Berlin definitely has a lot to offer the lover of Indian food. Not all the Indisches restaurants are the same though – some tweak their menus to local tastes, others try to innovate and create something new. But if it’s authentic and quintessential Indian fare you’re craving (and that means rich, flavourful, and decadent), especially the hearty dals and curries of the North, then Vedi’s Indian Restaurant should be at the top of your list.
The story behind Vedi’s is rather interesting. The proprietor, Mr. Wadhwa, is actually involved in the business of construction, and came to Germany 30 years ago. However, the property where the restaurant stands ended up in his hands when the original buyer couldn’t pay for it. In 2015, the Delhiite decided to start an Indian restaurant and it turned into a roaring success. The staff is entirely Indian, though they also speak fluent German and English (some even speak Swedish!). Mr. Wadhwa, who is himself a great cook (he enjoys cooking for 20-30 people at a time!) runs the restaurant with his son.
The ambience is decidedly psychedelic with captivating paintings and installations of Indian Gods sourced from Bali, Indonesia. A flamboyant golden bar and vivid fuchsia lighting succeed in conveying that the restaurant is also a lounge and cocktail bar. There is ample seating space for couples, families, and even business groups seeking a little privacy. But of course, the main highlight is the food, complemented by heady, generous-sized, and very competitively-priced cocktails.
Starters are often the best part of an Indian meal (which is why Gujarati thalis score with their assortment of snacks), and Mr. Wadhwa was kind enough to order a bespoke vegetarian platter for us. The samosas, cheese rolls, and aloo tikkis (potato patties) were huge, and rested on a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lime wedges. The samosa’s crust was flaky and crisp, just as we expected, while the tikkis were reminiscent of hash browns. But the luscious cheese rolls were the best of the three – soft and lightly tangy with a golden covering.
The flavours are definitely true to India but not excessively spicy. If you’d like to experience the fiery side of Indian cuisine, ask to taste a little of what the staff is going to be having for dinner. We tasted (or actually, more than tasted. Sorry lovely staff at Vedi’s!) the kadhi pakora, a dish of simmered yogurt-based gravy studded with fried onion pakoras, and it was like being back in the by-lanes of dusty Rajasthan. The sweet curries like malai kofta and shahi paneer tend to be really high on the sugar; so you could ask for a medium version if that doesn’t sound appealing.
The real star of our meal, just as Mr. Wadhwa predicted, was the humble dal makhni. Ah, the pure pleasure of piling creamy, ghee-doused dal on fragrant basmati rice and allowing the comforting richness to flood one’s mouth. It’s certainly a must-have. We had no room for dessert but if we’d ordered a spicy curry instead of two sweet ones, we’d have definitely ordered the gulab jamun. In any case, the second round of cocktails washed down our heavy meal very nicely indeed.
Cocktails at Vedi’s Indian Restaurant are jumbo-sized, and priced at just €4.90. It didn’t come as a surprise that a few guests were content to sip on drinks alone, without ever glancing at the food menu. Of course, if you didn’t, you’d be missing out on the deliciousness of Indian curries and garlic naan. We tried the strawberry-coloured Miss India (Malibu rum and fruit juices), the electric blue Love Kush (sort of like a long island iced tea with vodka, tequila, white rum, and blue curacao), candy-toned Singh is King (a surprise because the name was so masculine! – white rum, triple sec, grenadine) and Prince of Delhi (Old Monk – yay! with yogurt, coconut milk and two other kinds of rum). We could still walk straight at the end of it all, but that’s thanks to the food coma induced by all the dishes we put away!
Like many other Indian restaurants in Berlin, Vedi’s also does a business lunch starting from €5.50 on weekdays. We haven’t tried it, but apparently, it is served with the soup of the day with rice, naan (bread), and salad. The starters we had cost €4-5, while the main courses were priced at €10.90 each. There’s also a sumptuous vegetarian thali for 15.90 (palak paneer, dal makhni, mix veg, gulab jamun and all the frills like rice, roti, papad and raita). If you order a la carte, your bill will probably amount to €30-40 for two persons, which is a great price for the kind of food quality, portion sizes, service, and ambience you enjoy.
If you happen to live in India, we have some good news for you. Mr. Wadhwa plans to open another Vedi’s in Delhi soon. And if you’re an Indian living in Berlin, make sure you visit the restaurant during Ganesh Chaturthi. A beautiful and enormous Ganpati idol is enshrined in a corner, and there are ample festivities at special times, which are open to all. In general though, most of the customers at Vedi’s tend to be foreigners. Guess the Germans can’t get enough of Indian food :-).
Address: Schönhauser Allee 142, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin
Hours: Sun to Thu – 12:00 to 00:00, Fri and Sat – 12:00 to 02:00
Phone: +49 (0) 30 448 51 72
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