Thursday, March 7, 2013

Von Mauritius (Es lebt!) bis die Mongolei (ohne Pferdefleische (so weit ich weiss))

Mauritian cuisine reflects its colonial and immigration history, offering an interesting mix of native African, French, Chinese, and Indian cuisines. It would have been really exciting to discover an actual Mauritian restaurant in Berlin. Alas, I was forced to make do with ice cream. Sadly, I didn't manage to find out why the Eiscafe-Mauritius is so named. Actually, a visit to its website and an unanswered phone call led me to conclude that it was no longer in existence (turns out it was, in fact, closed for a spell). It was pure coincidence that we stumbled upon it heading to our Mongolian dinner. Normally, I wouldn't eat ice cream as an appetizer, but seeing as Theodor-Heuss-Platz is not on my regular circuit, it was now or never. We decided to share one scoop of the most Mauritius-esque flavor on offer (at the end of a sunny, but chilly March day, they only had a handful of flavors): mango. All the ice cream at Mauritius is homemade and according to internet sources, they offer some interesting flavors, such as rosewater and white coffee. Based on the half scoop I sampled, I deem the ice cream pretty good. I wouldn't go across town for it, but if I lived nearby or happened to be at Theodor-Heuss-Platz on a warm day, I would be more than willing to try more flavors. On this day, however, it was on to Cafe Tsetseg for a Mongolian dinner. Cafe Tsetseg seems to be the only Mongolian restaurant in Berlin, though there are several spots offering Mongolian barbecue (a meat and vegetable stir-fry cooked on a large griddle. Don't be fooled -- there aren't all that many actual facts behind the myth that the dish was the traditional fare of Mongol warriors who sliced meat with their swords and used their helmets as a griddle. It's unclear just why this dish was ever linked to Mongolia, but it was invented (if stir-frying meat and vegetables can be considered an invention) in Taiwan in the 1970s. Ironically, the first American restaurant to open in Mongolia was BD's Mongolian Grill. You won't find any Mongolian barbecue at Cafe Tsetseg. When we arrived, they quickly switched the television from a German spaghetti Western to a dvd of Mongolian wildlife and brought us mugs of salted milk tea (a beverage which tastes first salty, then of milk, and faintly of tea). While I haven't taken to making my own salty milk tea at home, it was a very good sign that they aren't dumbing down the cuisine for the locals, and for a brief period it actually hit the spot. The small menu offers a couple types of dumplings, noodles, and soups, as well as, potato salad. This is not the place to go when you are looking to load up on vegetables. We ended up with a plate of buuz, which was served with potato salad and a beef dumpling soup. Buuz are steamed dumplings with a meat filling - to me they were indistinguishable from Tibetan and Nepalese momo. The potato salad (mayonnaise-based with bits of carrots, ham, and peas) was very Russian - in fact, I've eaten the same thing in Spain as ensalada rusa and in the US at Russian establishments in Coney Island. The soup had a nice broth and the dumplings (essentially mini buuz) were accompanied by a good amount of carrot and onion, as well as, slices of briskety meat. This isn't food that will wow you with its depth of flavor and it isn't likely to introduce you to any new tastes, but everything was clearly homemade and everything was good (not to mention cheap - we spent 12 Euros on dinner for two, 13 if you count our ice cream prelude). Eiscafe-Mauritius Theodor-Heuss-Platz 2 Cafe Tsetseg Behaimstra├če 12 bus 15:15

No comments:

Post a Comment