Week 42: Nepal Haus (Nepal)

Okay I admit it, we are definitely being lazy at the moment. Nepal Haus is just meters away from our last visit to Little Tibet but at the time rather than concede that we were being shortsighted in our local blog visits we decided that we would eat at two similar cuisines on the same street in order to conduct the “Battle of the Momos!”

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From the outside Nepal Haus is much shabbier than its near neigbour and there were less people sat outside here than at Little Tibet. We took a pavement table and tried to chose the most authentic Nepalese dishes. We had to start with momos, six meat and six spinach and then we chose a lamb dish with potatoes called Khasi Alu and a platter of Nepalese dishes called Dhal Bhat Tarkari Masu.

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The momos were all steamed rather than a mixture of steamed and fried which I prefer but the fillings were delicious, we decided that the overall momo dish in Little Tibet was better but the filling of the Nepalese ones was better. I really liked the sweet tangy coconut side dish that came with them but Rich found it too sweet. We had asked for the mains to be ‘richtig scharf‘ expecting a medium spicy dish like you get everywhere in Berlin but were suprised when it really was, really hot! I ashamedly had to ask for some yoghurt to cool it down. When I could taste the flavour it was really good but my tastebuds soon were numbed by the amount of heat. Richard was in his element, sweating fiercely whilst shoveling down the spicy food with a grin on his face.

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Berlin has finally delivered the spicy and I was too much of a pussy to appreciate it. Next time we are in the area we will get some momos from Tibet and some curry from Nepal and I will only ask for it to be ‘ein Bißchen scharf!’

Week 41 : Little Tibet (Tibet)

I feel sometimes as though laziness and convenience often prevail when choosing a restaurant to visit and I am getting worried that I have left all the hard to reach places to the end. This week was no exception visiting a place that is three stops away on the U7.

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Little Tibet is situated near Mehringdam on Gneisenaustrasse and serves supposedly authentic Tibetan food. When we arrived we were disappointed to see that they also offered Thai food but we decided to soldier on and use the menu as a guide to make sure we only ordered things that were authentically Tibetan, meaning that the crispy duck and seafood dishes were off the cards. We sat outside on a pavement table underneath Tibetan flags and began our battle against the ubiquitous late summer wasps.

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We chose to start with the most authentic of Tibetan foods; a mixed plate of momos (filled dumplings) alongside spinach pakora. These were followed by a rice dish Gadhen Dä-Thuk with beef and a spinach dish Langsha Tse which the menu proclaimed to be authentically Tibetan.

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The momos were delicious and came pan fried and steamed with spinach, vegetable and meat fillings with various yummy dipping sauces and the pakora were as good as any I have tried before (and I have eaten quite a few in my time). The mains were huge and we instantly regretted our choice of two dishes especially when we tried the rather bland spinach and beef dish which we had to add spicy sauce to to bring to life. The rice dish on the other hand was full of flavour and had a tangy coconut curry on the side. We would have been happy with just that, pakoras and the momos and ended up leaving most of the spinach dish and some of the rice. Considering the portions it was a great value meal and we will definitely be back for the momos some time.

Week 40b : Extra special blog news

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Since I made up the initial list of 52 countries for the blog I have found quite a few extra which started me thinking beyond when the year is finished. I quite liked the idea of doing 80 countries like a modern day gastronomic Phileas Fogg (although his was of course days not foods) and so have I decided that I will aim for 80 cuisines instead of the original 52.

I have looked for extra countries to make sure this is possible and I have managed to scrape together an extra 40 countries to add to the ones I have visited so far. The list includes some less than than exciting places such as Scotland (yes there is a Scottish pub in Berlin), England and Australia which I am not particularly looking forward to but will visit nonetheless for completeness. I will also end up visiting a lot of similar places such as Croatian and Serbian or Iraqi and Syrian. Unfortunately my strict criteria of not allowing fusion means that I won’t be visiting Senegambia the Senegalese Gambian place nor the Azerbaijani-Naples place nor sadly the Malaysian, Hong Kong, Burmese, Singaporian restaurant.

I do however now get to try Ghanian, Togolese and Uruguayan food and am looking forward very much to the next forty weeks of cuisines.I will aim to finish with a crazy German blow out week.

Here is the new list (with some names of restaurants lest I forget):

1. Israeli
2. French – Lamazere – Charlottenburg
3. Icelandic – Dottir – Mitte
4. Togo – Le Relais – Wedding
5. Bosnia – http://www.sarajevo-inn-grunewald.com/sig-speisekarte-web.pdf
6. Argentinian
7. Peruvian – Sabor Latino – Schoenberg
8. Belgian – Kreuzberg
9. Holland
10. Syria
11. Iraq
12. Armenian – http://www.dwin.de/eng_ueber-uns.html – Uhland Strasse Cberg
13. Croatian – Kreuzberg – http://www.restaurant-split-berlin.de/Startseite/Speisekarte
14. Cyprus – Charlottenburg
15. Moroccan – Mitte
16. Canada – Tim’s Canadian Deli
17. North China
18. Senegambia – Senegal/Gambia
19. Breton – Creperie Breton
20. Sicilian – http://www.gruenfisch.de/speisen.html – Kreuzberg
21. Tajik Tea house
22. Hungarian – Szimpla (friedrichshain)
23. Czech – http://www.boehmischer-garten.de/ – Lichtenberg
24. Germany
25. Chilean – La Tia Rica – Charlottenburg
26. New Zealand – The Dairy – Prenzlaueberg
27. Australian – Melbourne Canteen – Neukolln – Australia Day 25 January
28. Tibet
29. Nepal
30. Singapore – Asin
31. North-Central India – Moabit – Agni
32. Corsica – Le Midi – Prenzlauerberg
33. Cameroon – Bantou Village – Wedding http://www.yelp.com/biz/bantou-village-berlin
34. Cuba – La Buena Vista – Weisensee
35. Ghana – African Kingdom – Moabit
36. Bulgaria – Neukolln
37. Albanian – Sofra Shquiptare – Wedding
38. Scotland – Das Gift – Neukolln
39. Palestine – Azzam – Neukolln
40. Martinique – Warschauer Strasse

40 : Munch’s Hus (Norwegian)

Munch’s Hus fitted the bill in a week that I had been craving some seafood. It is a traditional Norwegian restaurant on the border of Kreuzberg and Schoenberg with a lot of fish on the menu in a bit of strange nowhere location. On a balmy Saturday the inside, which is decorated with Munch paintings, was empty but the terrace was full enough for us not to worry.

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Soused herring

We tried some overpriced Norwegian Arctic beer while we decided what to order. I chose the daily menu which for 25 euros consisted of a soused herring and cranberry starter and mixed fish skewers with a saffron sauce. Richard went for a fish platter starter and roasted Elk for a main (18 euros). The prices were quite dear for Berlin but we had been saving money this weekend as we knew it wasn’t cheap. We chose a decent bottle of spanish Ribera del Duero from the fairly reasonable wine list.

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The food was pretty good but nothing that special for me to make the journey back. The herring was strange at first but tasted better when you combined it with the sharp cranberry and soft quails egg. The fish platter starter was pretty tasty featuring salmon, mackerel, herring and prawns with various Nordic style dressings. The fish in my skewers was a mixed bag with a perfectly cooked butterfly prawn but an overcooked piece of salmon and under seasoned monkfish surrounded by a tasty sauce. Richard’s elk was deep and gamey but perhaps a little dry and the ratio of mashed potato was ridiculous for the size of the meat. I liked the freshness of flavour and lightness of touch that you find in Scandinavian food but like the countries themselves, the food was too expensive for me.

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As for authenticity I am now not so sure as when I told my Norwegian friend Ida that we were eating there she asked if they had lutefisk (a gelatinous concoction made of dried white fisk and lye) because it is apparently a Norwegian favourite. I asked the waitress about it an she didn’t have a clue what is was.