Eats in Berlin: Crispy Dumplings & Sour Soup

Helloooooo 2019! Happy new year to all of you hopefully happy eaters out there. Have you had a good break? Some scrumptious Stollen, loads of Glühwein and all the cookies? Hope you were warm and cosy, or excited and exhilarated, whatever you prefer.
I spent most of the holiday season by the sea, walking a lot of kilometers on the beach and through pine forests, I read a lot and ate a lot. So I’m well prepared for the new year, and hopefully resilient enough for the next weeks of real winter (sans holiday lights or new years cheer).
This post is a mix of last year and new year eats, but it’s just a calendar issue, so don’t care, really.

A plate with a piece of cake and ice cream sits on a wooden table at restaurant Barra

Barra

Went here for a pre-Christmas dinner and Hmmm… I’m not sure about this place, a self described “neighbourhood restaurant”. Given it only opened a couple months ago, it’d also be less than fair to have one visit decide a final judgement, and the friends I went with were definitely more excited about the food than I was. I quite liked the chestnut soup with mushrooms, and I was more than intrigued by the Cheddar buns, choux pastry filled with delicious cheese. In general, however, I was missing a certain kind of balance in the dishes, I remember one particular dish of pumpkin, cavalo nero and an egg, that combined smokiness and acidity with earthiness and while that sounds really good, the balance was just off. The smokiness was too intense, and the pungent acidity didn’t really help that, in the end, the egg got totally lost in there. All in all, I left underwhelmed especially considering the pricing. If you’ve been, please let me know what you thought.
Okerstraße 2, 12049 Berlin Neukölln

A bowl of clear soup with pieces of tofu, scallions, beans and chili is photographed from top at restaurant Thai Art in Berlin

Thai Art

Lucky me! Just days before Christmas, Dalad Kambhu from Kin Dee brought me to this tiny, women-led eatery in Wilmersdorf, and it was sooo gooooood. We had soup and curry and fried vegetables and the soup’s broth especially stayed in my mind with it’s delicious balance of sour and savoury. I’d be there every week if it wasn’t in Wilmersdorf. If you’ve been to Thai Park you might know the woman owning and cooking – she’s the famous soup lady who always has the longest lines.

Berliner Straße 42A

10713 Berlin Wilmersdorf

Mon–Sat 11:00–20:00,
Sunday 13:00–20:00

Plate with egg, toast, mushrooms and purslane from top at Isla Berlin

Isla

I’ve been back to Isla for the second time now after they changed their brunch chef. And I’m still not totally on board with that change. The bread pudding (that wasn’t pudding enough) is now called French Toast, but still too dry for me to count as either or. I got the mushrooms on brioche, and while not entirely liking the sweetness of the brioche with the shrooms is certainly a personal preference, the combo and plating once again left me wanting something else. I was hoping the mushrooms were more of a ragu, and while the seasoning with miso was a nice touch, I missed an element to tie it all together. (Once again, my friends lurved it, maybe something’s wrong with me?)

Hermannstrasse 37

12049 Berlin Neukölln

Mon–Fri 07:30 – 18:00,
Sat–Sun 09:00 – 18:00

Bowl of noodles with chili oil, crumbled tofu, leeks and scallions at Liu restaurant Berlin

Liu 成都味道

This one arrived with a bang, first one then three, then ten entries about the amazingness of these noodles on blogs, the gram and the fb. And despite my usual reluctance to hit places just weeks after they opened, I went. Because who am I to resist the allure of spicy Chinese noodles? We went for lunch (1.30 is a good time, just minutes after the crowds left with enough time before they close at 3), and I ordered the vegetarian sichuan zajiang noodles with tofu (8,90 Euro) in medium spicy. After I added some more vinegar, salt and (quite a bit) chili oil I was happy with it, although the noodles missed some bite. All in all, it didn’t sweep me off my feet as I expected after all the praise, but I’ll go back, for sure. I’m very interested in their Sauerkraut noodles as well as the tomato egg ones. However, there’s one big thing you need to consider: from all that I heard, it is an inconsistent place. This isn’t unusual in the beginning but it can be a let down. They’ll be having hot pot from February on, another reason to come back!

Kronenstraße 72

10117 Berlin Mitte

Daily 11:30 – 15:00

Table with a plate of crispy net with scallions, glassnoodles with vegetables and small bowl of soy sauce at Crazy Kims restaurant Berlin

Crazy Kims

Unfortunately, I only learned of Haejung, aka Crazy Kim, when I saw Hien Le’s newest campaign featuring iconic Kreuzbergers. Hien was raised in Kreuzberg, and still lives and works in the streets of his childhood. He has asked some of his neighbours to join a campaign for his next collection, among them also the best bike mechanic. Haejung used to manage the iconic pizza place Rocco und seine Brüder at Lausitzer Platz, which they gave up last summer. After wrapping up that place, she opened her new one called Crazy Kim, where she serves Korean food from Gimbab to Mandu and Bibimbap as well as Korean Barbecue. By the way, she also owns the vintage shop next to Rocco’s.
I went on a particularly nasty and rainy night and she served us dumplings covered with a sheet of very, very crispy potato starch net that made me wonder why not every place is serving their dumplings like that. The bibimbap came with a very generous choice of banchan, many pickled radishes, onions, kimchi and more. I liked it!

Muskauer Straße 13

10997 Berlin Kreuzberg

Tue-Sat 17:00–24:00,
Sun 16:00–23:00

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  1. Bernie on

    Reply

    „(Once again, my friends lurved it, maybe something’s wrong with me?)“
    “Please don’t worry, love! There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s your job to find the pube in the soup!”

  2. Joschi on

    Reply

    Thanks a lot for directing me to Thai Art. I’m in the lucky position that when in Berlin it normally is close to Blissestr. in good ole W-village :) indeed a rare gem among the many Thai fast eateries in Berlin since here you only got the street food stuff which is also in Thailand never served in a restaurant. It it weren’t for the weather it almost felt like holidays. Definitely not my last time there even if I’d prefer a tad less sugar in the food

    1. Mary Scherpe on

      You’re welcome. I also can’t wait to go back

  3. Christian Wurster on

    Reply

    I must say I quite liked BARRA – useful new addition to the map in my opinion. Also there are always good wines to go with the food (we were also allowed to bring our own which we shared with the very nice crew.)

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