I take a deep breath, resurrect my tongue and give it another go: “You know, the green one with Bambi that do a good schnitzel on TuttiFruttistrasse.”
“Oh, yes of course, Schwarzwaldstuben, on Tucholskystraße. When are you going to learn German woman?!”
(Answer: around the same time I get my pre-Layla waist back.)
In London, if I wanted a schnitzel, I would try to get a table at the Wolseley, inevitably I would fail, then I would end up having a not so great chicken schnitzel at Harry Morgan in St. Johns Wood. Here, schnitzel is taking over the world, or at least Berlin. You might complain about the lack of good asian, middle eastern or spicy food (and believe me, I do, to anyone that will listen) food, but give these people some potatoes, a protein and some cucumbers and they will show you a good time!
It’s not just schnitzel, Schwarzwaldstuben specializes in Schwäbische Küche or Swabian Food which is said to be some of the best. It’s the Swabians that gave us Spätzle, Knöpfle, Maultaschen, black forrest ham, sour cherries, pointed cabbage and fruit wine (all this according to Culinaria: Germany). Hmm, writing all this makes me think maybe I should take a short trip down there to explore a bit.
The restaurant is full of whimsical visual cues; most of them having to do with deer or green mountains. A large ceramic tiled heating oven squats at the far end of the restaurant and you just know, that is where you want to be seated in the bitter Berlin winters, when a heavy dish of Spätzle, greasy with so much cheese, would be perfect fare.
As we are enjoying an early summer. I opted for the pork schnitzel with a side of vinegary potato salad with long ribbons of cucumbers running through it. My friend had the Maultaschen. I came across a new (to me) soda called Seezüngle that was not too sweet and came in a glass bottle with a ceramic stopper (which they let me keep, now I just need about 9 more to put my elderflower cordial into).
Another crucial draw is the prices, in a city that often errs on the expensive side; while side-stepping the implied subject of quality, they get it right. €12.00 for the generous, delicious schnitzel; €9.00 for the Maultaschen; under €3.00 for fizzy drinks.
Obviously its a busy place come dinner time but plenty of room at lunch.
T. 030 2809 8084
Underground: Oranienburger Tor