After having lunch with my friend Katie at Muret la Barba the other day, I’ve decided she should definitely have a Berlin restaurant blog. She eats out about 3 times as much as I do and is always trying new places. She’s already been to Hartweizen on Torstrasse (her verdict, good, a lot of game dishes). Restaurant 3 (which I had never even heard of but of course the New York Times had already written about in 2009 for chrissakes!). And she’s been to Das Lokal or Kantine which was featured in Cee Cee‘s 24th newsletter.
When she suggested a long over due lunch, I said “Let’s go to Muret la Barba.”
“Don’t tell me you still haven’t eaten there!” she teased.
As a matter of fact, I hadn’t. I don’t know what I’ve been eating lately? (Oh yes, I do! The large krakow sausages, straight off the grill with jagged blackened pieces covering one side and an obscene amount of mustard at the Christmas Market behind Galeria. It’s a Polish sausage and Polish sausages, IMHO, RULE. They’re firm fleshed, dry, smoky, spicy, with an extraordinary snap to the skin, you need to give it a really good tug before it breaks off. I’m particular to a stand directly behind Galeria, exiting through the make up and bag department. They only sell two things; a bratwurst – €2.50 and the Krakow – €3.50. Confession? As I write this I am plotting one last trip to the Krakow stand before I fly of to Miami on the 27th).
Back to Muret la Barba. It’s one of Katie’s lunch places, she always get’s the homemade ravioli (whatever the filling) and a salad. I followed her cue and did the same. Out came 5 large square ravioli, the size of my entire hand, filled with ricotta and greens, sitting in about 150g of Parmesan flavoured butter (€7.50). We shared a salad of beetroot, apple, cracked wheat and lettuce – something I could imagine making for myself at home, the freshness of which cut through the richness of the ravioli.
A delicious homemade ravioli lunch for €7.50? Perfect. More than that however, I’m totally seduced by the vibe of MLB. It takes leave from the typical Italian places around here, which feel contrived, the available Italians working within, turning up their Italianess to pander to the locals who seem as addicted to all things Mediterranean as they are to the sun. Instead they keep things simple with a few unexpected bits, each one telling me a story, like:
- It’s called Muret la Barba but the sign on the front simply states ‘wein’ with a faded red ‘m’ over the door. (Understated confidence)
- The chalk board menu (keeping it simple, making themselves happy)
- That the older woman womanning the till that took my order spoke to me in German, English and Italian – all at once and assumed I could switch between the three as effortlessly as she (mwa mwa! Diversity, I love you! And also, she acts like an owner, and having an owner on the scene usually means better food, better service because they have a vested interest.).
- The same woman dyes her hair Sophia Lauren red and wears a man’s vintage Submarine Rolex. (Classy)
- Even though you give your order at the till and finish off by paying there on your way out. She wouldn’t hear of us paying when we gave our order “What if you want coffee?” she asked. (Personality, interaction).
- The electronic or possibly an iPad listing the menu in the window, over their certificate of operation. (Totally incongruous with the low tech feeling of the place and therefore – quirky, who doesn’t love quirky?).
- That every table seems to be speaking a different European language (eating at Muret makes me feel like I am in Milan or Barcelona).
Muret la Barba
Rosenthaler Strasse 61
T. 030 28097212