Snow had fallen on Berlin with the temperature well below zero and the pavements a slippery death-trap. Where better to visit this week than a brightly lit temple to hummus and the flavours of the Mediterranean, situated between Mitte and Prenzlauerberg, owned by Israelis. I read about this place in the same blog that had recommended Azzam the Palestinian place that we visited. Whereas Azzam was cheap, happy and hectic, Sababa was a bit calmer and trendier with a sleek, pastel interior and a slightly more varied menu which featured many different incarnations of hummus.
Maija came with us on the visit which allowed us to try more things. For starters we all shared Masabacha (hummus with warm chickpeas), grilled aubergine and Labane (a yoghurt dip with mint and zatar). For mains Richard chose the marinated chicken with hummus, I chose Tel Aviv Kebab with hummus and Maija went for a sort of tomato stew called Shakshuka with feta also served with hummus.
The starters came one by one and we were delighted by each, especially the smokey aubergine and the thick, comforting, creamy hummus with chick peas. We were also given a lemon dip on the side which was tangy and spicy and complimented the creamy hummus perfectly. Richard’s and my main courses were a bit disappointing unfortunately, not because there was anything wrong with them but because they didn’t really provide anything more than the starters had done except some adequately cooked meat sitting on some more hummus costing double the price. A salad or something to elevate the dish would have been welcome. Maija’s dish was a bit more interesting but they forgot to serve it on the hummus and so we had to ask for it and were given a bowlful as a bit of an afterthought. Halfway through the main courses Maija and me were thoroughly beaten by the hummus and had to ask for doggy bags to take home. Richard bravely soldiered on and finished his. We ordered a half litre of Israeli Syrah red wine as an accompaniment which was drinkable but nothing more. They had a nice selection of soft drinks and the homemade lemonade sounded good although a bit pricey. I couldn’t help but think about the free sweet tea and 80 cent Sprite that you got at Azzam.
I would definitely recommend Sababa on the strength of the starters alone and will be heading back one day if I am in the area. Athough sadly for Sababa, it does compete directly with the delicious and better value Lebanese restaurant Babel further along the same road towards Prenzlauerberg. For me, in the age old hummus war between Israel and Palestine, I must admit that I preferred the Israeli hummus at Sababa than that served at the chaotic but cheap and cheerful Azzam. But there really isn’t much in it and Azzam is ten minutes from my house and is cheaper so this is where I will continue to get my humus fix. I guess I’ll call it a draw!