Friday, 22 July 2011

So Schmeckt Berlin - Part 2

On the trail of the best wurst...

A trip to Germany wouldn't be complete with out some wurst.  Currywurst is a Berlin staple, invented here in the 1940's and available at imbiss (snack stops) all over the city. A pork sausage is fried until crispy, chopped up and served with a curried ketchup and a sprinkling of curry powder.

The first ones we tried were at the famous Ku'Damm 195 Currywurst, located in the West of the city and famed for serving their sausages on plates, washed down with champagne if you want it. The Germans are not famed for the spice in their food, and the 'curry' element in this seemed very tame.  A nice enough snack, but better was the bockwurst I also tried; a juicy smoked sausage served with a roll and German mustard.

I did enjoy a final fling with a currywurst on my last night in Berlin, this time from Curry 61 onOranienburger Straße.  I don't know whether it was the sadness of going home the next day, or too much beer, but this wurst seemed much better.  A tangier sauce and good bread rolls shaped like a mini loaf.

Another Berlin invention, and street corner staple, is the doner kebab.  This much derided revolving skewer of meat, sliced and served in bread, with salad and sauce, can be a fabulous snack when executed properly.  Despite not having eaten a doner while sober for a fair few years this example - ordered from a stand in the road in Kreuzberg, the Turkish centre of the city - was glorious.  The bread was especially good, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, perfect for soaking up the 'special sauce' and meaty juices.  I still couldn't convince the Ewing of their merits though.

Also in Kreuzberg is the Turkish Market, held every Tuesday and Friday afternoon.  We chanced upon this accidentally after going down for a lovely breakfast by the canal - I'd highly recommend the
Ankerklause for french toast and fine views - The market was fabulous; buzzing with life and filled with stalls selling fruit, spices, bread, clothes and cheese, and stands selling hot börek and falafel.  Although we were still full from breakfast there is somehow always room for a honey soaked pastry and some wonderfully ripe plums.

BurgerMeister, a cult burger joint housed in an old Prussian pubic loo, on a traffic island under a railway bridge.  Thankfully the burger lived up to the great setting; My cooked to order chilli cheeseburger  featured a thin patty, charred but still pink , proper plastic burger cheese, jalapeños , chilli sauce and salad.  Wunderbar!

While walking back to Kottbusser Tor U Bahn station we stopped in at Angry Chicken, a new Korean wing joint on Skalitzer Strasse.  The only things on the menu are wings, chips, soft drinks and beer, so I had high hopes.  While the chicken was good, cooked to order and encased in a crispy, greaseless crust, the spicing level of the 'angry' chicken was very tame.  If I'm ever back again I'll be trying the 'furious',  an extra hot version.

Some proper schwein!  The top picture is the Berliner specialty Eisbein, a boiled pork knuckle served with sauerkruat, split peas and boiled potatoes.  Although not perhaps the most visually appealing dish this was a beautiful contrast of sweet, salty and sour.  Removing the protective layer of fat from the pork hock revealed succulent strands of dark pink meat that fell away from the bone.  The split peas were particularly good, studded with chunks of crispy bacon.

The bottom picture is Knusprige Grillhaxe, a crispy pork knuckle served with red cabbage and potato dumplings.  I ate this in the pretty little courtyard of  Zur Letzten Instanz, a traditional restaurant dating back to 1621.  Apparently Napolean was a fan, and after our dinner here I can understand why.

Schnitzels and noodles at the Markthalle, hard to think of this pairing without images of Julie Andrews dancing around the Alps with her guitar.  While perhaps not my quite favourite things I certainly always have time for more pork and pasta.

The Ewing ordered the schnitzel, an unusual choice for her but she wolfed down the 'kleine', although still pretty substantial, portion of crispy coated meat and tangy potato salad.  I had the spätzle, home made Swabian potato noodles, here served with speck, cheese and fried onions.  Despite the rivers of melted dairy and chunks of bacon this was surprisingly light, and very moreish.

Although we both chose the, bargain, small portions, and went easy on the dunkel bier, the apple strudel was still beyond us. Vielleicht beim nächsten Mal!

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