Berlin already boasts that its alternative subculture has given it Europe's largest organic supermarket. But now the German capital has followed up with what it claims is the first "Stone Age" restaurant on the Eurasian continent. Its brand of "caveman cooking" – it goes without saying – is also strictly organic.
Sauvage, which describes itself as a Bio restaurant offering "Paleolithic cuisine", recently opened it doors in a former brothel in Berlin's run down but increasingly fashionable Neukölln district, which also happens to be a Green party stronghold.
Its logo features the hairy profile of a caveman complete with jutting chin and forehead. Its customers dine on Stone Age food based on the dietary habits of man's prehistoric forebears. The menu offers unprocessed fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds. Pasta, sugar, bread, rice and dairy products are all strictly verboten.
Sauvage's owner, Boris Leite-Poco, insists that the "Paleo diet" results in greater energy levels, increased muscle mass, clearer skin and even an enhanced sex drive. "Many think the Paleolithic diet is just some hip trend, but it's a world wide phenomenon," he told Der Spiegel magazine in an interview published yesterday. "The trend is probably strongest in the United States where people who have had enough of fast food and generations of illness have taken it up," he added. Mr Leite-Poco says he has enjoyed a medication-free life since "going Paleo" two years ago.
In Britain, the most well-known convert to caveman cooking is the 71-year-old Welsh pop singer Tom Jones, who claims to have shed two stone after switching to Stone Age food. "It tells you how to get back to what we used to eat when we were hunters and gatherers – meat, fish and veg," he said.
In the United States, a New York-based group called "Evolutionary Fitness" has taken the trend a step further. Its members do a lot of climbing and running, as if they lived in fear of marauding wild animals.
However, research started in Britain last year established that Paleolithic man was no raging carnivore. His diet also included a huge variety of plants and berries which was probably supplemented by protein-rich pulses. Sauvage does not dwell on meat either. Its menu includes salads with olives, capers and pine nuts and smoked salmon with herb dressing. It chefs cook with unrefined palm oil, coconut oil and home made ghee.
"At Sauvage you know exactly what you eat whereas the majority of restaurants will serve you food which often looks healthy on the outside but can be bulging with invisible unhealthy junk," claims the restaurant's website.
But Eurasia's first Stone Age restaurant has been obliged to make the odd concession to 21st century living. "We do have a microwave in the kitchen," admits Mr Leite-Poco, "but we try to avoid using it."
The paleo formula
It's perfectly easy to follow paleo principles without sourcing fresh bison meat. Here's how:
What to eat...
Breakfast: juice of a lemon, with warm water; three eggs; water at room temperature
Lunch: beef or chicken and salad
Evening meal: fish or chicken and vegetables
Snacks: mixed nuts and citrus fruits
... and what to avoid
Processed food (including cooked or tinned meat and fish)
Added sugar (beware cordials and squashes as much as fizzy drinks)
Milk, cheese and butter
Commercial dressings (decent olive oil has flavour enough on its own)
Salted or flavoured nuts