Berlin: New Food Discoveries

Having the luck of being to Berlin many a time now I have started to branch out and explore the food scene of this great city much more. As much as I love Bratwurst mit Brot as a lunch time stop there has to be more to Berlin than sausage. This trip I ended up having the least German food of any of my trips to this fabulous city but it just shows the diversity that Berlin has, that like London you can find any cuisine, fun restaurants and great people watching.

First stop on the trip The Bird. Now this restaurant come recommended by my sisters friend. I am always one to check out a new burger place especially as Berlin does them so well.  We headed out to the Kreuzberg branch ( they have two one in Kreuzberg and one in Prenzlauer Berg ). As it was a Friday night the place was packed and from recommendation we booked a table and glad we did because walking in and getting a table would have meant a long wait or no table at all. Turning up 10 minutes early we waited at the bar and all the staff here spoke English and seemed to prefer to communicate in English rather than my terrible German. So beers in and our table was ready. The list of burgers is vast, and there is really something for everyone. They also offer a range of steaks that come all the way from the US of A!

One of the longest burger lists I have ever seen

One of the longest burger lists I have ever seen

Having wandered through the restaurant to get to the table I saw the burgers and they looked good, so was excited to get one ordered. However, this is where the issues started. We ended up having one of the weirdest experiences of bad customer service I have ever had in a restaurant. We were ignored, then inundated with apologies, food didn’t turn up, and then we were asked to vacate our table before our allotted 2 hours was up ( you are told on booking you have the reservation for 2 hours!). I would like to say it was because it was busy, but this is the kind of restaurant that is always this busy so therefore should know what they are doing. Thank goodness the food was good because otherwise we maybe wouldn’t have seen the funny side of how terrible the service was.  The burger, 250g of premium German beef, was great, the meat juicy and full of flavour . Cooked to order and served in what looked like an English muffin it was piled high with toppings.This was an outrageously big meal but good as a rare occasion. The fries were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, but were huge in number. The size of the meal was like you were in the States. The second beer may have been a mistake, not enough room in the old stomach.

The monsterous burger and fries at the Bird

The monstrous burger and fries at the Bird

Cheesecake, not the best, not the worst

Cheesecake, not the best, not the worst

However, as good as food is I would be dubious to return as I cannot bear paying my hard earned money on bad service!  This was a good burger, but there are burgers just as good in Berlin, such as the one at White Trash, so with bad service marking it down I am not sure about returning any time soon. Maybe I will try the other location before closing my door to The Bird altogether, we will see.

The second discovery was a much more peaceful affair. We discovered a little bit of Californian Mexican at Delores. This burrito restaurant with its neon sign, brightly decorated inside and music beckons you in from the cold winters eve. It’s counter service and it’s small inside but do not be put off by this because it’s fairly quick turn around, so loiter for a few minutes I am sure someone will have left. So with a table secured it was time to decide, burrito, quessadila, taco or bowl! Loving the simplicity and pleasure of a burrito I had to go all carb, choosing from a selection of meat fillings you place your order ( nachos on the side with a range of dips of course obligatory) at the counter and you are given your number so when its ready you just come back. This is great as it means the staff have time to prepare the food properly rather than the conveyor belt style you get in the UK and can sip your beer at a table. The staff were all rather chirpy which was a nice change to the evening before staff.

Dolores

The bright and welcoming decore of Dolores

The bright and welcoming decore of Dolores

The burritos turned up and they were fine, mighty fine. Big and bulging with their range of fillings. The nachos fresh and crispy and the guacamole was big and chunky, none of this smooth stuff you get from supermarkets, this bad boy was made by hand. Everything in the burrito tasted fresh and had flavour and the difference between the chain burrito places that are popping up all over the place.

Nachos!

Nachos!

The monster burrito

The monster burrito

Now I know burritos are not everyone’s cup of tea and certainly not the meal you think of when you go to Berlin, but as someone who goes at least once a year it’s all about discovering these hidden gems and avoiding the tourist traps.  It’s the perfect stopping point after a busy day sightseeing and being on your feet all day. It’s also the perfect location ( just behind Alexanderplatz) for a lunch stop. This place had a constant stream of people coming and going the whole time we were there. Gosh if you lived near by it could be dangerous.

The final find, was a meat haven. I love meat, and am always on the hunt for a new spin on meat. I have now found a new favourite, a new meat paradise and it is called Chicago Williams! It’s hard not to fall in love with this place straight away, as you walk in from the street you are beckoned to the bar area and offered a small cup of soup – perfect when its freezing outside, and the spicy corn chowder hit the spot. The guys working there were so friendly and explained how it all worked, the different things on the menu, instantly feeling like you have been coming here for years. The menu is easy, its meat, it’s all on one big black board and you order up at the bar.

Nothing beats a cup of welcome soup

Nothing beats a cup of welcome soup

Nice Wall Art

Nice Wall Art

Inside my new meat haven

Inside my new meat haven

What’s also great about CW is that it pairs great American BBQ with a great array of German beers, one of which they brew themselves. These are guys passionate about meat and beer – amazing!! And whats more they are happy to talk you through the beer selection so you find the right one.

Back to the meat, this is all about the meat now, its easy, your order your BBQ meat, be it ribs, pulled pork, sausage, brisket or chicken, then you order your sides. The mash was so creamy, and the beans full of flavour, I would recommend them both. There are the options of sandwiches or full on meat platters so you get a bit of everything to try. I went crazy and ordered the lady like ribs and I am glad I did. The BBQ glaze was brilliant, sticky, sweet and full of tang. The meat was tender and just fell off the bone, this was not a meal you had to work at. With everything turning up on a big plastic tray you could have through yourself at a BBQ joint in the deep south. I couldn’t fault this meal. It was everything it said on the tin, relaxed American BBQ with great German beers. This is somewhere I will keep going back to, because it was great good, great service and so relaxed!

No mess plastic tray ribs - dig in!!

No mess plastic tray ribs – dig in!!

Cheesecake with a frozen shot!

Cheesecake with a frozen shot!

This was a trip of many new discoveries and a couple that will be regular haunts. Berlin has so many great restaurants to try so do not get bogged down thinking you have to eat sausage and schnitzel every night. Do as the Berliners do and dive on into their great restaurant scene.

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Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake

I think for most people your association with the Ferrero Rocher is christmas or your parents dinner parties. They are something we used to insist on having at Christmas at our house as they were seen as so luxurious… maybe be it was just me and my siblings (shiny things when younger are so appealing!)  Now its more associated with slighty kitche or being funny and saying ‘Ambassador you are spoiling us’.

For me I never stopped like the Ferrero Rocher, they combine hazelnut and chocolate, what is not to love. It’s like a grown up spoonsful of nutella! But for some reason they seem to have stopped coming out at Christmas, and you very rarely seem them in shops, they are usually hidden at the bottom on the sweet aisle of the supermarket. When did Ferrero Roche stop being cool?!

who doesn't love these guys?

who doesn’t love these guys?

Well I have decided to say hurrah for the Ferrero Rocher and I recently found a cheesecake recipe that brings the FR back to life. It was my birthday recently and I had a small wine and cheese soiree with friends as one of my many celebrations and I decided as hostess I was going to make this Ferrero Rocher cheesecake as it just looked simply decadent. The original recipe calls for it to be made as one large one but I decided to go crazy and make enough individual ones seen as I have an abundance of ramekins lying around the flat.

Ingredients

140g unsalted butter

300g digestive biscuits, broken up

500g cream cheese, softened ( I used low-fat cream cheese in mine and worked perfectly)

85g icing sugar

300ml double cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

15 Ferrero Rocher, 5 roughly chopped

4 tbsp hazelnut chocolate spread

25g hazelnuts, roughly chopped

1. Make the cheesecake base first by melting the butter in a small pan over a low heat. Then blitz the biscuits in a food processor until they are a fine crumb. Add the meted butter to the biscuits and pulse until well combined. Tip the biscuit mix either into a 23cm spring form cake tin or into individual ramekins( you will get 10 individual cheesecakes if using ramekins) and press the mix down firmly into the base. Chill while you make the filling.

For the base, blitz the biscuits

For the base, blitz the biscuits

and then mix with the melted butter to make your base

and then mix with the melted butter to make your base

2. Beat the cream cheese and icing sugar in a bowl until soft. In another bowl whisk the cream and vanilla into soft peaks then fold it into the cream cheese. Stir through the chopped chocolates and spoon the mix on top of the biscuit base ( either large version or individuals). Cover with cling film and put in the fridge to chill. The large version will take at least 6 hours to chill but the small ones take about 2-3 hours until they are fully set.

Mix the cream cheese with the icing sugar

Mix the cream cheese with the icing sugar

add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mix

add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mix

Get those chopped up chocolates in the mix!

Get those chopped up chocolates in the mix!

Take the bases out of the fridge and top with the cream cheese mix

Take the bases out of the fridge and top with the cream cheese mix

mmm cheesecakes... back in the fridge with you

mmm cheesecakes… back in the fridge with you

3. Once the cheesecake has set its time to top it. Place the hazelnut spread in a small saucepan and melt over a low heat for 3-4 mins until runny. Spread the chocolate over the top of each cheesecake ( or the one large one) and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and the remaining chocolates.

Melt the hazelnut chocolate spread for topping the cheesecake

Melt the hazelnut chocolate spread for topping the cheesecake

Top the cheesecakes with the melted chocolate, along with chopped hazelnuts and ferrero rocher!

Top the cheesecakes with the melted chocolate, along with chopped hazelnuts and ferrero rocher!

Chill the cheesecake until you are ready to serve.

This was a massive hit! Its rich and creamy and covered in chocolate and nuts, there is nothing not to love. Of course you can use the basic cheesecake mix as a starting point for creating any kind of cheesecake you like if Ferrero Rocher doesn’t take your fancy. You could make a cookie based one ( Oreos seem to be everywhere), or some soft fruit like blueberries.

If you are having a party or friends round for dinner this is a real winner!

Enjoy xx