I had a frightening initial ten minutes when I realized that all the other guests were speaking German! “Do you speak German?” one asked? “No” I answered. I got a perfunctory nod and the group returned to their native tongue. “Eh Gad!” I thought, this is going to be one long meal…
The evening quickly righted itself when a spunky English-speaking young woman walked in. We got to chatting and after a few minutes we realized we had already met each other virtually! She was the author of Sclachtplatte and when she figured out who I was she exclaimed “Oh My God! You’re the Foodie in Berlin?!”, to which the whole room went quiet and stared. Could this have been my shot at 15 minutes of fame?
The table was set for 18, a large paper lamp dangling over it served as the main source of light, with a few candles licking at the shadows in the corners of the room.
A fat glass full of fresh thyme was the centerpiece for the table. The spartan centerpiece was indicative of the evening to come. The food was elegant and self-confident. Well sized portions, sitting naturally on the plate – prettier than you would serve yourself at home but not aspirational. I am underlining this point because it is extremely difficult to achieve and your confidence as a cook must be profound to trust that you have done enough (recommended reading on this subject is a Platter of Figs by David Tanis).
There were some lovely details (care of Tobias) that I appreciated. For example, every setting had a neatly printed comprehensive menu, that went as far as to describe the wine (optional at € 3.00 per glass). The table was draped in a paper table cloth and pens were provided in case anyone felt creative during the evening or to keep a tally of how many glasses of wine we had.
I was lucky enough to snatch a seat at the head of the table, a prime spot for watching the evening unfold. I had Ms Schachtplatte on my right and a former Shanghai resident on my left. They were interesting, curious and funny. The conversation flowed freely and both provided me with tips for more places to visit and blog about in Berlin.
All the food was prepared by Caroline and the speed with which she sent out 18 plates of lamb with artichokes and mash was impressive. Especially when the miniature Caroline joined us later in the evening for a quick chat. I was tempted to go into the kitchen and check the larger cabinets for a couple more cooks! It seems her energy knows no bounds, Caroline also makes and sells her own chutneys and marmalades at the Kollwitzplatz market on Saturday.
Hands down, my favorite food of the evening was a thin blond caramel petit four with some flakes of salt clustered together in the middle. Perfectly sized, formed and executed – much like the evening itself.
Thyme Supper Club