One of the most memorable meals we ate in Berlin was in (or rather outside) a small shop and cafe called the Steel Vintage Bike Cafe. We’d had quite a big morning of sightseeing and history and were ready for a delicious lunch and a sit down. Not expecting to find anything great in the more touristy areas of the neighbourhood of Mitte (as is the case in most cities), we’d readied ourselves to eat anywhere. Then, as we turned a corner, this glorious little spot came into view.
By chance I’d heard about it online and I knew it would be the perfect place to eat – with a few gluten free options too. I had a cracking quinoa, feta and pickled cabbage salad (no gluten, onion or garlic hurrah), Rob had some amazing salmon, chive and cream cheese pancakes, Eve my sister the same pancakes but with maple, eggs and bacon and her boyfriend Ben a pulled pork open sandwich.
We were so thirsty we all ordered two drinks, one hot and one cold; chai latte for me with lactose free milk – yes I feel pretentious every time I ask for one but they’re so delicious I no longer care! However it was the fruit sodas that took us all by surprise. Served in big mason jars, they were placed in front of four parched humans and met with murmurs of delight. Raspberry and lime, blueberry and basil (and one more variety I think that I can’t remember), they were SO GOOD we drank them in seconds.
This is my homage to the drinks in that cafe; a FODMAP friendly strawberry and basil soda that can be fixed up in minutes and served to friends and family for the best summer refresher. Perfect for this time of year when strawberries are at their peak, make up the syrup and keep in the fridge over the weekend for those thirsty moments. A friend also suggested it would be delicious with gin – I’ll leave that choice up to you.
200g strawberries, hulled
Juice of half a lemon
1 small bunch of basil
In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, add the strawberries, cooking for a further 3 to 5 minutes. Stir every now and then and break up the strawberries a little bit using a heat proof spatula or wooden spoon. Remove the pan from heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.
Once cool, add the lemon juice and puree with food processor or blender until smooth. To serve mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of the strawberry syrup with about 250ml soda water. Stir gently to mix, then top up with ice and add a good few sprigs of basil.
Store the syrup in airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for a few days.