Years ago, I entertained myself with the idea of opening my own bistro where everything would be served in bowls. Which is what it would’ve been called, obviously. It was never serious, I just needed it during an extra-stressful time to get my mind off things. However, five years later and here we are: what is a restaurant today, if it doesn’t have a bowl on the menu? My most hilarious example of peak bowl-itis was a spätzle-bowl. What does it even mean, to make a “bowl”? To put all kinds of ingredients into a deep dish and call it a day, at its worst, and using bowl-shaped ceramics for extra saucy foods, at its best. The title here is just a joke, though. Almost none of the dishes – except the first one – in this post qualifies as a “bowl” in the late 2010s meaning of the word. However, I couldn’t help but notice the dominance of bowls, even in this none-bowl focussed post. On with it, then…
I’ve been trying this one a couple of times, and am still not convinced, unfortunately! Because their menu reads amazing, the place is cute and comfy, the owners super likeable, but the food is just a bit.. bland? I’ve never managed to have a proper spicy bowl (!) here, but this time I went for the housemade noodles in peanut sauce and really enjoyed them! The waiter told us it’s their bestseller, and I can see why, though I am still not quite on board with the toppings. The picture above are said peanut noodles, just buried under unseasoned greens, carrots and paprika.
I know, I’ve written about this Kurdish-Iraqui place about one million times and I still can’t help but put up a picture of these perfect, golden-brown falafels so you can once again admire the fried coriander pots in the crust and the big chunk of their own, spicy Lasan sauce. I’ll leave it at that, because I have said everything I can about Lasan already. One thing I have to repeat, though: their bread is divine.
Arabica is an international chain of speciality coffee shops originating in Kyoto, Japan. This Kreuzberg spot is their 37th place and their first in Europe! The interior is super chic-minimal whiteness, the menu typical third wave coffee and they have a short lunch menu. I’ve never really warmed up to the place, somehow, but I did really enjoy this cheese toast for lunch the other day. It’s a shokupan, that white, billowy Japanese bread, often made with milk, covered in Deichkäse, a soft raw milk cheese from North Frisia, and a very fashionable dotted pattern of tonkatsu sauce, which is usually used for pork. The small bowl (!!) on the side had some mild kimchi, that went very well with the cheese. (Kimchi and cheese is one of my not very well hidden guilty pleasures.)
Pauly Saal has a new head chef! The chic dining hall housed in the former Jewish girls’ school’s gym is now under the guidance of Dirk Gieselmann, who used to cook at Auberge d l’Ill, and is planning to fuse his classic French approach with the local conditions. I was lucky enough to be invited to taste his new, 5 course lunch menu (85 Euro) in their quiet backyard. We started with a tomato tartar, then had a porcini consommé, poached egg with asparagus, and an artichokes à la barigoule with einkorn risotto. Everything is perfectly prepared and uses only high quality ingredients, albeit I missed the quirkiness of their former chef a tiny bit. I might have to get used to this new turn to classic French that’s apparent in the local fine dining scene, after years of cooking Brandenburg roots in their own juices. The quality here is in the detail and in the complex preparation modes. Not to forget the dessert, rosé champagne sorbet with elderflower and an almond bavaroise (some also call it Bavarian cream) with rhubarb and marinated strawberries.
Last, but not at all least is this Syrian restaurant in Schöneberg by famous Syrian chef Malakeh Jazmati who has been cooking in and around Berlin since she arrived here three years ago. Today, she’s written and published a cookbook, has built up a renowned catering service, is doing her own cooking show and has opened a restaurant where she serves her own favourite Syrian dishes and a mix of other things like Cordon Bleu and Fahita. The Syrian food scene in Berlin is just growing and she plays an important role in expanding the menus from quick take-away food. This is one of the only places I know where Fattet Makdous, eggplant with yoghurt sauce and fried bread is served and it is divine. As are all the mezze, of which you should definitely order the mixed plate to try as many as you can. Unfortunately the dessert, halawet el jibn (one of my top 5 desserts of all time) wasn’t available the day we went so I have an excellent reason to return asap.