There is something about the combination of the gold lettering and the white pleated curtains in the window of Da Baffi that makes me think of an old-fashioned box of chocolates. The kind where once you took the carton lid off, you had to peel a sticker off the seam of the thick pearlified paper. Each chocolate would be housed in its own ruffled white paper. Picking one up would create a pleasing commotion of paper wrappers rubbing against each other.We are seated in the back room. Instead of table cloths, there are tea towels that have been sewn together to make perpendicular runners. The adornment of the room comes from the squiggly white flourescent light on one wall and the fat bodied vases on each table. The flowers, not the €1.99 bargain tulips you can get at any Lidl, but a composition of spiky leaves and small flowers you might expect to find somewhere in the mediterranean.There is something of the Lavanderia Vecchia in that back room, the colour scheme, the neon – not as extreme nor as contrived but if the two restaurants were people and I found out that Da Baffi was the son of a cousin twice removed, it wouldn’t surprise me. I don’t think there is any relation of course. In fact, Lavanderia employs a young man from Munich (?) as their chef whereas walk by the kitchen at Da Baffi and amid the clinks and the clangs you will here the long ‘a’s’ of Italian.The menu, excuse me as I make the cross (I am not religious you understand but some things just warrant excessive gratefulness), is printed on a narrow piece of paper. It lists a variety of carpaccios, a caponata, a burrata from Puglia, as starters. Followed by a choice of 3 pastas, tagliolini with truffle for example, or a risotto with gorgonzola, pear and nuts. No Bolognese although the kitchen kindly makes a small plate of farfalle with tomato sauce for Layla. We don’t bother with a pasta but decide to order the tagliata of organic beef for 2 (€21.50 pp). The friendly waiter goes to some pains to explain that the price is per person. I guess they’ve had some run ins in the past. The meat is full of flavour, the potatoes are sweet, the dish is a hit with us especially because it is delightfully unembelished. We order dessert. Because I am the Foodie in Berlin and because I have promised Layla a treat. The molten chocolate cake is for her. The panna cotta with mango for us.When we get home, our dinner hasn’t weighed us down. The way a good home cooked meal will satisfy you without bloating you. It’s a charming and surprising place (did I mention that I found out about it from Sylee. And they were featured in the Italian magazine Gambero Rosso). Although local magazines like Tip & Zitty haven’t picked up on it, it’s already doing well on Tripadvisor and Qype and I think had we not booked a table for Friday night, we wouldn’t have gotten one.
T 0175 692 65 45
Tuesday to Saturday 18:30 to 22:30