Week 57 : Le Relais de Savanne (Togo)

When I found this Togolese restaurant via the magic of Google it was quite a coup for the blog as you really wouldn’t imagine that one existed in Berlin, nor in most places outside of Togo! For those not in the know, Togo is a small country in West Africa sandwiched between Benin and Ghana with a beautiful coastline and a questionable human rights record. I was interested in my brief research to find out that there is a German connection as it was their protectorate from 1884 until 1914 when it was taken over by the French until independence in 1960.

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Relais de Savanne is a restaurant in Wedding attached to the Togolese cultural center and seems to be the hub for all sorts of activities, events and meetings for Berlin’s Togolese community. We visited on an early Saturday evening and were the only ones there at first in a large pleasant restaurant that looked fresh and newly refurbished.

As we sat down the solo waitress toned down the lighting, lit our candle and turned on some pleasing afro-pop music. We immediately chose Guinness to drink – this time from Ghana, while deciding what to eat. Had we ordered in advance we could have shared a whole Guinea fowl or roasted lamb but instead we went for stick meat starters (a popular starter in West Africa according to my own blog research as we also ate it during our Nigerian and Ghanaian blog visits) and chose grilled fish, and beef in peanut sauce for the main courses.

As we waited for our food we were pleased to see the restaurant starting to fill up. A German family with two children arrived and sat next to us receiving a warm and familiar welcome from the waitress/ assumed proprietor indicating that they must dine there often. Our starter soon arrived and it was as tasty as we have become accustomed to stick meat being, served with a tangy spicy sauce on the side. All in all, I must say that Ghana wins the battle of the stick meat as theirs had a real depth, but Togo certainly produced a satisfying stick.

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The mains were also very tasty, this time Togo beat Ghana in the battle of the Fufu as it was much more flavourful and better seasoned and came with a warm, comforting peanut sauce with pieces of beef and vegetables. The fish was perfectly barbecued accompanied by a nice salad, although I scolded Richard on not choosing to have the grilled plantain to go with the fish as this would have been even better. We left the restaurant full and pleased with what we had eaten at what seemed like a reasonable price. One day we will return and pre-order the guinea fowl as this sounded delicious, although it might not be for a while as our trips to Wedding are few and far between.

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