy I say, picking the food I want is a bit more complicated. I explain I may only get to eat there once. My time in Berlin being limited and with so many vegan places to eat. ‘It’s got to be right’. I say. He then asks me how I’m feeling, and it’s like food therapy. I see how ridiculous I’m being and choose the stuffed paprika. I pay, and go and sit outside in the sun. Lucky (?!) for me I’m gluten free, or I’d have been there forever deciding. Alas, not everything on the menu is suitable for the gluten intolerant among us.
The food takes just a few minutes to arrive, giving me time to relax. It looks fresh. Obvious care is taken over presentation. The paprika (red pepper) is roasted and stuffed with lentils and soft, fluffy buckwheat. Blanched green beans are pepper flecked, and sprinkled with rough chopped hazelnuts, a hint of olive oil adds richness. An abstract flash of cherry pink vinaigrette, (perhaps a little too acidic for my palate) cuts through the dish and adds a modern twist to a vegetarian favourite. I was happy with my selection.
Nice atmosphere, relaxed ‘urban’ dining. Inexpensive.
Other things on the menu – chilli with mole (27 ingredients..this guy knows his stuff). Burrito’s. Green coconut curry. Spinach & chickpea soup, to name but a few. Some gluten free options. Sadly, no gluten free cakes or treats, at this time.
I popped over the road to veganz for a slice of mud cake. The perfect end.