Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Season Restaurant, Hamburg

Vegan Mofo Post - I'm going to post a review that I started weeks ago, but never finished because the blogger uploader was having serious issues. As in, more serious than normal. I wish I wasn't too lazy to change hosts... sigh. It's hard being this lazy, kids.

Season Restaurant is a vegetarian all-you-can-eat style place in the mighty fine city of Hamburg, Germany. Previously, I haven't been interested in eating at vegan places, but owing to both the language and cultural barrier, it makes for a less stressful dining experience if I eat in vegetarian restaurants here. The restaurant looks bright and fresh, it's spotlessly clean, and there's a second one that would be now open just a few streets away from the first. Customers can choose a small plate, the daily soup, a large plate, or the all-you-can-eat option. Hungry vegans who don't want to pay for dinner later on are advised to utilise the latter - it's 12 Euro.

I'm also going to put in a good word for their coffee. They've used sweetened, almost vanilla-ish soymilk in the coffee, which was admittedly delicious (even if I use unsweetened at home, and never add sugar to my coffee!)... it also came with THE best vegan chocolate; a tartufo, in fact. It was fudgey and creamy and delicious. Alternately, the chocolates are available separately at the counter. You might want to stock up, is all I'm saying, because once you've tried the complimentary one that comes with the coffee, you'll be hooked.

I was in Season twice in the space of five days. It's open for lunch, not dinner, and it's conveniently close to the Rathaus, which means it's in the middle of the public-transport routes through the city. It's bright and cheerful, with gorgeous decor: modern and sleek, without feeling cold. Each table is decorated with a small pot of herbs, which I found quite cute. Possibly also a bonus for those of us who like a little extra seasoning? ;)

So, to get to the vegan options! Most of the warm options aren't vegan, though there was one with seitan and I didn't feel as though I was starved for options. A sweet red cabbage with cashews and sultanas, gently cooked root vegetables with peas, and a mild curry with tofu were all nice, but I wouldn't bother with the pasta again. It was starved for sauce; and this is coming from someone who likes pasta dishes quite lightly sauced in the first place. The salads were good; the salad bar to assemble one's own on the other side of the serving bench is also recommended. The produce is fresh and crisp, and there's a vegan balsamic dressing for those of us who like a bit of tang.

The daily soup was also vegan, and included in the all-you-can-eat. There were tiny dinner rolls, which come with olives or capsicum in addition to the regular plain ones, and they were especially good. I love olive bread! My favourite dish of my visits, however, was the beetroot carpaccio; paper-thin rounds of red beet sprinkled with finely chopped herbs and nigella seeds. The world needs to get behind nigella seeds, really. I must say that the vegan dessert options were lacking: there was only the fruit salad, which was made of apple, orange, and pineapple. I steered clear in favour of more warm dishes, but I was sad that they'd used butter in the apple crumble. I do, however, approve of the labels for foods: they list non-vegan and possibly-allergenic ingredients. So, the verdict? The food was under-seasoned at times, but always fresh. Definitely worth my money, and if you're in Hamburg, definitely worth yours.

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