Burgermeister, Berlin 09-2019

Before going to the airport, I had time for one final meal. I had walked along the art of the Berlin Wall and it was only a short walk across the river and through a park filled with lots of young males to get there.

The burger place is known for the odd location - an old public toilet block under a road and enclosed by two others. It is known for queues also, but assumably at 7.30pm on a Tuesday, there isn't as much drunk traffic through there.

At the recommendation of Berlin Food Stories, I ordered the Meisterburger €5.3 and also my own choice of chili-cheese fries €4.1. I thought both were good, but neither was fantastic. The patty was cooked through but still soft and charred for flavour. There wasn't much seasoning. The fries in particular were on the expensive side, with no flavour on the meat, weak jalapenos and the gross American-style liquid cheese really isn't to my taste and thick and gluggy. I suppose I just like better quality ingredients overall. 

I'm glad I've tried it, but no need to go back. Not sober at least.

Zazza Kaffehaus, Berlin 09-2019

After eating at Imren, I had some time to kill before going to the airport. I took advantage of finding a cafe which had a powerpoint to recharge my phone. It has a pleasant atmosphere (other than one screaming child), a nice hot chocolate, and a famous rusty car outside. The things in Berlin that make it artistic and cool...

Marafina, Berlin 09-2019

I wanted to try something a little more inspirational in Berlin. Something new for me was finding a Sudanese restaurant. It required a little train journey out to a small place with delightfully artistic decor and delicious food for eat-in or takeaway.

- Chorba adas (red lentil soup with peanuts) €3 - excellent dhal-like soup laced with olive oil and chilli sauce;
- Marafina Spezial Teller (grilled chicken breast fillet, grilled minced beef, falafel, fried goat cheese, fried veggies, salad, eggplant sauce, mich & peanut sauce) €7 - that all-inclusive plate had so many elements and all were good. The falafels were not the best I've had, but still crisp on the outside. The chicken was tender and the salads nice too.

The food was very good all around with heavy similarity to Middle Eastern.

Would definitely return the next time I'm in Berlin.

Monsieur Vuong, Berlin 09-2019

Monsieur Vuong is no longer known to be the best pho in Berlin, that honour goes to the Dong Xuan centre in the far east. However for a convenient one in Mitte, is does alright.

Pho Bo €9.5 for a big bowl. Nice clear soup broth with good flavour. Beef was scrunched up and average. My main issue was they didn't provide any extra herbs, they said everything is in there, and no Sriracha. No Thai Basil even.

Also the cocktail I ordered really had minimal alcohol in it.

Oh well, no matter. I will probably try somewhere different next time.

Imren Grill, Berlin 07-2018

After dreaming all year about kebabs, the trip to Berlin would not be complete without trying to long reputed #1. If Berlin was where the kebab was invented, how could I exclude a visit from probably my last ever trip to Germany?

I waited until the last meal of the week before a bus to the airport.

There are several branches in town, and for convenience I went to the only one not in the east of the city - Hauptstraße 156 near U Kleistpark. There I saw the beef döner rotating with the individual layers of meat discernible, and not the uniform mass I see elsewhere.

Döner im brot €3.5 - the photo (lighting) doesn't do it justice. Eat piece of beef was soft and tender and the milk that apparently marinates it. The layer of lamb fat adds extra lusciousness and flavour. The fresh vegetables provide balance. It is truly excellent and the best cheap döner kebab I've eaten. 

The meat flavour is milder than Stalactites lamb or the potent Bairaktaris pork (http://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/bairaktaris-athens-09-2010) and less refined than Jimmy Grants (http://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/jimmy-grants-melbourne-09-2015) or Basta! (http://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/basta-street-food-bar-istanbul-10-2017). But this is elevated into that elite company - each have their own strong points.

Pilau rice with lamb was a strongly flavoured tomato rice with also tender and strongly flavoured meat. Finally the künefe with cream was sweet and cheesy.

Maybe I will go back to Berlin one day...

Cowei, Berlin 07-2018

If you look up best Vietnamese restaurants in Berlin, there's a few recurring names and Cowei is not one of them. There are located along a park next to the river Spree and so they'd probably get business regardless of the quality. To be fair they don't advertise as a Vietnamese restaurant and the menu has sushi, bits of Korean, and bits of Thai.

The inside has a picture of Ho Chi Minh. It represents the restauranteurs' heritage from Northern Vietnam.

Hanoi has arguably the better pho in Vietnam and its quality was represented well in this restaurant. A delicate and crystal clear broth with wonderful flavour balance and decent beef brisket. Interestingly they don't use raw/rare beef sirloin dropped in and I would have liked extra Thai basil, but I can hardly complain. It was excellent.

Unfortunately the other dishes didn't live it up. The crispy fried duck red curry did indeed have thin cuts of crispy fried duck, but the red curry was not red and had none of the flavour and heat that a good Thai red should (considering Viet curry is simple and not spicy at all probably influenced this...). I didn't try the chicken salad dish but the Vietnamese mother I was with strangely selected the mango sauce, which she then complained wasn't a Vietnamese thing - not sure what to make of that. The other Vietnamese salad dish (unpictured) did not have a good balance of the dressing sauce, with it being too dilute and vinegared, possibly contributed by the water from lettuce draining into it.

I'd go back for the pho but stay clear of everything else.

Süsse Sünde, Berlin 07-2018

With all these 28C days, gelato is always advised. I didn't get the chance to venture down to Jones but a more convenient option walking around Mitte was this one near the park. I couldn't read most of the flavours. In the end they didn't actually have a lot of them so there's no point preparing in advance.

The pricing is odd - €1.6 per scoop. Regardless of how many scoops or how many cones. So each person to their own single scoop cone then...

The rum & raisin was excellent with a clear rum flavour and dotted with raisins. The blueberry was also nice and somewhat sweet with no tartness. The textures were smooth and no crystals.

A solid option.

K'Ups Gemüsekebap, Berlin 07-2018

There are many a kebaberie in Berlin. Imren is reportedly the best around serving excellent layers of beef marinated in milk and cooked with lamb fat. Unfortunately it isn't the most convenient to get to and so the best chicken is supposedly at Mustafa's. However this has queues (sometimes excessive apparently) and so K'Ups is meant to be as good or perhaps better. And a more convenient location for staying in Mitte too.

They only serve a chicken kebab (for meat) or alternatively halloumi. They come interestingly with not only fresh salad and herbs, but also grilled potatoes and vegetables which have been cooked and then sat under the meat. There's a very mild chilli sauce and all is topped with fine feta. The overall result is a very flavoursome roasted chicken with both savoury cooked vegetables and fresh light salad. It's a great combination. Similarly the halloumi version was as good with fried salty cheese.

It would have to be the best chicken kebab I've had overall. I wonder how a beef one would fare...

Dada Falafel, Berlin 07-2018

There's no shortage of falafel places in Berlin representing all the great falafel countries of the world. For €4 Dada will give you their own version in bread. They use fresh raw vegetables (nothing unusual in that mix), a pretty mild chilli sauce, and a falafel that is heavily spiced on the mildly crisp (could've easily been more) crust and contains quite a lot of green herbs in the mix.

It's a good one.

Their döner also has discernible meat layers so that could be an alternative for next time.