Did you know that you can have a two course lunch at La Bonne Franquette for €10? And that includes a drink? Somehow I missed that when I was looking at their website. When the waiter angled the chalk menu towards my table I did one of those cartoon moves where you hear a trumpet ***HONK***, your feet come off the floor, your eyebrows lift into the aether and your eyeballs multiply away from your face getting bigger the farther away they are. (Well in my head. A lot goes on in-my-head.)
If you want the flank steak (skirt steak), and you do want the flank steak, it’s a supplementary €3. This cut has a lot of chew to it, with visible fibers, which means you order it medium rare otherwise you will be masticating for rather a long time. To compensate for the jaw work out it packs a lot of flavour. It’s hard not to eat every last one of those skin on fries (you may ask why one would even contemplate such a thing – welcome to a woman’s mind, it’s all about abstinence, too much of a good thing is very very bad).
That wasn’t my dish by the way, it was my friend’s. Mine was an aubergine cous cous dish. When I went to University in Paris, my friend Giulia and I would often lunch at a Moroccan place on Rue de Grenelle. I pictured a vegetarian tagine of chickpeas and aubergine and a steaming bowl of cous cous like I used to eat there. The nostalgic water works in my mouth abruptly dried up when I got my order. A shallow filled eggplant skin, where the flesh had gone off to, I don’t know. The cous cous filling bland and dry, the handsome broccoli florets unsalted and cold and the accompanying salad a repeat of my appetizer (beetroot and apple with balsamic mustard dressing). Hope manifested itself in a miniature bowl of sauce. Something salty perhaps? Or a tangy yogurt with a breathe of garlic to liven everything up? Alas, no it was cream (huh?) with cinnamon (whaaaaa….?) and it got left behind.
I blame myself really. (That’s another thing women readily do) It’s a brasserie and I should have stuck to what brasseries do best instead of going off on some Don Quixoten/esque (?) quest to find a tagine as good as the one I used to eat on Rue de Grenelle when I was 18 and you could have gathered up all my culinary expertise, dumped it into a chickpea skin and still had space to spare. The brasserie in the title is not decorative. It’s got the bustling and clinking of a Paris brasserie as well as the small footprint and tables that are very close together – too often in Berlin, you get cavernous quiet spaces, with not enough furniture and the balance doesn’t seem right. Unlike Paris, the staff is young and friendly. They speak French, German and English all at once. It is a pleasure to have lunch there. But I advise you to stick to the classics.
*Dinner is an entirely different menu with different prices and I haven’t tried that yet.
La Bonne Franquette
T. 030 9440 5363
Lunch from 11:30 to 15:00
1 course = €7 / 2 courses = €10 / 3 courses = 1€3.50 menus include one drink