If I want a genuine Indochinese menu, it is very easy to find a good restaurant in France, but till now never was desperate enough to have a look at the German offer. I did not see too many restaurants with such an offer either. When one week ago I finished some meetings in Friedrichshain and was left with a bit more time for myself and seen the Lemon Leef inviting menu, I decided - after another tour of the streets around and some deep thinking about what I really want to eat - to give it a try.
There are outside tables the type you will find in any beergarden, the best place to observe the coming and going in Friedrichshain, but the indoors is decorated pleasantly, with many colours and colourful umbrellas. Everything looks clean, with the toilets modestely clean. If you are on your own, you can find some newspapers and reviews to fill your time while waiting. As each of the dishes is prepared in the wok, the guests are warned to be ready to wait a bit longer.
However, take this mention as a sample of good Asian politeness, as I did not feel that I had to wait more than 15 minutes, and the drinks are usually brought within minutes. My drinking choice for a hot day was Mekong River, home made ice tea with fresh limes and brown sugar and as requested, many ice cubes: slightly aromated and refreshing enough to make me forget about my usual choice of Vietnamese coffee with sweetened condensed milk.
Not a bit soup fan, but this time, really wanted something completely different and ordered Canh Khoai Mon: taro coconut milk with chilli, celery, zucchini, leak, coriander and roasted peanuts. Served and preferably eaten hot, it is unexpectedly sweet, with some spicey balances brought by the chilli and beautified by the coriander smell and aromas. After more spoons, you will discover how spicey it can be. Indochinese cuisine summarizes the Laos and Cambodian food, which usually keeps up with the rich vegetable menu of the Vietnamese, to which many spices are added.
I got to know the real strength of spices in my next meal: Phad Indochne. A rice noodles dish, with eggs, curry, Cambodian green onions, tofu, chillies, pak choi, soy bean sprouts, paprika, carrots and cashew nuts. It loooks as an innocent combination but it hot, hot hot. That hot that you may really lose any sense of other specific taste. The solution is just give your full attention to the sprouts and eat them in bunches as a balance to the sauce and chilli.
The meals do have meat as well, but can be prepared with tofu as well. The prices are moderate and the menu rich enough to give a second try.