A couple of weeks ago, as we were walking to the Neptun Center, we came across a vegetarian ‘Imbiss’, an ‘Imbiss’ being a small restaurant where mainly snacks and fast food are served, named Löwenzahn & Gänseblümchen (‘dandelion & daisy). We decided to give it a try at some point, and yesterday, we did.
At first, we are critical. The snacks usually served at an Imbiss involve some kind of meat, whether it be a bratwurst or a burger. But we are starving, and, knowing that there might be readers of this blog out there who are vegetarians and in dire need of snacks, we put aside our fears and enter.
The place is tiny, with 4 tables seating a total of 16 people. There’s a counter and behind it you can look into the kitchen, which looks very clean as far as we can tell.
At the first glance, the menu doesn’t seem very extensive; but the second we step into the shop, we are welcomed by the owner, who instantly begins to list all kinds of things on offer that are no where to be seen on the menu. There’s a different choice of lunches served every day which isn’t anywhere on the menu and even the things on offer every day can’t all be found.
‘I can’t afford to have new menus printed,’ the owner explains, ‘unless i want to have them printed on a bogroll.’
Oh, okay then. So we have her list everything that’s on offer for us instead.
And there’s a great deal.
Vegetarian burgers and nuggets and schnitzels and sausages and breads with different toppings and all sorts of soups (pumpkin and peppers and spinach-lettuce, to name a view) and salads, all freshly made. And that’s only the regular menu, not including the previously mentioned daily changing lunch menu. On this you may find pizza, Frikadellen (fried mince meat dumblings), pasta dishes, vegetarian stews (e.g. a peanut stew) or salad & soup specials; Soljanka, a traditional eastern soup made originally from left-overs (‘Not as disgusting as it sounds! And of course we make it freshly, not from left-overs’, we are reassured) is on the menu every day, as it’s a favourite with the customers. And, for omnivores visiting with a vegetarian, a small choice of meals with meat. All very decently priced, and, in the case of the lunch menu, with a 10% discount for students.
Despite previous, somewhat scary experiences with tofu ‘meat’, we bravely take the plunge and order a burger and a bratwurst, each with a side of fried potatoes.
As we wait for our meal to be cooked, the owner invites us over to have a look at the choice of drinks; there’s traditional former Eastern Germany cola and sherbet (Waldmeister or raspberry), sour rhubarb lemonade, and coffe- and liquorice-flavoured cola.
There’s also a delicatessen shelf with wines, unusual beers and liquors, various cooking oils, cutely packaged pastilles, chocolates, and a variety of other things.
After a wait of maybe 10-15 minutes – time flies with all the fun stuff to discover here and the owner still continuously chatting with us – our food arrives.
Its quite a surprise.
It’s neatly arranged, and, in one word, delicious.
Whilst I prefer my fried potatoes a little crunchier, the taste is still great and the burger is delicious anyway. The vegetables are very fresh and the tofu ‘meat’ tastes surprisingly good, too. The bratwurst is spicy, very evenly cooked and the only thing that betrays it as tofu is the consistency, which is drier than real meat and a little crumbly. There’s also a faint whiff of some taste that we can’t quite identify, but that doesn’t mark it down.
After we are done with the meal, the owner comes over and chats some more; this might be a little annoying if you’re just trying to enjoy your meal in peace, but as we came to gain information, it’s great. She tells us that she’ll be moving to the Saarplatz soon, which is easier to reach for students, that she intends to open at night, too, after she moves, so that people can come by for a snack whilst out partying and that she gives a continual discount for people who come regularly – regularly being 3 times a week. You can tell that she’s selling the place, at the latest when she tells us ‘I want to make money, that’s why I’m having this conversation!’ In her defence, her prices don’t reflect that sentiment.
In the course of this conversation, we decide to try a smoothie.
There’s no set menu for these, you just combine whatever fruit or vegetable they have that you are interested in. We go for a kiwi-grapefruit smoothie (they’re out of oranges) and watch as it is prepared. It’s very nice and fruity, though it could have done with some crushed ice to make it a little more refreshing. She tells us that they recently even sold a banana-rocket smoothie.
After another hour or so – the conversation has moved on to her other business experiences, especially in the former GDR (and has grown, slowly but surely, from interesting to a little tedious) – we take our leave, but not after buying another 5 bottles of liquorice cola and making an arrangement to buy them by the crate when she gets her next orders in.