Not one but two Indian friends of mine have told me about Raamson in the past few months. It's a little Tamil restaurant on Kolonnenstrasse, right before you get to Julius-Leber-Brücke. (You Kreuzbergers may already be acquainted with Raamson's grocery store on Gneisenaustrasse, which apparently now also boasts a selection of takeaway food.) Naturally, I was intrigued, as really good South Asian food continues to be maddeningly elusive in our fair city.
We stopped by there a few Saturdays ago, just when they were opening up at midday. We'd clearly caught them off guard as it took nearly an hour to be served and we were the only customers in the joint, but maybe they do more of a weekday business? It didn't really matter, though - Hugo was napping and we were content to just sit there in companiable if stupefied silence (our son's early waking hours continue to throw us for a loop) until our food came.
The reason I was game to try Raamson is because they serve specialties from southern India. I adore thin, crisp dosa rolled around savory potato fillings, fresh coconut chutney, fiery sambar, steamed iddlies. (Ohhh, Madras Mahal, I miss you!) At Raamson, I ordered the standard dosa filled with spiced potatoes, which came with fresh coconut chutney and what I assume was their version of sambar (it was much thicker and less spicy than I expected - maybe it was something else)? The chutney was really great. And the dosa crêpe was nice enough, but the filling was a little wan - dumbed-down, it seemed, for the customers in Berlin. As usual. The dosa and chutney were good enough to scratch the itch I had and I'd certainly go back again if I didn't have to wait as long next time and Max thought his dish (something with chicken, I think) was good and Hugo plowed through almost an entire serving bowl of rice, but after we left, I do admit to once again feeling the need to howl up to the heavens the following questions:
WHY IS IT SO HARD TO FIND RELIABLY GOOD INDIAN FOOD IN BERLIN? WHY IS IT NEVER EVER SPICY ENOUGH? AND WHO IS GOING TO FINALLY WAKE UP, TAP INTO THIS MARKET AND OPEN A GREAT INDIAN RESTAURANT HERE?
Until then, I'll keep cooking Indian food at home, of course. But I'm keeping the hope alive, folks. So feel free to leave me your tips below, in case you think I'm dead wrong and there's a great Indian place around the corner from you. (If, however, you have never eaten Indian food in either the UK or New York or suburban Boston, ahem, keep in mind that I may strongly disagree with you on what makes for good Indian food.)