11 : Alt Wien (Austrian)

Comfort food was much needed to combat an oncoming cold and the excesses of new year’s and we decided that Austrian food fitted the bill. Prater is the famous restaurant in Berlin serving food from Germany’s sister nation but we decided to leave it till the summer when we could enjoy the beer garden. Alt Wien in Prenzlauerberg had better reviews and seemed very authentic so we chose to go there instead.
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We reserved a table on a busy Friday night and liked the warm simple but classic interior with wooden panels and paintings of Austria. The menu seems to change weekly and I was excited to see hare available so immediately ignored all other options. I was secretly hoping that Rich would go for the schnitzel as it is reported to be massive but he chose the roast pork instead. We ordered some Austrian beer and on advice we ignored the starters as portions are reportedly large.

The portions were indeed large but not so large that we didn’t end up getting slices of pizza on the way home after a few drinks later that night. The hare came slow cooked in a red wine sauce with sliced bread dumplings and the roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut. I expected to be handed this as Rich normally doesn’t like it but this time he polished off the lot as he really liked it. My hare which just fell off the bone was very good and Richard’s pork was succulent moist and well seasoned. Everything was tasty and soon finished. We were very pleased until someone next to us got a schnitzel and food envy kicked in as it was gigantic and super tasty looking.

The food here isn’t cheap at an average 15 euros a main (haha, pre Berlin me from the past is going ‘wtf, that is cheap’). But the quality is high and the portions are good.

No photos of my own this week as I accidentally deleted them.

Update November 2016 : Glad to see this place is still open.

Week 12 : Helvetia (Swiss)

When I first passed this kreuzberg restaurant I thought it was just a hipster restaurant and misread the name as relating to the type font. It wasn’t until the need for a safe port in a storm ushered us inside that I realised it was in fact a swiss restaurant. That time I just had a beer but decided to add it to the blog list.

We returned a week later after an excessive night at Stattbad which had drained every sap of energy and left us exhausted. Helvetia was the closest place I could think of that fitted the blog bill so we dragged our tired bones out across the river to Kreuzberg.

The restaurant’s premise is quite simple; rostis and spätzle (egg noodles) with various toppings such as goulash, cheese, spinach eggs etc. We decided to go for one of each ordering spätzle with goulash and rosti with brie, bacon and cranberry washed down with a half litre of rioja.

The food was okay but nothing that special and the first plate of goulash came out cold so we had to send it back. Served on huge plates which belied the smallish portions we left hungry and had to go to Burgermeister on the way home. At 15 euros a plate it wasn’t cheap and we felt quiet disappointed. In the battle off of the central European mountainous country comfort food then Austria definitely comes out on top.

Week 13 : Nil Imbiss (Sudan)

A severe hangover and a low budget after a heavy night out led myself and my friend Maija (this week standing in for Richard away on business) to choose Nil Imbiss; a small Sudanese snack bar close to my flat.
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The menu is simple and nothing costs more than 8 euros. They do various dishes in either bread or as a teller (plate). I chose lamb in bread with peanut sauce and Maija had the sheep cheese and falafel teller which came with aswad (an aubergine sauce) and fresh salad. We also had some savoury donut type things which were kinda tasty but a bit sickly from deep frying. Everything was good and fairly tasty but there was nothing particular that would make me venture back especially in a city full of very good döner and falafel.

Week 9 : Sigiriya (Sri Lanka)

This week we had another guest diner.  Richard’s little sister Kat was visiting from Glasgow and we needed to find somewhere nice and warm and close by on a cold and rainy night. Kat’s boyfriend is from Sri Lanka so when we suggested going to Sigiriya, a Sri Lankan restaurant in Friedrichshain (we have moved flats since last post) she was excited as there are no Sri Lankan places back home. Kat has visited Sri Lanka herself and is regularly being treated to delicious home cooked Sri Lankan food by her boyfriend’s family – but she stipulated one condition : don’t tell Rob! He’d be very jealous.

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This was my second visit here this week. The first time was with a big group so I decided not to count it as my cuisine of the week as I was a bit drunk and too busy chattering away to blog. The food was so good though that we went back two days later.

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All the food was really tasty especially the hoppa which are tasty little pancakes with various fillings. The spicing was very good so Richard was happy and Kat confirmed that what we ate was indeed authentic and a good measure of this cuisine. Prices are decent at about 8-10 euros a main course which if ordered with a shared bhatura (remember them from previous blog?) you have got yourself a very filling delicious meal.

Week 10 : Tabibito (Japan)

After all the excesses of Christmas we decided to go for something a bit healthier this week and you can’t get much healthier than Japanese food. Berlin has a vast array of decent options to chose from and with no handy blog to clearly point out the best so I put my research skills to good measures use and set about finding a good place.

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Tabibito sits on Karl Marx Straße in Turkish Neukölln near the big bling shiny shopping arcade and you could easily walk straight past it. The outside looked very tired and slightly naff but inside was really cute and what I imagine a Japanese restaurant looked like in the 1980s with black varnished wood tables, bright decoration and several lucky cats watching over us. We were given a warm welcome and the choice of the two remaining free tables. It was still very busy at 9.30 on a Saturday evening with a good vibe and mix of people. The excellent reviews hopefully seemed justified.

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Our post Christmas appetite soon came back when we saw the many delicious menu options. We chose prawn and meat dumplings to start and then various sushi including crispy giant prawn maki and portions of octopus, tuna, red mullet, scallop and surf clam nigiri.

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Everything was great. Super fresh, tasty and well presented. The giant prawn maki was so good we ordered a second portion. It wasn’t a cheap place but we ate very well for 50 euros and enjoyed every mouthful.

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