Sauvage restaurant in Berlin’s trendy Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood lets diners eat like a caveman. No, that doesn’t mean dining without forks or while wearing a loincloth. The restaurant serves meals based on the Paleo diet – a food trend focused on ingredients supposedly available in the Stone Age.
The Paleo diet food trend started in the 1970s with the publication of gastroenterologist Walter Voegtlin’s book The Stone Age Diet: Based on In-Depth Studies of Human Ecology and the Diet of Man. Voegtlin believed that by eating foods in the style of our forebears, we could improve our digestion and treat chronic gastric diseases like colitis. Since then, other researchers have published findings on the prehistoric food approach. Within the last decade, the diet’s continued to gain followers from the United States to Europe.
A variety of studies have turned out mixed results on the effectiveness of this diet and researchers question the premise that prehistoric peoples ate the foods identified by Paleo diet specialists.
Despite these doubts, many health-conscious foodies still maintain interest in the wholesome nature of the cuisine. Modern Paleo diets rely on lean meats from grass-fed animals, locally harvested vegetables, and wild caught fish. The ingredients do not generally include legumes, like beans and nuts, starches, simple sugars and fats. This approach conforms to a broader food trend of people trying to eat more local foods and less sugar.
The owners of Sauvage, Boris and Rodrigo Leite-Poco, say their restaurant is the first of its kind in Europe. Since opening, they have generated a lot of interest from diners and food critics curious about the Paleo approach. Many enjoy the fresh dishes and the unusual setting – the restaurant’s housed in a former brothel.
The owners serve a varied menu which includes roasted pheasant breast and duet of lamb liver and brain. Vegetarians can try lacto-fermented daikon rolls or cauliflower risotto. And eating like a caveman does not rule out desserts. Sauvage has a pumpkin poached in honey and the intriguingly named “Hunter Gatherer” dessert plate.
Eating like a caveman is less difficult than it sounds. Stone Age recipes are actually quite succulent.