80 : Germany – Part One – Brandenburg – Gustav & Gold

Apologies that these are embarassingly late. I have no excuses…

As part of the final Germanastravaganza I wanted to find restaurants in Berlin that represented the many regional faces of German cuisine. More than most other cultures, Germany suffers from a culinary misnomer of blandness and uniformity and I wanted to show that this was not fully the case.

My first opportunity to try some more modern and fresh German food was courtesy of Travelzoo who offered an excellent value dining voucher for a Berlin restaurant which took local, regional food from Brandenburg and gave it high end presentation. Gustav & Gold is a fairly new restaurant situated between Mitte and Kreuzberg which offers a small menu of delicious local food, cooked well and beautifully presented, which should be pleasing to vegetarians and meat eaters. The decor was quite classy but didn’t seem very modern or ‘Berlin’ and had a bit of a 90s elegance feel which I believe was unintended and would perhaps appeal more to their other customers who all seemed to be middle aged, middle class suburban Berliners on a rare special night out.

Our offer meant that we got to try a starter, main and dessert each for an incredible price of 55 euros including wine, a welcome cocktail and a soup. For starters Richard chose the young Mecklenburg bull tatare and I had the fried duck liver both were very delicious. This was followed by a tasty beetroot soup which was very rich, especially as I ate two portions because Richard was not a fan.

Afterwards we chose lamb rack with swede and herb crust and the whole sea bass. The lamb was pink and well cooked however the pepper in the swede was a bit dominating. Richard’s bass was really well cooked and tasty, but having a whole fish served up seemed a bit out of place with the more precise and elegant plating of the other dishes.

For dessert Richard chose the chocolate dirt cake and I had the lime mousse. They were good but not memorable as I cannot remember much about either, writing this three months later! The same goes for the wines which were okay but could have been more interesting.

I would recommend seeking out a voucher for Gustav and Gold as they seem to feature regularly on travelzoo and Groupon. The food was very tasty and for what we paid it was awesome. If I were paying full price I think I could find better places to spend my money. The concept of local Brandenburg food in Berlin is good however I think that perhaps we are not the demographic they are aiming to attract and it would be a great night out for someone whose food tastes were developed 20 years ago when a decent rack of lamb and a seabass would impress.

Price for two course meal with drinks for two persons: 70-100 euros

Rating: 7/10

Address: Stresemannstraße 48-52, 10963 Berlin

Website: https://www.gustavundgold.de/

80 – Germany – Part 4 – Gugelhof – Alsace

The region of Alsace (“Elsass” auf Deutsch) borders France and Germany and much of the border here between the two countries has been regularly redrawn especially over the last few centuries following the Franco-Prussian and First and Second World Wars. The majority of the area of Alsace is now on the French side of the border, however it is culturally still very strongly German whilst also being uniquely French. This all makes for an interesting and rich culture, history and cuisine.

Gugelhof in Prenzlauerberg is a perfect representation of this French-German melange offering German cuisine from the Elsass region with a French flair. We visited on a Saturday evening in May and we pleased to have reserved a table as it was almost full at 7pm. Unfortunately we soon realised that its popularity at this early hour was due to its family friendly nature. This is not a negative for all but was less than ideal for a childless couple wanting an intimate meal without shrieking toddlers in stereo. We asked to move tables and were given a slightly better spot but could still hear one particularly loud young chap from the other side of the restaurant.

The menu is heavy on flammkuchen which are an alsacienne speciality but also features other Franco/German staples such as schnitzel and coq au vin. For starters we chose a duck liver creme brulee and a bacon wrapped goats cheese parcel, and for mains (which we were supposed to fully share) we had a classic alsacienne flammkuche with creme fraiche, bacon and onions plus a pork knuckle with black beer sauce.

Everything was super tasty but there was a ridiculously long wait between the starter and the main and Richard ended up hogging the pork knuckle. We also tried some of the fresh white wines from the open list and enjoyed a Grauburgunder and a Riesling.

As the evening went on the families left and they were replaced by locals who seemed to be a but older than the average Berlin demographic and the atmosphere became more intimate with candles flickering on wooden tables. It was on the whole a nice experience and I would recommend to those living on that side of town but not to go out of your way to visit.

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

Rating: 7/10

Address: Knaackstraße 37, 10435 Berlin, Deutschland

Website: http://gugelhof.de/

 

80 : Germany – Part Two – Bayern – Gasthaus Valentin

(Again ridiculously late – we visited here in the snow, it is now nearly the end of July)

Gasthaus Valentin which is a Bayerisch (Bavarian) restaurant on Hasenheide in Kreuzberg has a special place in our hearts as it was our neighbour when we first moved to Berlin and sublet a great place at 90 Hasenheide. Valentin offers a small, changing selection of dishes from the Bayern (Bavarian) region in a small intimate candelit setting with fresh Ausgustiner Helles and a few guest beers on tap. It is a restaurant for all seaons; in winter it is warm and cosy and in summer it offers an attractive beer garden and refreshing Bavarian beers.

On a super cold and snowy February evening we headed over to Valentin for some warming food to represent Bavaria in the blog. As it was a Sunday the menu was a bit limited but we chose some Nuremberger Würste (sausages from Nuremberg) with potato salad, then roast pork and venison stew which were served with with both potato and bread knödel (dumplings). As usual the food here was hearty, tasty and filling like all good Bavarian food should be.

Berlin has lots of great options for Bavarian food from large beer halls to small neighbourhood Gasthäuser to chose from and Valentin may not be the very best of these, but it is a great option for the North Kreuzberg area and one of our favourites.