Friday, 5 April 2013

'Sauvauge': Paleo Meets Fine Dining

On my recent trip to Berlin to visit some friends, I stopped by the 100% Paleo restaurant 'Sauvauge'. I realise that that makes it sound like I happened across it and casually wandered in on a whim to refuel. This wasn't the case. I researched, I planned, I made reservations, I decided what I wanted to eat from the online menu way in advance, I jiggled up and down on the subway ride, and I almost flat out sprinted to the restaurant. Oh, my two non-Paleo friends were dragged along behind where one even commented at the speed of my pace. I was very excited because I had never had a meal cooked for me that I knew I could be completely comfortable with! No substitutions had to be made for anything to make it clean, and I could choose WHATEVER I wanted on the menu, say whhhaaatttt? That is unheard of.
Needless to say, my expectations were probably too high. Not that they were completely shot down by the experience; I came out feeling full but clean, satisfied but not blown away, happy and relaxed but questioning. I had a contented smile on my face but also felt that anti-climatic feeling.
For a Wednesday night, the restaurant was almost full. There were people at every table and I would hazard a guess that the majority of them were regulars. Some had a slightly hippy look about them that many associate with the more orthodox principles of Paleo, while others chatted with the staff like old friends and didn't get the schpeal about what the hell Paleo is when they sat down!

The atmosphere was welcoming and intimate. A big blackboard was mounted to the wall as you walked in that listed the basic principles of a Paleo diet. The walls were clay based and the only light came from candles, creating a warm glow inside our 'cave'. I can't make up my mind whether this is too cliche or not, but I went with it and I think it added to the experience even if it was fueling a stereotype.

I was worried about what my Paleo virgin friends were going to think, and what they were going to eat, but they went in with open minds and dived in like I did! 

 Rutabaga and Ox Tail Broth
The Hunter Gatherer Plate
 Scallops with truffles

The olive tapenade was gorgeous, as was the onion and sesame spread. The orange chutney was a little overpowering after a while. Pickled vegetables and a smoked fish were also on the side. The bread was spongy and light, I have no idea how they managed to do that as whenever I have tried it has come out like a brick and crumbled to pieces. This had the texture of proper bread and was very satisfying. 


 Mutton Tajine

  Poached Halibut

The  mutton was lovely and tender, and the sauce was just the right level of ginger and cinnamon with big pieces of roasted plums swirled into it. My friend loved the halibut and the mashed root vegetables on the side. Both of these mains came with a side salad in a citrus dressing which was a fresh and crunchy accompaniment, though a little unnecessary.

No room for dessert as the portion sizes were pretty big! I couldn't even finish my tajine and felt extremely guilty as it was very expensive. That is probably my biggest complaint about Sauvauge and where the anti-climatic feeling came from as I am a broke student! My starter and main came to nearly 40 euros, so just over $50! Yes, the portions sizes were great, but there is no way I could come here more than twice a year! The food was lovely, but at the same time I felt like I could make a pretty decent tajine at home (though definitely not as good as this!) on the cheap, and while the cracker and bread combo was a great change to what I normally eat, it just made me crave 'real' bread. I have learned over time that substitutes and paleo-ized foods are a slippery slope, for me at least.

Overall, I enjoyed my visit. The staff were very helpful and obviously very passionate about the lifestyle and their business. It is amazing that the Paleo word is being spread into the culinary streets of Europe and America, and not reserved to online blogging and books. I was very excited to see that the restaurant was full for a mid-week night which gives me high hopes for the future of 100% Paleo restaurants! Sauvauge is a more upper scale restaurant and I appreciate that. However, I now want to head on over to San Diego and track down the 'Not So Fast!' primal food truck to try some Paleo street food for a fraction of the cost that I paid in Berlin!

 Sauvauge is right; the Paleo Revolution is coming! And I know I am on the right side. It's the side with the meat and the good times. 


  1. That mutton looks gorgeous! $50, yikes. So, this restaurant is in Berlin but the menu is in English?

    1. They had the German on one side and the English on the other!