This was way too coincidental - a couple of friends (also visiting Berlin like me) wanted to have dinner but with 3 specific requirements: (1) has to be near Brandenberg Gate; (2) something spicy, preferably Thai or Vietnamese, and (3) has to be vegetarian!!
I Googled on my Blackberry whilst walking along Unter Den Linden and, guess what, Samadhi Restaurant popped up! Located along Wilhelmstrasse, a block down from the British Embassy - and it fulfilled all 3 items in our criteria.
BTW, Samadhi was a pleasant surprise indeed: at first glance the dining area looked innocuous & spartan. Run by a Vietnamese family, it offered a mix of Viet, Thai & Chinese vegetarian dishes.
What we ordered:
- Crisp-fried wantans, filled with tofu, crunchy seaweed, vegetables & nuts. These were delicious, served with a sweet Thai chilli dip;
- A Thai yam woon sen (mung bean vermicelli salad) where the usual minced pork & shrimp had been replaced with deep-fried tofu strips (yep, tofu/beancurd is BIG in this restaurant). Dressed in a lime-chilli-fresh herb dressing & topped toasted peanuts, it was a good balance of flavors & textures;
- a rich Vietnamese stew of bittermelon, bamboo shoots, zuchinni, crisp brown shallots, batter-fried strips of tofu, all simmered in a coconutty sauce which was flavored with fermented brown soybeans. Spiked with tiny red chillis, it was explosive yet addictive;
- A Thai yellow curry, made with aubergines, young jackfruit, mushrooms & topped with fresh holy basil, was rich & unctuous. A bit too rich for my taste but, again, the tiny chilli peppers liberally distributed in the curry provided bursts of heat.
Dessert was steamed glutinous rice, black beans & bananas, wrapped in banana leaf. It's served drizzled with rich coconut creme & sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and crushed groundnuts. A very satisfying ending indeed.
10117 Berlin, Germany
Tel: 030 22488850