Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ghana: Sterne Ganz Bestimmt

I write this blog to amuse myself and I'm not looking to amass readers, but in this one instance I wish I had a bigger following so that I could spread the word about the Royal Aerostar Berlin. Even if the food was mediocre, I think I would love the restaurant for it's name alone. The Royal Aerostar?! And how cool is it that the Royal Aerostar is actually a chain, with the other and original "famous" branch located "at the Kotoka International Airport Accra in Ghana." It's true that the Royal Aerostar Berlin is tucked into a sort of far away corner of Charlottenburg, but I'm telling you: it's worth the trip. If you're one of those people who can't bring yourself leave Prenzlauer Berg you should have stopped reading many letters ago because it has become clear that there is very little good ethnic food located in the midst of all that trendiness. First of all, the Royal Aerostar Berlin is the only place (that I could find anyway) to get Ghanaian food Berlin and even better, they aren't dumbing it down for the locals at all. I have no idea how they're staying in business and I really wish you would go there today and give them some of your money in exchange for a great Ghanaian meal. The Royal Aerostar is one of those "ethnic" restaurants that has managed to decorate enough to give you a sense of place, but not so much that you worry about loss of sight (Indian restaurants on 6th Street in Manhattan: I'm talking to you). We were the only patrons for a late weekday lunch and we got lots of attention. So much that it was almost comical. Every few minutes they seemed to realize something wasn't quite right: the dying rose on our table was replaced with a fresh one, then our candle stump was traded in for a new candle, the music came on, mood lighting appeared, etc. Lest this sound like a complaint, there was a certain charm to the continued attempts to please us. Having concluded my workday, I decided I needed a beer with my lunch and asked the waiter to bring me his favorite Ghanaian beer (there were five or so to choose from). He showed up with a huge Star Lager, which I promptly forced my friend to share. At first taste, I found the beer a little flat and lacking in punch, but when the food arrived I quickly changed my tune. First of all, Ghanaian food in its non-dumbed down state is spicy! We needed that beer. And while Star Lager is very different from the German beers I've grown used to, it was perfect for Ghanaian food. By the end of meal, I was secretly regretting having forced half of it on my friend. The food! The Royal Aerostar Berlin has an amazing (and funny to my non-Ghanaian ears) menu. Fried turkey tails! Eba & Okro soup! Some kind of rice dish called Waakey! After a personal consultation with the chef we were still overwhelmed, but finally settled on the classic Jollof Rice with beef (also available with chicken or rice) and Fufu and Goat Soup. I regret not having my camera with me because now I can't show you how beautiful the full moon of fufu was emerging from my enormous bowl of soup. It's true, I have no prior experience enjoying Ghanaian food, but the Royal Aerostar Berlin has made me a convert. The food is richly and complexly flavored and as I write this, I am so bummed to be going to a German barbecue full of bargain basement pseudo-marinated pork steaks instead of another bowl of fufu goat .... My only dislike was the salad next to the Jollof Rice dressed with that same overly sweet balsamic vinaigrette you find all too often in this country. Fufu is quite filling and we were sad not to have room for a dessert of fried plantains with pepper, ginger, and peanuts .... next time! Royal Aerostar Berlin Kamminer Str. 35

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you 100% - this place is worth the pilgrimage! The food, the people and the feeling are all spot-on. One of those places that gives you an NYC sense of stepping into another world. Wonderful.