It's official: new age dining trends have invaded the German capital.
Monika Mueller-Kroll/NPR Berlin
Sauvage is located on Pfluegerstrasse 25.
Sauvage is located on Pfluegerstrasse 25. Monika Mueller-Kroll/NPR Berlin
Welcome Bilder Sauvage, where you can eat like a caveman but still look like a model. At least that's what the popular Paleo diet claims, the source and inspiration behind Sauvage's approach to cooking.
Like the majority of fad diets, the Paleo diet began in health-conscious semi-neurotic America. As the name suggests, it's based on what our hunter gatherer ancestors consumed.
It is doubtful, however, that gastronomic boredom, health concerns, or even body image were the reasons behind these cavemen's appetites. Rather, survival took precedence, paving the way for a diet high in proteins, grains, legumes, fruits, and nuts.
Like the once popular Atkin's diet, carbs are the arch enemy of the Paleo diet. Its followers pride themselves on the diet's gluten-free approach, claiming that it has allowed them to simplify their diets, eliminate processed junk, and increase their energy levels.
Although Sauvage is Paleo at its core (just look at the website and you'll see an apish face glaring back at you), it's not overzealous in its approach to manging like our wooly ancestors. It takes a more laissez-faire approach to the esoteric diet, using the Paleo foundation as a platform for creativity in the kitchen.
Culinary iterations include home-made gluten-free friendly crackers composed of carrot, hemp seed, and celery, which pair nicely with Sauvage's garlicky hummus and other vegetarian inspired dips, while main dishes tend to cater to carnivores.
My companion (a passionate vegetarian) and I both curious about Sauvage's Paleo delights kicked off our meal with a Paleo-Smörgåsbord - an appetizer plate composed of vegan-friendly dips, such as hummus, smokey baba ganoush, a whole clove of roasted garlic, and their house-made crackers. We ordered individual entrees. She opted for Bilder's vegetarian main dish, which is basically any of their listed entrees without meat, while I opted for the Argentine steak. Paired with one of Bilder's biodynamic French reds and a generous helping of leafy unctuous greens, I quickly consumed my iron quotient for the week.
And although it's doubtful that cavemen were cultivating their own vineyards or even brewing beer, Sauvage does boast a decent list of international and biodynamic varietals that pair nicely with its iron-rich, dense meal.
Located in Kreuzkoelln off Pfluegerstrasse, Sauvage is a nice respite from the trendy dining hotspots often found in Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg. The restaurant's stone-walled interior and easy-to-miss exterior exudes a cave-like quality, another nod to its founding fathers.
Its charm, however, is sincere, and its wait staff, despite the Friday night hustle and bustle, all manage to remain attentive, imparting their own knowledge and love for Sauvage's inventive Paleo-inspired dishes. They recommend wine pairings and deliver you a much needed finale of espresso to help you get home after the caveman binge.
Owned and operated by Boris and Rodrigo Leite, Paleo-converts and couple, originally from Belgium and Brazil, they both decided to share their love for the diet in May 2011 and open Sauvage.
Speaking with Boris, he explained their vision behind the restaurant.
"We are not crazy or extreme about being one hundred percent Paleo. We just want to cook food that is healthy and organic. We eat this normally and feel good as a result. It's about making the customers healthy and happy and having fun. So far, we have received good feedback. Plus, it's always packed!"
One of the only restaurants of its kind in Europe (one is rumored to appear in Copenhagen soon), Savage ushers in a new style of eating - one that has transcended Berlin's proudly expanding restaurant milieu and demonstrating the capital's growing appetite for cutting-edge gastronomic trends and culinary ingenuity.
At Sauvage, health is both a main concern, as well as an ingredient to success, provoking creativity when it comes to something as simple as a cracker. Without fail, the nascent restaurant will leave you energized and possibly reeking of garlic.
As the Italians say, "It is good for the heart," and Sauvage knows it.
So if you're curious as to what all this hype is about, desire a palate cleanse or energy boost, then head to Sauvage's candlelit den.