78 : Venezuela (Karrecho Pop-up kitchen) 

Sometimes it takes ages to find a country’s cuisine in Berlin. Othertimes one just lands in your facebook event invite inbox. Sometimes you have to travel to the far end of the city to find a restaurant. Othertimes a new place pops up virtually on your street. The Karrecho pop-up kitchen which is run by Venezuelans on Friday evenings at Lenaustrasse 5 was a happy and easy find which my husband Rich invited me to on facebook, and so we duly set out to try their Arepas back in September accompanied by my Colombian housemate and best friend Stephanie who had recently returned to Berlin (see also week 38).

Manioc chips

The menu is small and simple featuring tasty filled arepas (flat cornbread pancakes) and traditional street food snacks such as fried plantain and manioc bites. They also have rum cocktails and non-alcoholic cane sugar and lime drinks. We all took one of the latter a ‘papelon’ and tried one each of the plantain balls with cheese, manioc bites and plantain bites plus one beef & black bean arepa, and two shredded chicken and avocado arepas.

Plantain balls with cheese

The service was quick and super friendly especially as Steph spoke Spanish with them. Very soon we were given our food and drinks which we heartily tucked into with lashings of spicy salsa. Everything tasted great and was confirmed to be authentic by Stephanie. The papelons were especially good and made me want to try this at home if I can find sugar cane.


When I last checked they were still up and running in November 2016 and we hope to swing by again to get some delicious comforting South American flavours.

73 :Kasbah – Morocco

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I have just come back from an epic 18 night holiday to Spain and Portugal in which food played a massive role in our daily routines. We ate such wonderful seafood and drank amazing wines. Now I am back in Berlin and back down to earth with a bump and have realised that my poor blog has been somewhat neglected.

The next few entries are from back in June and July and therefore some of the details are a bit sketchy so I apologise for the brevity of these posts.

Firstly, way back in June I visited one of the few Moroccan places in Berlin with some friends from university. Richard has an inate dislike of Moroccan food after spending a disappointing weekend in Marrakesh and he refused to join me this time. I was still skeptical about this cusine but was compelled by my blog to give it a try.

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Kasbah is situated in Mitte just near Rosenthaler Platz and unfortunately the prices reflected the city centre location and were a bit higher than we are used to in Berlin’s suburbs with main courses costing between 12-20 euros for a tagine or cous cous. There is a cheaper place in Friedrichshain but this has some truly terrible reviews whereas Kasbah seemed more favourable.

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The decor was very appealing with sumptuous traditonal Morrocan fabrics and lamps and the theme didn’t feel too overdone. We all ordered different tagines and I also got a starter of filled pastry parcels so as to try more things. The starter was delicious, with phillo pastry encasing fragrant shredded meat. Each of the tagines was also tasty, I had the beef which was moist and succulent and well flavoured, the others had lamb, chicken and vegetarian versions which they all really enjoyed.

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By the end of the meal we were all stuffed full and agreed that we had enjoyed a good dinner. Kasbah restored my faith in decent Moroccan food but the location and the prices mean that I am unlikely to return.

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70 : Sofra Shqiptare (Albania)

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We ended up having quite a long blog break at the end of April due to the impending deadline of my thesis and we both had seperate visits to the UK. On 14th May with a renewed sense of purpose we visited cuisine number 70: Albania. When I started researching which restaurants are here in Berlin this one was quite an obscure find and we really didn’t know what to expect as there are few reviews and hardly an information online other than a facebook page with pictures of blokes sitting round smoking and drinking coffee.

imageFrom the outside Sofra Shqiptare looks like a standard Wedding Bäckerei but there is a room through the back where you can sit and order more substantial meals. The room is decorated with Albanian folk art and is very garish but pleasant enough and reassuring for my blog that we are getting something uniquely Albanian. From a very small menu we chose to share a spinach and cheese burek, grilled cevapici beef sauages, and a bowl of goulash soup. Everyone seemed to be drinking fresh lemonade so we joined in and took a glass each of the lurid but refreshing yellow drink. 

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Soon enough the food came and we were intimidated by the eating task ahead of us. Thankfully we were fairly hungry as we had just cycled for well over an hour via Friedrichshain and Humboldthain Park where we climbed the hill. Everything was lovely, the cevapici were as good as I remembered from when we ate them before during a visit to the Turkish market in Sarajevo (they are staple food in the Muslim-Balkans), the goulash was thick and tasty with large pieces of soft meat and the burek (pastry) stuffed with cheese and spinach was filling but perhaps a little bland. We also got a basket of excellent, pillowy-soft, fresh, white bread which we couldn’t finish but very much enjoyed. This came in as one of the cheaper blog visits with everything plus a tip costing much less than 20 euros. Not sure we can revisit as it is obscurely out of the way for us, but we definitely recommend it if you are in the area.

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60 : Dwin (Armenia) – update now closed

Having checked the menu of Dwin online many times and feeling rather uninspired by it, we finally decided to visit Dwin as we were running out of other options and fancied something simple. The only Armenian place in Berlin, it is over in Charlottenburg/Wilmersdorf in an area we generally avoid and the menu seemed pretty boring so we had delayed visiting here.
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On a Monday evening half the tables were reserved and a few were occupied which gave us reason to be hopeful. We were greeted very well by a proud proprietor who insisted when we tried to order our starters that we must try the aubergine dip because “you will love it”. Not wanting to offend we went for this, and some tzaziki and a pinto bean dish as well as grilled lamb and chicken from the extremely one dimensional main course selection.

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We swiftly discovered that whilst the menu is simple, it is executed extremely well. The starters, especially the smokey aubergine, were all delicious and came served with these amazing small scone like things. The main courses were grilled to absolute perfection like the best BBQ you’ve ever been to. They were served with the distinctly un-armenian but super tasty dauphinoise potatoes and that’s it. No unnecessary garnish just simple perfection.

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My only gripe was that there were no Armenian wines or beer to try so we went with Rothaus. It wasn’t cheap at 15 Euros a main for not massive portions but I’m still salivating at how good that meat was grilled so maybe we will return.  I’m not sure how much of a taste of Armenian food we got but we certainly loved what we had.

Price for two course meal with drinks for two persons: 60-80 euros

Rating: 8/10

Address: Uhlandstraße 157, 10719 Berlin

Website: http://dwin.de/

Week 27 : Txokoa : Basque Region

When I decided to include autonomous regions in this blog, this basque tapas restaurant was the place I had in mind. We pass Txokoa many times when we go out for drinks on Weserstraße in Neukölln and I have been tempted for a while. We finally got the chance when we were looking for somewhere nice to go to with a friend and his friends from London one Wednesday back in April. We found the prices to be a little high for tapas in Berlin but decided that London folk wouldn’t bat an eyelid at 6-8 euros for high quality tapas as that wouldn’t even buy you some patatas bravas in London.

We knew we had definitely made the right choice to impress visitors from London when we saw the intricate and intriguing menu. We were also pleased to discover that they were foodies like us and were as enthused by the choices available as we were – it is hard to find many octopus lovers out there! We initially decided upon ten dishes between five of us with the option to chose more if we needed. We didn’t need more dishes after the first round but we wanted more as they had been soooo good and so we chose another selection of five of our favourites. When each dish came it was accompanied by little gasps of ‘oooh’ from everyone as they were so pretty and inviting. The highlights were the braised octopus with cinnamon potatoes, stuffed piquillo peppers with cod and seaweed, venison steak (cooked to perfection), sucking pig belly with wild mushroom and green apple, the slow cooked pork croquettes and the prawns with squid ink risotto. They were incredible, everything being so delicately and precisely flavoured and perfectly cooked.  Suddenly the price tag seemed very cheap as this is really high end cooking and the portions were decent too for tapas. We chose a very decent Garnacha which was around the 20 euro mark to accompany the food.

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prawns with risotto

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braised octopus

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white asparagus

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sweet piquillo peppers stuffed with salt cod and seaweed

pork belly

pork belly

If Txokoa represents authentic basque cooking then I cannot wait to visit – amazing! Date of visit 29 April 2015

Update 2017 – Still open. Have visited several times since this first visit and the quality remains very high but they have increased their prices so no longer such good value.

Price for two course meal with drinks for two persons: 50-80 euros depending on appetite

Rating: 9/10

Address: Weserstraße 6, 12047 Berlin

Website: http://txokoa.de/