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/


Week 25 : Babel (Lebanon)

I an always wondering how to treat the middle east in this blog. The food of most countries in this region is very similar with falafel, tabbouleh, baba ganoush, sharwarma and köfte all featuring. Technically am I allowed to do individual countries or just chose one to avoid being boring? I have decided to just go for one in the first year of this blog and then try the rest when I’m running out of countries next year.
(Not my photo, image from yelp.com)

So…what to pick? Berlin has Syrian, Jordanian, Egyptian, Iraqi and Lebanese places that I know of. Lebanese seems to be the most popular so I went for that as part of the original 52 weeks. Babel in Prenzlauerberg came highly rated and as I was close by after a Sunday afternoon visit to mauer park I chose this one. This was to be my first solo blog visit with Richard far away guzzling seafood in Florida.

Sadly I deleted the photos as babel is really pretty inside and out. Pavement tables are accompanied by huge vases of brightly coloured roses. Inside is really kitsch with tablecloths, vintage prints with images from the middle east and deep opulent colours on the walls. It found it really aesthetically pleasing and it somehow made the food more appealing.

The menu is longer than your usual Berlin kebab imbiss with lots of varieties of meat and vegetable dishes as combinations available in brot or as a teller (sandwich or plate). I chose the falafel babaganoush teller for 8,50 as I’m in love with falafel at the moment. The plate that came was big and beautiful with a big vibrant salad jewelled by pomegranate seeds. It really was the best middle eastern food I’ve had so far in Berlin. The falafel were perfect, the babaganoush garlicky and yummy, I loved the fresh spicy green chilli salsa and the salad was fresh. A great choice and thoroughly recommended.

Date of visit 18 April.