Thursday, 23 December 2010

Repke Spätzlerei: Total Winter Comfort Food

One of the neighborhoods we're really excited about and love to go to for a wander is the criss cross of streets around Savignyplatz. Every time we go we are delighted by what we find, and yesterday was no exception.

Our friend Cat is visiting us this week from Italy and we decided to take her there. We had been wandering around the neighborhood and were sufficiently cold/hungry/thirsty to warrant a stop. It was already getting dark out, and the lights inside beckoned us.

The restaurant is simply decorated with spacious booths and tables at the front, and a bar at the back. Our server was very friendly and helped us decide what to order from the extensive choices.

Cat and I decided to give the spätzle a try, neither of us having tried it before. I kept it simple and ordered Käsespätzle with speck and onions. Imagine oodles of rough cut noodles boiled, finished off by sauteeing with butter, smoked bacon and onions and coated with melted cheese. mmmmm!

Cat went for a spätzle omelette. She went for the veggie version which was filled with spätzle and assorted vegetables and also served with a side salad.

Kelsie ordered Maultaschen with chilli and tomato. Maultaschen are the German equivalent of raviolis. they are triangle shaped and quite large. We weren't quite sure what the filling was but the chilli and tomato sauce was surprisingly spicy.

All of it was a carb-tastic winter comfort food extravaganza, and with the reasonable prices a place we're sure to visit again. Total bill including 2 beers and bottled water came to 27€.

Bleibtreustraße 46, 10623 Berlin

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Wo isst man Phở?: Huyen Quang (5/15)

To begin our quest we decided to keep it fairly local and try one of the places in Spandau. We visited Huyen Quang in Alt-Spandau.

On this particular night it was absolutely Baltic out. somewhere around -10 or -12. perfect conditions for Phở. The restaurant is brightly lit with plenty of room to sit. The service was friendly and efficient, but, alas the Phở fell way short of our expectations.

  • Flavour of the broth: it was insipid at best. it looked weak even before we tasted it. just dull and lacking in flavour. Score: 1/5.

  • Quantity of fresh herbs in relation to the soup: Again, lacking. There were a few chopped coriander leaves scattered on top, and not nearly enough to even make an impression. Score: 1/5.

  • Price/Quantity: There was a good ratio of meat to soup and we certainly didn't leave hungry. Just a bit dissatisfied. Cost of 1 soup: 4,90€ Score: 3/5.

Summary: A lacklustre start to our quest. The other appetisers we ordered were just as disappointing as the Phở. Total score: 5/15.

Huyen Quang
Breite Straße 20, 13597 Berlin

tel: 030 52 134 178

Monday, 13 December 2010

Wo isst man Phở?:

We are on a new quest in Berlin. We are in search of the best places to eat Phở. There are a few reasons why....

  • we had just started to find amazing places in London to eat this fine soup before we upped and moved (again). Most memorable was Pho where we had the good luck to be able to take a peek in their kitchen and see the magic happening in their stock was a heady, breathtaking smell, that stock...i am salivating just thinking about it:

    we also had great Phở at our local vietnamese Khoai in crouch end, and at a few of the places dotted along Kingsland road. So the bar has been set with those experiences and we want to try more!

  • it's dark and cold in berlin right now, and probably will be for another 2 months. nothing beckons more loudly in this kind of environment than a steaming bowl of noodle soup. perfect conditions for our voyage of discovery.

  • there is a sizeable Vietnamese community in Berlin. so surely there must some good Phở

We'll be focusing on Pho with beef brisket. We'll use a rating scale of 1-5 for the following criteria that we feel are important to a good Phở

  • Flavour of the broth. We're looking for depth of flavour here. Something that says this soup has been cooked with care and attention to the combination of herbs and spices as well as good meat.

  • Quantity of fresh herbs in relation to the rest of the soup. We like LOTS of fresh herbs that we can add to the soup as wanted. Definitely a must is fresh coriander and a plus is a squeeze of lime.

  • Price/Quantity. A big bowl of steaming soup for under 7€ will do very nicely thank you.

And to help you all follow us on our quest through Berlin we'll be adding our reviews to foodspotting and qype.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

1001 Nights

Our third TWMF Supper Club was held on 04 December. We decided to call it 1001 Nights to reflect how dark the nights here have become and to ward off the winter blues. There was something about the glow of lots of burning candles, coupled with the ruby red of pomegranates and the lively energy that our guests brought to the evening that made this evening particularly memorable.

The lesson learned from last supper club was to keep things simple and to cook from the heart and that's exactly what I did. What a difference that made! I was relaxed, in control and had time to chat with our guests and enjoy the live music we had as well (more on that later).

The food was mostly Persian and reminiscent of our first London Cooking Club which was held at The London Foodie's house around the same time last year. Kelsie made a delicious welcome cocktail of fresh pomegranate juice and seeds and cava. Starters were an assortment of mezze: homemade flatbread, beetroot with yoghurt, winter tabbouleh, harissa-spice chicken wings and an utterly awesome batch of babba ganoush. One of our guests practically demolished the whole batch of babba ganoush and we sent her home with a takeaway portion.

For mains we had spectacular jewelled rice, with roast lamb and a pomegranate molasses gravy. One of our guests opted for sea bass stuffed with fresh herbs and dried fruit.

The highlight of the evening for me was a mini concert of santur music performed by Moritz. I found him on the internet and he kindly came by to perform a 30-minute set for us. You can hear a clip of his performance here. While he was performing we served a cooling palate cleanser of pomegranate sorbet.

Dessert came next and I relied on my tried and true recipe for Persian Love Cake. Totally sweet and intensely flavoured with cardamom and nutmeg. We had to wrap up the rose syrup scented baklava because everyone was stuffed.

Wine and more wine and brandy and conversation flowed about myriad subjects such as, scrum, ostrich egg omelettes, the difference between 'dag' and 'bogen' (australian vernacular terms) to name a few.

Funnily enough, Kelsie and I started TWMF Supper Club so that we could meet more Berliners, but on this particular evening, all our guests were from out of town! We had DoktorG and his wife, MsGourmetChick and her fabulous friends, and Kaeladan who was visiting us from Glasgow for the weekend.

I'm glad we got our mojo back and are really looking forward to our next supper club in January.

As always, here's my list of lessons learned:

  1. Definitey make the sorbet the night before, i didn't this time and it was melting as soon as i served it out.

  2. If you are going to have entertainment, limit the performance time and wait to serve any courses until it's over. I got the sense that people didn't know whether it was ok to eat or not while Moritz was playing.

  3. Have a few taxi numbers on hand for guests to be able to make their way home if it's really late.


  • Thanks to Dave and Matt for letting us use some of their photos from the evening in this blog post

  • THe gorgeous legs of lamb were purchased from Wild+Geflugel at the Karl-August-Platz market in Charlottenburg

  • Beautiful sounds from Moritz on his santur

  • overall recipe inspiration from New Food of Life by Najmieh Batmanglij and My Persian Kitchen

  • Speciality Persian ingredients including advieh and dried barberries from Fruta Shiva (persian groceries in Charlottenburg)