A Berlin Lifesaver!
Posted on 03 / 06 / 2008
I came here twice on a short trip to Berlin last year.
The first time was for dinner. I sat outside. I speak almost no German but my waiter made a huge effort to communicate, even asking neighboring patrons if they knew the English word for 'Fenchel' (fennel).
I Ordered "Polenta auf Indischer CurrySauce mit gerüsteten, Mandel-Rosinen-Spinat (vegan) for 9,50 and Fenchel-Nuss-Sarlat mit Jogurt-Balsamicodressing for 4,70. The bread arrived after my salad and main, oops. It was sort of a crusty flat round sliced open with an intense tomato garlic spread inside. They have good cheap draft beer of course!
The fennel salad, with balsamic yogurt dressing and walnuts, was main course-sized and arrived at the same time as my actual main, curry polenta with spinach and sliced almonds. All the veggies tasted really fresh and flavorful. The polenta was just a little bit soft and the walnuts were not at all rancid. The polenta was more like seitan in its texture, infused with Indian spices. The spinach came in a cute mound mixed with onions and raisins; I expected to pick the raisins out but they were delicious - not at all hard or old, and had been cooked in the sauce so they were like little curry flavor bombs. All served in a nice curry sauce (3 slabs of polenta, nicely layered next to the mound of spinach, all sitting in a pool of sauce).
I went back for lunch and sat inside because there were no seats in the shade and it was hot. Inside, "Frosty the Snowman" was playing (odd choice for summer!) but it was soon replaced by generic jazz. Quite busy for a Monday afternoon. I was the only tourist and no one spoke English.
The interior decor is kind of haphazard but charming - one room has an exposed brick wall, one has deep red painted walls with a high ceiling and showy ceiling mouldings painted gold, reminiscent of an old sitting room. The back room has big old exposed beams, with a fabulous, huge old wood door leading back to the bathrooms.
I ordered practically at random the Maultaschen (Hausgemacht) - gefüllt mit Saitangemüse auf Knoblach - Jogurt und Tomaten-Kraüterragout for 9,20.
It turned out to be 4 large, beautifully presented raviolis sitting in a thin yogurt sauce, topped with a thick, chunky tomato sauce with fresh parsley. Definitely home-made which might explain why it took so long! (it took over 30mn to bring my one entree.)
I was actually sad to leave this food and go back to Paris - that's how good it was!
Fresh vibrant ingredients, Creative mix of foods
No English (menu or speakers)