Kottbusser Tor is a gritty place, especially in January, when ice cold winds and low grey skies make it look even uglier than usual. However, in between sketchy corners and broken windows lie some extraordinary delicious and friendly places like Doyum, an Anatolian restaurant with an open charcoal grill, and an especially delicious version of a classic Turkish dessert: Künefe.
The place is filled with meat eaters, since their speciality is to grill beef, chicken, and lamb over open fire and serve them with rice, grilled tomatoes, peppers, and salad. However, I came especially for the Künefe, so I went for the Patlıcan Kızartma, a warm starter of grilled aubergines and pepper smothered in tomato sauce and yoghurt, that seemed light enough to leave enough space for dessert. And still, I was lucky to have had a friend with me, because a full plate of Künefe is a lot to take.
What is it, you ask? So, Künefe, as it is called in Turkish, Kunāfah or Kanafeh in Arabic, is a dessert made of thin pastry stripes filled with white cheese and then soaked in sugar syrup and topped with nuts. There are several variations, I had my first at Kanaan last year, where they infused the Kanafeh with rose water, filled it with loads of soft cheese, and topped it with German blueberry jam. I was instantly hooked, and started to look out for other outlets in Berlin, when I found Doyum’s Künefe in a Facebook post of a trusted food source. Doyum serves the typical Turkish variation: thin pastry shreds are layered with a soft cheese in a pan, baked in butter, then doused with sugar syrup and topped with chopped walnuts and a big drop of Kaymak. The latter is a thick cream with a rich taste thanks to its milk fat content of usually over 60%. So yes, it’s an abundance of fat, sugar, and carbs, and it obviously tastes amazing! There’s no way around it: it’s super sweet, fatty, and heavy, wash it all down with a glass of black tea. This is exactly what you need on another freezing winter day. And I guess it’d also make an excellent breakfast.
I already have another Künefe spot in mind that I will try next week, but please let me know all your favorites!