Happy Belated Australia day! Or is it Happy belated ‘Commemorating the Commencement of over two Centuries Worth of Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing’ day? We decided to visit one of Berlin’s few Aussie restaurants on the 26th January which also happened to be Australia day. A national day which courts controversy from those who feel as though Australia should change the date from the 26th January because this is the exact day upon which the British arrived and began to dispossess, enslave and slaughter the indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Peoples whilst wearing top hats and cravattes. This year even Google weighed in on the debate featuring a commemorative Google Doodle featuring three aboriginal women with tears in their eyes. For others Australia Day is known as the ‘non-stop drunkenness resulting in many unfortunate intoxicated casualties and a Rugby star ruining his career by commiting a lewd sex act with a dog’ day.
Anyway less of the politics as this is a food blog. The main tragedy on our minds on 26th January was how awful the food was that we were served at Melbourne Canteen on a day in which the menu which was supposed to exemplify Australian culture and offer Berlin’s Aussie ex-pats a comforting taste of home. On the special menu were Fish & Chips, Beef or Veggie Pies and Melbourne Chicken Parmagiana. So far, so uninspiring. We went for a beef pie, chips with ‘chicken salt’ and the chicken parmagiana which we were intrigued by the origin of. Had it developed independently within Melbournes large Italian population or was it a Teeside import from Middlesborough ex-pats bringing a taste of home to the outback in the shape of the famous Parmo? I like to think the latter is true.
Firstly the highlights…. ummm….the chicken wasn’t entirely dry, the rocket was fresh and the pastry was cooked. I cannot really say much else about the food. The chips were the worst kind of cheap, pallid, french-fries, the breaded chicken was covered in a sickly red sauce which might have seen a tomato once in its sad life, the cheese on top was not even close to being parmesan as it tasted like bland rubber, the chicken salt was no more than an oxo cube added to some salt, and the pie filling was grey and bland. To make matters worse they didn’t even have any mayonaise on offer to accompany the bland, dry chips. Instead we got three small bowls of rank ketchup. We did enjoy some nice imported Aussie craft beers but at 5 euros a bottle they were a bit pricy for Berlin and you can get some much better German rivals at bars close by for less. I must admit that the photos make things look pretty bad as they are a bit shit and blurry but tbh we wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible as the whole place smelled like fried vinegar and I didn’t want anyone to catch me taking photos of this food.
I’m not blaming Australia per se for the bad food as I have not heard many good things about the normal menu at Melbourne Canteen which is a favourite brunch destination of the expat that doesn’t know any better. I’m sure if we were really in Melbourne by the sea we would have access to a whole array of delicious seafood and tasty bbq’d meat. But we are in Berlin, in winter, and I’m sorry that this mess of a cuisine found itself on the list of places to visit. If only the Berlin Malay restaurant Amy had not closed down two years ago this place would have been bumped off the list and we would not have wasted a Tuesday evening. Also potentially coming up are Berlin’s versions of English and Irish cuisines which fills me with a deep sense of unease and stomach ache.
Price for two course meal with drinks for two persons: 30-50 euros
*Update* As of Summer 2016 the Melbourne Kitchen is closed. Not sure whether my vitriolic blog was a contributing factor but am not really sorry as we had a pretty poor meal there and most people I know didn’t enjoy the food. G’day and g’bye!