Mogg & Melzer is a small Jewish restaurant located next to Pauly Saal at former Jewish girls’ school on Auguststraße with a beautifully balanced interior design and very nice artworks lining the walls. Having visited it before, I hesitated writing about them since their vegetarian options are fine, yet not as noteworthy as is their pastrami. Which is why I took my friend Florian Duijsens for a lunch, when they invited me to check out their kitchen, to guarantee a fair review. So while I’ve had the shakshouka (a new favorite of mine), and a lentil chipotle sandwich, he chose the Reuben sandwich, pictured above, with pastrami and a chicken liver brûlée and here’s what he thought.
The Reuben is a sandwich made for meat lovers. Its combination of crunchy roasted bread, succulent sauerkraut, a slightly spicy dressing, and tender piles and piles of pastrami are pretty much the definition of hangover food. The way they serve it at Mogg & Melzer, sided with sweet and springy coleslaw and a rather tame pickle is entirely traditional, even if the setting and clientele is not; instead of a noisy, busy corner deli, this sedate joint is secluded behind a not very clearly marked door inside an old girls school.
Still, this doesn’t mean that the place is not jumping, just that it’s filled with a mostly homogenous crowd of PR and design folk, topped with baseball caps and shrouded in a cloud of self-importance. The Reuben then, to get back to the meat at hand, feels a little out of place, as it would be more at home near a busier, more egalitarian part of town, Potsdamer Platz or Strasse, say, or even, though you might shudder, out West.
The service is sweet, though, as was the delicious if enormous chicken liver creme brûlée that came topped with crispy caramellized sugar; another recommendation for when your morning after feels more like a morning under.
Chicken liver brûlée
My Shakshouka experience is rather limited, but I liked it a lot more when it’s reduced to a thick sauce.
The vegetarian sandwich, sadly not toasted, but with a nice spice thanks to the chipotle.