Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Zunft[wirtschaft]

I picked this restaurant out of the Tip Berlin yearly Speisekarte (menu) issue, which has been my bible throughout this project. It contains lists of the best restaurants of the year for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a full directory of notable eateries arranged by both cuisine and neighborhood. The 2013 edition marks "haute German cuisine" as a trend for the year, and contains a huge list of German restaurants in Berlin.

This one stuck out to me because of their "märkisches" tapas plate, which consists of ingredients specific to the Brandenburg region of Germany, which Berlin is a part of. This unpretentious and welcoming tavern is the only place I've come across that seems to be trying to serve true Berlin food, using local ingredients from the immediate area. Most places seem to serve food from other regions whose food is more noteworthy, opting for some combination of Saxon, Bavarian or Swabian cuisines. 

Given the heavy and filling nature of German cuisine that I keep going on about, I usually don't want to finish my whole plate of food. The concept of German tapas seems like it might be the perfect solution to this problem.  Scaling down this intensely hearty food into a smaller size brings it into the modern world of eating. I think it's much more pleasant to eat a few bites of sausage than a heap of sausage links, or take a nibble of potato gratin as opposed to  digging into a mound of boiled potatoes. Also, because I was aiming to try as many different German specialties as possible at this point in my project, I thought this assortment would be the best choice. 

That said, the tapas plate wasn't exactly what I was picturing.  It was more of a German antipasto platter, with meats and cheeses, but nothing hot. Also, the menu didn't describe what the different things were, it just called it a tapas platter. Had I been a bit more confident with my German, I would've asked, but I'll just have to guess. There was a meatball (called a boulette), a piece of bread with some sort of tartare and onions, a piece of quiche, quark with dill, a brie-like cheese with dried cranberries, and various other cured meats, including blood sausage. I know I've talked this to death, but I had a tough time with the blood sausage. If you're wondering what it tastes like in its cured sausage form, it tastes like blood. It has that same metallic taste, and I just cannot get past it. Also, the slices of bread each had a huge chunk of butter underneath the meat, which just wasn't really working for me. Though the concept of tapas seemed current and I could tell they were trying to serve traditional food in a fresh bistro-style way, it still felt stuck in the past in a way that didn't feel quite right.
One of my friends got the Käsespätzle with onions, which I have to say was the best version I've tried yet.

My other friend got the potato and broccoli gratin, which turned out to be a serious cheese situation. I love cheese more than most things, but we all agreed that the cheese was overkill here. It wasn't a gratin, it was a fondue with broccoli and potatoes floating in it. While I'm sure the ingredients were locally sourced and native to this region, the concept of simple, clean German food with a modern spin didn't come through here.

Still, I enjoyed the theory behind the restaurant. Situated in the histories Arminiusmarkthalle (market hall), the idea is that it serves as a meeting point for the residents of the neighborhood and the customers of the market hall, acting as a shared space for communication in a social setting. It's connected to a room where various talks, lectures, and performances take place, one of which was going on when I was there. The name of the restaurant means "guild," and this is what it feels like in a way. It's an old idea brought back along with an old cuisine, and it does end up feeling fresh. 

Zunftwirtschaft
Arminiusstr. 2-4 (in Arminiusmarkthalle)
10551 Berlin
Tel:+49 1705810100
Mo-Sa 4:00 pm-12:00 am



1 comment:

  1. Please visit
    Well I don't know if I'm ever going to come to Berlin, but thank you for this guide, it's very well done!

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