I once attended a wedding where I was thoughtfully placed next to another woman with whom I had a lot in common. The two of us should have had a convivial evening. Instead we were like two positively charged magnets, repelling each other no matter how hard we tried.
Equally confounding was my experience with Mogg & Melzer. A delicatessen in a former Jewish girls school, the hallway dressed in emerald-green tiles that go positively Wizard of Oz in hue when they catch the sun. A place that serves a chicken liver creme brûlée. What’s not to love?
Except I found the pastrami sandwich dry and didn’t touch the bland coleslaw. The volume of the music was better suited to “I’m home alone packing up the flat” than a public space where people were trying to socialize.
That was 3 months ago. I went back again this week. And although I was irked that the solitary waitress was asking about my drink order before I had even taken off my coat (for the rest of the meal she would be mostly MIA) the two women in the corner were sharing a shakshuka that appeared to be delicious.
The menu reads really well. I was torn between the golden beet & goats cheese salad (€6.50) and the Balsamic lentils, baked Crottin de Chavignol & wild herbs (€11). (I’ll readily admit that when I read the descriptions, I imagined La Fromagerie calibre salads.)
I went for the lentils with the crottin. I received a plate with a stingy ladleful of lentils, doused in too much balsamic vinegar served on a papadum (?) . The wild herbs turned out to be a few leaves of bagged salad so generic they hardly needed a special mention on the menu. I forgot the lentils came with a crottin until I started to prod what looked like a mummified egg yolk perched on top.
That was the crottin? This crottin? And if it was the famous Crottin de Chavignol of the Loire Valley, how had its mottled exterior turned smooth and why exactly was it orange – instead of white or even white with blue?
Can I chalk up my lukewarm experience to a dud dish?
Hmmm, see this is where I am skeptical. If they were out of the right cheese or the wild herbs were struggling with the never ending winter they should have informed the customer or taken it off for the day. Because if you are selling Barbara Streisand and she doesn’t show up, people will notice. And although the popadum looked pretty enough, what was it doing on that plate? And all this for €11? In Berlin? It’s kind of crazy.
It seems Mogg & Melzer and me is just not going to happen. Sometimes what works for a lot of people (most of the Berlin bloggers love this place) doesn’t work for you – and that’s just all there is to it.
Mogg & Melzer