My love for Indian cuisine was ignited at the same moment as my love for the films of Satyajit Ray, in New York during the ‘80s. The films were playing somewhere on Second Avenue, and the food was being served around the corner on Sixth Street, in super cheap joints, one lined up next to the other, and all BYO. Then I discovered Trishna in Bombay, which surpassed them all. After came a long drought in my Indian culinary journey — I couldn’t find anything comparable, anywhere. And then, five years ago, I came across Buddha Republic in Charlottenburg. Here it’s the classics that work the hardest — freshly cooked and free of dusty spice mixes. There’s the mixed vegetable Sabzi Korma (made with real curry leaves), divine spinach with homemade cheese (Masala Palak Paneer), lamb chops (Shahi Seekh), prawns and marinated chicken from the Tandoori grill. Lamb Biryani from Hyderabad. The Persian host, an avowed foodie who grew up in India and has traveled through each of its states, knows each dish better than his cooks do, and takes care of quality control. There are fatally sedative King Cobra beers (8%), served in giant corked bottles. Even the odd violet glow bathing the restaurant feels authentic, though less Hindu temple style, more like the lobby of a boutique hotel in Bangalore. And that’s equally India. (Text: Jan Schmidt-Garre / Photos: c/o Buddha Republic)
Director Jan Schmidt-Garre has been living in Berlin for nine years. For his film “Breath of the Gods” he traveled to India twelve times.