A Review – Vietnam Restaurant, Georgen Straße 25 (across the road from the Friedrichstraße U-bahn station), 10117 Berlin

  • 12th August 2011 (part 9 of the Berlin Posts)

Vietnamese  food is my personal favourite. I came here around three years ago and was really pleased with the food, and so I felt it would be worth making a visit. I tried two dishes and found unfortunately that both were consistently bad. I was really unhappy with the food. It was my birthday and I was looking forward to a nice meal – I was very disappointed. From the photos below, the two dishes do not look in anyway particularly bad. However, I tried the fried red perch fillet with mixed vegetables with a tamarind sauce that was listed on the menu as being spicy and found that the coating to the fried red perch fillet was so brittle that I had to stab at it with my knife in a very gruesome way, the tamarind sauce was bland and the vegetables were tasteless and possibly old. The other dish I tried was the grilled chicken with lemongrass and chilli delivered at the table attractively sizzling away on a hot pan. This dish which was also listed on the menu as being spicy, I found it to be tasteless and bland. The consistency of the sauce was as though lots of monosodium glutamate had been added and reminded me of those awful bottled sauces found in supermarkets that contain no fresh ingredients. Similarly, the vegetables were tasteless. Overall, both dishes lacked flavour and freshness.

A consistently bad and disappointing meal. No website could be found for this restaurant.

Consistently bad - fried red perch fillet with mixed vegetables with a tamarind sauce

Consistently bad - grilled chicken with lemongrass and chilli

A Review – KaDeWe Berlin, Kaufhaus des Westens, Tauentzienstraße 21-24, D-10789 Berlin

  • 12th August 2011 (part 8 of the Berlin Posts)

According to their website (2011) this store was opened in March 1907. On my visit, I found it has a nice selection of chocolate, a gourmet floor on the sixth floor currently with an international delicatessen, four champagne bars as well as several gourmet bars such as the chocolate bar, Le Buffet and the Leysieffer Café.

This is really worth visiting.

www.kadewe.de

The KaDeWe store

 

Fruits at the KaDeWe

 

Selection of eggs at the KaDeWe

Reference: KaDeWe Berlin website (2011) [Online]. Available from: http://www.kadewe.de/de/das_kadewe/unser_haus_historie/[Accessed 23rd August 2011].

A Review – Dicke Wirtin (fat landlady), Carmerstraße 9, Savigny-Platz, 10623 Berlin

  • 10th August 2011 (part 7 of the Berlin Posts)

This bar is nearby one of the universities in the city and is reputed to have been a regular meeting place during the late 1960s student riots in Berlin. There are several rooms and it is a popular place with both locals and students. At the rear of the bar, a mannequin stands wearing a police/military uniform.

They do snack-type meals here. I tried the Berliner Kindl Pilsner beer which I found to be a well-rounded and a slightly tart brew – very nice indeed.

This interesting and friendly place is worth visiting.

www.dicke-wirtin.de

The Fat Landlady

 

Berliner Kindl beer

A Review – Akropolis, Wielandstraeß 38, Charlottenburg, 10629 Berlin

  • 9th August 2011 (part 6 of the Berlin Posts)

This Greek restaurant has been here for over eight years. I try and make a visit every time I come to Berlin as the food is extremely tasty, the place appears frequented by a lot of people who live locally and as the owner has a habit of giving free ouzo at the end of meals. I tried the Gyros skerdatos with garlic which was delicious – a selection of meat cooked over a grill giving it a lovely smokey taste. Also, I tried the moussaka with a garnish of feta cheese. This moussaka is outstanding – it has an airy mousse-like layer of egg/cheese to it that I have never been able to recreate. Found the beer Haake Beck Pilsner from Bremen, Germany which I had never tried before has a refreshing taste with a nice pungent aroma.

Unfortunately, no website could be found for this restaurant.

Moussaka

A Review – Brauhaus Spandau, Neuendorfer Straße 1, Spandau, 13585 Berlin

  • 10th and 13th August 2011 (part 5 of the Berlin Posts)

This is a microbrewery and a hotel that I found makes both delicious food and beer. It has two indoor levels with adjacent rooms where you can eat as well as a large beer garden. Whereas breweries tend to do seasonal beers, here they produce some additional varieties of beer for specific months. On my first visit, I tried their Havelbrau, an unfiltered and cloudy, fruity, golden beer that lacks the sharpness of a pilsner and which I found to be very smooth. I could drink a lot of this. Foodwise,I tried a Brezel which is a freshly baked knot shaped bread as a snack that has some salt to the coating. It was delicious.

At the follow-up visit I tried one of the ‘chef’s choice’ the Schweineruckensteak vom Grill mit portion Pfifferlinge und bratkottofeln which is grilled pork steak served with fried potatoes as well as chanterelle mushrooms which are in their growing season right now. This dish was delicious, although the chanterelles topped with parsley were cooked with finely chopped pork, whereas I would have preferred and cooked them without the pork to be able to enjoy their own flavour. Saying that though the stocky texture of chanterelle mushrooms make them great to serve alongside meat.

Also, I tried the Knusprige schweinshaxe mit sauerkraut und hausbrot which is a crispy knuckle of pork on-the-bone roasted served with sauerkraut and home-made bread. This was very tasty, the pork skin being so crispy and yet the inner meat was so tender and the dark bread was very malty. The sauerkraut had fennel which gave a fresh aromatic aniseed taste. Also, I tried the Weizenbier (hefetrub vom fass) a golden cloudy wheatbeer tasting yeasty with vanilla and banana notes which I liked a lot. I managed to also eat a chocolate, mango ice cream dessert made by FloridaEis.de which I was really impressed with. It tasted moorish and very gelatinous in texture which is lovely so a big thumbs up for this ice cream.

You will miss out, by not eating and drinking here.

www.brauhaus-spandau.de

Schweineruckensteak vom Grill mit portion Pfifferlinge und bratkottofeln

Knusprige schweinshaxe mit sauerkraut und hausbrot

A Review – Brauhaus Mitte, Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 13, 10178 Berlin

  • 9th and 11th August 2011 (part 4 of the Berlin Posts)

This is one of Berlin’s microbreweries and is located in what was the East before the removal of the Berlin wall. The building looks like a fast-food burger joint – it was built in the concrete period of the 1960s/70s, and although there is an outside area to sit at the front of the building, the inside of this brewery hall that has several adjoining rooms is inside a shopping centre. Do not let this appearance prevent you from visiting as you will miss a place that makes excellent food and beer. The staff here, take pride in the food and beer they produce. At my first visit, I tried the Brauhaus Saisonbier which is the beer of the season. This was a nice smooth fruity beer. Also, I tried the Brauhaus Pilsner that has a golden colour and is very hoppy to taste. With these I ate Brezel a freshly baked knot shaped snack which was still warm from the oven and very tasty.

At the follow-up visit, I tried the Bavarian speciality Brauhaus Schweinhaxe mit Stampfkertoffeln und sauerkraut which is a roasted pork joint served with mashed potato and sauerkraut (finely shredded pickled cabbage). This Schweinhaxe was the tastiest tried on this trip with such an amazing crackling to it. The sauerkraut had crushed juniper berries which added a whole new dimension, a fragrance and taste all of it’s own – a good tip, adding crushed juniper berries to cabbage. I have done this with red cabbage, shredding the cabbage, pickling it overnight with the crushed juniper berries, red wine, brown sugar, cinnamon and red wine vinegar before cooking it.

Also, I tried the Bierkutschersteak schweinenackensteak mit schinken, tomaten und mit kase uberbacken, dazu bractokartoffeln und salat which is a pork steak cooked in beer topped with melted cheese, a layer of ham and sliced tomatoes, served with fried potatoes and salad. This was very tasty, the beer adding a delicious flavour and I noted the salad was also good – it had so much to it, not just the usual salad items you would expect in Britain but also chopped green and yellow peppers with a tangy tasty dressing.

I also enjoyed the Brauhaus Hefeweizen Hell beer. ‘Hell’ meaning unfiltered, the orangish beer was cloudy and had a delicious flowery, fruity yet tangy taste.

Definitely, worth a visit.

www.brauhaus-mitte.de

A Review – Sophie’n eck, Große Hamburger Straße 37, 10115 Berlin

  • 8th August 2011 (part 3 of the Berlin Posts)

This lovely restaurant/bar is located on a quiet corner street and has an impressive outside facade and vintage-style wall hangings to the inside. It is in what was the Jewish quarter. This is a bohemian, trendy area with lots of individual one-off shops. Although it has no beer garden, it does have an outside area along the front of the building to the footpath where you can drink and watch the world go by. Had refreshing Berliner Pilsner and Berliner Weiss beer.

www.sophieneck-berlin.de

Berliner Pilsner

A Review – Gasthaus Krombach, Meinekestraße 4 (off Kurfurstendamm), 10719 Berlin

  • 7th and 10th August 2011 (part 2 of the Berlin Posts)

This place has several wooden panelled rooms where you can eat as well as a main bar. It makes delicious food with the bonus of  large portions. At my first visit, I opted for two dishes. Firstly, the hausgemachte konigsberger klopse mit kapernsauce und salzkartoffeln which is meat balls with a caper sauce served with lettuce and boiled yellow potatoes topped with chopped parsley. The potatoes tasted especially good, very flavoursome and waxy and I had not tasted anything like the caper sauce before, a very creamy sauce with a citrus-like flavour from the capers – delicious. Also, I tried the dish hausgemachte eisbeinsulze mit remouladensauce und bratkartoffeln which is a boiled knuckle of pork on-the-bone, served with lettuce, a mashed pea sauce, horseradish sauce, sauerkraut and fried potatoes. The potatoes had been fried with onions and fnely chopped pork and was perfect for eating with beer. The pork knuckle tasted wonderful as though this meat had been pickled prior to cooking giving it an incredible depth of flavour. I also tried the Berliner Pilsner which has a light yellow colour and a strong refreshing flavour.

On the second visit, I tried the grobe deftige kohlroulade mit specksoße und salzkartoffeln. This was half a cabbage (which was huge) boiled and stuffed with minced beef, served with a bacon sauce and boiled yellow potatoes. This was tasty and the cooked cabbage was impressively sweet and not sour tasting unlike what you would expect from boiled cabbage. Also, yes greedily I tried the saftiger schweinebraten mit bratensoBe, rotkohl und kartoffelkloßen which is roast pork, served with red cabbage, freshly made potato dumplings and a meat gravy which was delicious, my favourite of the tried dishes.

All of the food was extremely delicious. This place is not to be missed.

www.gasthaus-krombach.de

Berliner Pilsner

Hausgemachte konigsberger klopse mit kapernsauce und salzkartoffeln

A Review – Zillemarkt, Bleibtreustraße 48a, Charlottenburg, 10623 Berlin

  • 7th, 8th and 9th August 2011 (part 1 of the Berlin Posts)

I came here before around three years ago with some friends. It is a lovely wooden panelled restaurant that has a bar and is also a cafe during the day. It has an impressive stained glass skylight in the main indoor area and as the enclosed rear garden is next to the S-bahn station Savignyplatz,  you can watch the German ICE trains zip by. The staff here are friendly and helpful with the aim that you enjoy yourself. On my first visit on this trip, I tried the Zillebrau beer. It has a pale yellow colour and is a flowery-tasting beer. I also tried the Berliner Weiss which is brewed in Berlin and is a sour-tasting wheat beer served in round glasses. A flavoured syrup is added of either the two flavours sweet raspberry, red in colour or woodruff which is sour in taste and which is green. I particularly like the sour woodruff Berliner Weiss but unfortunately only the sweet raspberry flavoured-syrup was available at the time of my visit.

At the second visit to Zillemarkt on this trip, I tried the cocktail caipirinha made with pitu, brown sugar and lime juice. This was deliciously refreshing and made well. The appetiser of a selection of bread served with lard was given, a traditional Berlin dish. The lard did not appeal to me but the selection of bread was delicious, especially the dark types.

I tried the kasslerbratten and the Berliner eisbein. The kasslerbraten is a lightly salted and smoked pork chop served with sauerkraut, boiled potatoes topped with chopped chives, salad and a paprika sauce. This was heavenly. The Berliner eisbein is a knuckle of pork boiled on-the-bone, a traditional Berlin dish. It looks uninviting and not particularly appealing mainly I think because of its thick layer of fat on the meat joint but is very tasty, the cooking of this joint on-the-bone lending a rich flavour. It was served with peas mashed in a delicious meat-based stock with chopped carrots, as well as finely shredded sauerkraut (pickled cabbage), boiled yellow potatoes and mustard. The sauerkraut having a tangy vinegar taste cuts through the fat of the meat making a perfect combination.

I also tried the Zille brau schwarzbier one of their own-produced dark beers. A very tasty brew with a chocolately end-taste which is quite light for a dark type of beer.

This place is well worth a visit.

www.zillemarkt.de

Kasslerbraten

A selection of bread served with lard

A Review – Introduction – a snapshot of eating and drinking in Berlin

Just over a week ago, I visited Berlin. I really love this city, I think it is probably my favourite. This visit was my eighth visit, the first being back in 2002. Without meaning to sound cliched, Berlin has a buzz all of its own that I have never encountered in any other place. I remember a student friend, who had spent several months working there, looking straight at me quite seriously and saying she thought I would love berlin. At the time, I never really understood why she thought this. Now I understand.

I would have loved to have written a post every day or two during this visit but this never happened. For one thing, I was having too much fun but on a more practical note, it seems that places where you can use the internet are getting very difficult to find. By the time I did find somewhere, it was half-way through the week  – how times have changed since the last time I visited this city three years ago. Of course, writing  a blog from a mobile phone is entirely impractical.

You can only visit a few places in a week so the ‘Berlin posts’ are really a snapshot of eating and drinking in Berlin. For a sense of completeness, as well as being totally greedy, I tried to make two visits to each venue – one to try drinks and one to try drinks and  meals. I took photos of all the food dishes but unfortunately, only a few of them are worth including.

The Oberbaumbruecke across the river Spree

The Fernsehturm built in the 1960s

Change to Potsdamer Platz since the removal of the Berlin wall

A Review – Raj Mahal City, 69 Clarence Road, Redcliffe, Bristol, BS1 6RP

Two nights ago I came here for a meal with a group of friends. We all agreed that the indian food here is delicious! I had a Bahari lamb from the ‘chef’s specialities’ which had a melt in the mouth texture that suggested slow-cooking. No one in our group of ten was disappointed and the service was excellent. Several of us ordered dessert. One item in particular caught the eye  —  Kuaky, a cute plastic duck containing chocolate ice-cream. The waiter told us that their other branch on Frome Valley Road, Bristol, BS16 has another dessert, Punky penguin, much to the delight of two penguin fanatics in our group.

This place is well worth a visit.

http://rajmahalbristol.co.uk

(Please note, a more recent review of this restaurant can be found on this blogsite posted on the 21st February 2012 – it is also viewable from the following link)

https://lovefoodpinny.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/raj-mahal-city-bristol/

Baked fish with cherry/ vine tomatoes and basil – Quick & easy

Sea Bream cooked with basil & vine tomatoes

Two readers have asked me for quick, simple recipes that are ideal for when you come home tired from work. This recipe is the first of many on this topic.

  • Filleted fish or whole fish with the innards (entrails) removed
  • Cherry or vine tomatoes
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sprigs of basil
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Fresh lemon
  • A pinch of salt

Step 1 – Preheat your oven at 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Step 2 – Place the fish onto a sheet of baking foil that is large enough to be used to encase the fish.

Step 3 – Squeeze the fresh lemon onto the fish and add olive oil, salt as well as the sprigs of basil. Place the cherry/vine tomatoes with the fish. If you use vine tomatoes, it is worth including the vine with the tomatoes as this will give a wonderful aroma to the finished dish.

Step 4 – Seal the edges of the baking foil to enclose the fish with the cherry/vine tomatoes, ensuring that the foil is closed tightly to prevent any steam from escaping.

Step 5 – Place the parcel of fish onto a baking tray into the oven and cook for approximately 15 minutes, ensuring that the fish is cooked through.

Tasty served with a salad, or with boiled potatoes and other cooked vegetables.

Enjoy!

Roasted red pepper soup

A reader has contacted me asking for a red pepper recipe as his wife has just recently bought a large quantity of red peppers. I hope this recipe will be of assistance.

  • 500g red peppers
  • 1 litre chicken stock (can be substituted with a good quality vegetable stock if you prefer)
  • 200g potatoes
  • 100g onions
  • 120ml of sour (cooking) cream
  • 6 average-sized tomatoes or a teaspoon of tomato puree (if you use tomato puree, then add approximately half a teaspoon of caster sugar as the puree is relatively sour in taste)
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Sprigs of parsley

Step 1 – Cut the red peppers in half lengthways and remove the seeds.

Step 2 – Roast the red peppers in olive oil in a preheated oven at 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 10-15 minutes, or until the skin becomes darkened. Leave the cooked red peppers to cool in a clean plastic bag which will allow you to remove/peel away the skin which you discard. This will give a sweetness to the red peppers.

Step 3 – Chop the cooked red peppers.

Step 4 – Boil the potatoes until they are cooked through and chop these into approximately 3cm chunks.

Step 5 – Chop the garlic, tomatoes and onions finely. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the chopped garlic, tomatoes and onions frying them until they are cooked.

Step 6 – Put the cooked potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, onions and peppers into a large saucepan. Add the chicken/vegetable stock and cook on a medium gas/electric hob for approximately 30 minutes.

Step 7 – Using a hand blender or food processor, blend the cooked mixture until it is a smooth consistency.

Step 8 – Return the mixture to the large saucepan, adding the cooking cream and cook at a low heat for approximately 15 minutes. Taste the mixture and add salt, black pepper to taste. Top with some chopped parsley.

Makes approximately 4 servings.

Serve with crusty bread.

Enjoy!

Roasted beetroot with rosemary

This is a seasonal recipe for right now.

  • Beetroot
  • Rosemary herb
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, to taste

Step 1 – Chop the beetroot into large wedges and place these into an oven-proof dish. You can leave the skin on washed beetroot.

Step 2 – Add olive oil to the beetroot.

Step 3 – Chop the rosemary finely and add this to the beetroot.

Step 4 – Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Step 5 – Roast for approximately 30 minutes, or until the beetroot is cooked through.

Step 6 – Add salt to taste.

Enjoy!

Bramley apple crumble

Well, how does one follow bread and butter pudding ?  With great difficulty, however this recipe for Bramley apple crumble is not to be missed. I have made crumbles over the years, trying numerous varieties of apples and found that bramley apples give that divine gooey yet chunky texture when cooked that is so just right for a crumble.

  • 400g of Bramley apples
  • 300g of plain flour
  • 50g of brown sugar (for the crumble topping)
  • 10g of muscovado brown sugar (for the crumble topping – it will add a rich toffee-like taste.)
  • 100g of brown sugar (for adding to the apples)
  • 200g of unsalted butter
  • 20g of brown sugar (for sprinkling onto the top of the crumble mixture at the end prior to cooking)
  • A sprinkling of ground/grated cinnamon to taste
  • A pinch of salt
  • A small amount of unsalted butter for greasing your oven-proof dish

Step 1 – Peel and core the bramley apples and cut into chunks approximately 3/4cm in size.

Step 2 – Place the bramley apple chunks into a saucepan with brown sugar and cook on a gas/electric hob on a low heat until the apple chunks have cooked and are a gooey yet chunky texture. You may wish to add more brown sugar to taste as bramley apples are quite sharp. It is worth keeping an eye on the cooking of the apples to make sure that they do not burn. You may need to add a little water, approximately a third of a cup to help with this.

Step 3 – Cut the unsalted butter into cubes and mix this with the plain flour, using a few cubes of butter at a time. Continue doing this until the mixture has a crumb-like texture.

Step 4 – Add the salt, cinnamon, brown and muscovado sugar to the crumble mixture and mix. The muscovado sugar will add a rich toffee-like taste.

Step 5 – Grease the ovenproof dish with a small amount of unsalted butter and pour the cooked bramley apple mixture into the bottom of the dish.

Step 6 – Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly on top of the bramley apple mixture. Add a sprinkling of the extra brown sugar onto the top of the crumble mixture as this will give a nice crunchy texture to the crumble topping.

Step 7 – Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Step 8 – Place the dish into the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the crumble topping is cooked and a golden brown colour.

This recipe feeds four and is tasty served with cream, custard, or vanilla ice-cream.

Enjoy!

Bread and butter pudding

This is possibly my favourite dessert of all time.

  • butter, enough to spread liberally onto one side of each slice of bread
  • 10 slices of bread
  • 50g sultanas or currants
  • 2 eggs, preferably free-range
  • 300ml milk
  • 20g sugar
  • grated cinnamon to taste
  • grated nutmeg to taste (nutmeg works well in dishes as this one that contain milk and grating the nutmeg from fresh will add an amazing aroma to the dish)
  • three drops of vanilla extract (or add to your own taste)
  • a small amount of unsalted butter for greasing your oven-proof dish

Step 1 – Grease a large oven-proof dish with the unsalted butter.

Step 2 – Spread each slice of bread with butter on one side. Some suggest the crusts of the slices of bread are removed but I feel they add some texture so I would suggest that they are left on. The slices can be cut diagonally into half, however this depends on your own preference.

Step 3 – Arrange a layer of bread, buttered-side up, in the bottom of the dish, then add a layer of sultanas/currants. Sprinkle with a little grated cinnamon and nutmeg, then repeat the layering of bread and sultanas and sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg, until you have used up all of the bread. Using nutmeg freshly grated will add a lovely aroma to the pudding.

Step 4 – Warm the milk over a low heat so that the milk is hot, although the milk should not be boiled.

Step 5 – Crack the eggs into a bowl and add two-thirds of the sugar. Lightly whisk this mixture.

Step 6 – Add the warm milk to the egg/sugar mixture and add the drops of vanilla extract. Stir well and pour this mixture over the layers of bread. It is worth noting that the milk should not be too hot as this can cause the milk to curdle.

Step 7 – Sprinkle the top layer of bread with the remaining sugar.

Step 8 – Preheat the oven to 180C/355F/Gas 4.

Step 9 – Place the dish into the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the egg mixture is cooked and the top of the pudding is a golden colour.

This recipe will feed 4 hungry people.

Enjoy!