After an incredulous work-out (navigating our way from the air-port to our hostel in a foreign land with language barriers and lugging our duffel up and down various flight of stairs) it is only natural to be rewarded with food.
Our hostel is located at Warschauer Straße and seems to be alienated from any real food places, unless you are into settling for some push-cart fare. A brief conversation with the receptionist and us looking very much like tourists, diving into maps and looking at the road signs saw us winding up in a funky looking street, reminiscent of Haji Lane with a much more natural vibe to it. The receptionist had recommended us a cafe but we gave it a miss for the entire street of Kopernikusstraße and beyond was lined up with a rich variety of cafes and shops.
Eventually we settled for Datscha (Gabriel-Max-Straße) after being drawn to the whole set up of the place and it’s popularity with the locals. and all I can say is this was one of the best brunches I’ve ever had. Best impromptu decision ever!
It was Easter then so it was supposedly chilly but we were blessed with sunshine amidst the cold on this beautiful Sunday morning. Shades on, alfresco dining, the German accent drifting around, people smoking, backs against walls… ghetto cars, a quiet but happening corner in a neighbourhood…. dining in with the locals with our tired feet and hungry tummies, Datscha puts a great start to our time in Berlin.
Even the menu itself was interesting – located near the East Side Gallery which once used to straddle the border between East Communist Berlin and West Berlin, the cafe boasted a kind of Marxist power-to-the-people kind of concept where the food items and commentary on the menu where all not-so-subtle political references to the history of the city and the country ; general what travelling around in Berlin feels like as well, feeling the pulse of history and its people underneath your feet as you encounter street art and graffiti on every corner you turn.
Black Sea – 8.00 euros
Will you just look at this glorious plate of food. Hands down this is the most worthy 8 euros i’ve spent in my entire time in Europe. When the waitress layed this in front of me I was squealing with so much excitement but obviously and thankfully I managed a poker face and smiled mildly. There is alot going on here so here is a break down on what’s on the plate (clock-wise): home-marinated salmon, fresh potato pancakes, minced herring, bruschetta with tuna, salmon caviar crepe, and organic scrambled eggs with fresh herb in the middle.
1) Home- marinated salmon and potato pancakes – The Salmon had a lovely smoked flavour to it, lace it atop your potato pancake and you get to balance out the saltiness and fishiness with a neutral and chewy potato punch – perfect
2) Minced herring – simple, fresh with a large dollop of cream and chives to go… mmm
3) Bruschetta with tuna – think slice of bread infused with olive oil, juicy cubes of tomato and chunky tuna, sounds good and taste as good
4) Salmon caviar crepe my favourite component on the plate(which also explains a close up shot) – a very generous portion of caviar oozing out of freshly made crepes filled with some form of sour cream. I am not a big fan of cream, sour cream or your typical creme fare but the whole package worked really well. A mouthful of caviar can be too much on it’s own so the sour creme evens out the taste and gives the crunchy explosive burst(intense) an additional texture together with the crepe that wraps up the entire experience. Basically, i was a very happy girl.
5) Scrambled eggs– I was a little puzzled but the appearance of the scrambled eggs because frankly speaking what is a pile of eggs doing in the middle of my black sea. Yet the scrambled eggs is beautifully cooked, you can taste the butter, and the milk and the seasoning, a little pepper.. a pinch of salt. Top some eggs on your bruschetta and ~~ viola!
With a title like Black Sea it is no surprise that the main star of the dish is seafood. If you tend to get queasy by the fishy taste of things you should definitely stay off this dish. But for all you seafood lovers out there, this is a treat.
Andrea’s- I can’t remember the name of the dish but she had salmon crepes!
Smoked salmon wrapped in crepe. You can’t really go wrong with smoked salmon, the fear is in the texture of the crepe. If it’s too dry, hard or soft it spoils the whole dish. According to our taste buds and preferences the crepe was wonderfully done and really there was no complains. What I liked about it was how the crepe was made delicately into four slender rolls instead of your typical sliced-int0-two chunky crepe on a plate.
Yuen Sin’s- The name escapes me once again and is unavailable on their online menu
Name of the dish isn’t as important because a picture speaks a thousand words and as you can see, there is a lot going on here. Parma ham, scrambled eggs, toast with melted cheese, pickles, duck, chicken with grated cheese.
Yuen: I had soft, tenderly grilled Teriyaki chicken on crispy Bruschetta toast that wasn’t too hard or too dry, and as Nat had already raved on, the pink sauce went well with a lot of the meat and fish dishes that we were served. It’s also a great idea to eat some of the perfectly scrambled eggs with the bread that we served – the eggs have got a wonderfully consistent texture, and a great herby taste that deviates from the norm!
If you notice, every dish is served with a pink sauce on the side. Its an interesting colour with a more interesting taste. It was very refreshing and we loved it, it enhanced the richness to each dish by giving it a subtle kick… we suspect some wasabi might be involved but then again it could just be our asian taste buds in action.
On our last day we revisited the place because we loved our first encounter with it too much. It was the first time a decision over food was made so quickly, everyone had the black sea and we ordered a portion of russian dumplings to share as well.
Pelmeni- Assorti “Datscha” Extra – 9.90 Euros
There are an assortment of flavours from spinach, potatoes, mushrooms and poultry there is something for everyone.
I am losing my shit, and my language blogging about this place because the food here was simply amazing. This was such a rewarding meal for all of us, and a hidden find perhaps for had we not ventured deeper we would have given this place a miss. For a cafe- bar Datscha is outstanding and had us pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food. They offer a really impressive variety food with a russian inspired themed menu. Cute huh? (:
You can find out more about them through their website or simply pop by if you are around Berlin, you lucky one.
Gabriel-Max-StraBe 1 10245 Berlin, Germany