I've been meaning to tell you about the amazing lunch I had a few months ago at Coledampf's in the Aufbau Haus in Kreuzberg. The restaurant is just beyond a little café area at the front of the house. It's all industrial-chic and so forth, with mismatched chairs, long tables, an open kitchen and a gleaming array of pots and pans arranged for sale around the dining tables. (But I was sorry to see that the amazing selection of cookbooks that once were housed in the store have been greatly reduced to just one little corner.)
The menu is pretty short, or tightly edited as we now say. Which is just fine by me - I like having only a few things to choose from. I was there during the end weeks of our dreadful winter and it was still pretty cold out, so I ordered the springiest sounding thing on the menu: two kinds of fish with peas, radishes and a risotto made with barley instead of risotto and flavored with Bärlauch.
When the food was delivered to our table, the colors just jumped right off the plate: that gorgeous saffron-yellow broth, the verdant green of the pees and microgreens (just the right amount, too) and the dewy pinkiness of the braised radishes. It was almost too pretty to eat. And such balm for this sun-starved soul!
Luckily, the food was even better than it looked. Not only was the fish perfectly cooked (not such an easy thing to find this town!), but the barley-otto was amazing - it had a tiny bit of bite still, but was just the right amount of creamy. I am not a huge fan of the Bärlauch (or ramp) craze, but here it was delicious - giving the fine pile of creamy barley just a hint of a nice wild taste. The peas were sweet and tiny and I almost got up the nerve to ask the chef where they buy them, because I miss petite peas very much, but I was too much of a chicken.
It is a testament to the deliciousness of the meal that, when I finished, I put down my cutlery and wished the meal had been just a little bit bigger. The service was pretty good and I left feeling very happy and grateful that such places are finding their place in Berlin. And that I'm finding time now and then to discover them for myself, too.
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