Monday, March 19, 2012

Fidschi/Französisch-Polynesien: ein Versuch

I didn't have very high hopes going to Tiki Heart, but then I hadn't been able to find any "real" Fijian or French Polynesian restaurants in Berlin so I'd decided a Tiki Bar would have to do (I was so disappointed to learn that the Trader's Vics at the Berlin Hilton closed in 2009!). I know it's a stretch, but tiki does refer to those "large wood and stone carvings of humanoid forms" from Central Polynesia (thank you Wikipedia). Ok, so Fiji is Melanesian, not Polynesian....but apparently it was settled by Polynesians before the Melanesians moved in. So it's not like there's no connection at all. Of course, Tiki bars are not and never were an attempt to replicate real Polynesian culture (or cuisine), but rather a bizarre and amusing mix of Chinese-ish food, silly cocktails, and colorful decor.

Tiki Heart has the decor more or less down, but that's about it. Apparently, there was never one type of music played in tiki bars: they might have played exotica (1950s tropical jazz) or surf music (think Beach Boys), but maybe not. Still, I would think that an establishment in Berlin trying to capture the tiki spirit would make a little more of an effort when it comes to setting the mood. The staff at Tiki Heart were all heavy metal types (from the looks of them) and the music was, too. This killed it for me. I am by no means a music snob (or even music-literate), but heavy metal does not have any kind of tiki feel to it whatsoever. Tiki is light and fun; heavy metal is dark and scary. In the interest of full disclosure, it may not be like this every night. Tiki Heart hosts concerts and in January (they might consider updating their website, but...) there were rockabilly, country, blues, and ragtime concerts. None of these genres scream tiki in my opinion, but they are significantly better than heavy metal.

We went to Tiki Heart with the intention of having dinner. I knew from the website not to expect pu-pu platters and the like, but burgers and nachos. I was prepared not to have the best dinner of my life, but something about Tiki Heart put me off. A lot of it was the music, but the place was mostly empty and it didn't have a good food vibe. I don't know how else to put it. We had a drink - mine did come with a paper umbrella, but not, alas, in a tiki mug. The drinks were fine, but I can't imagine I'll ever go back to Tiki Heart. If they are really interested in the tiki way, they need to try a little harder.

Tiki Heart
Wiener Strasse 20

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