Friday, June 14, 2013

Neuseeland: flach und weiss

Not much comes to mind when I think about New Zealand cuisine. Lamb? Kiwis? Wikipedia will tell you about Maori cuisine, a fusion of Polynesian ingredients and techniques with local New Zealand ingredients, but as native American cuisines are not regarded as typical American fare, Maori cuisine is not considered New Zealand's national cuisine. Instead, it is apparently similar to Australian cuisine - British (New Zealand was a colony) with lots of international influences, particularly Asian. (I'd be very interested to sample a traditional cookie, the Afghan biscuit, an iced chocolate cookie with a crunch from cornflakes. Why it's associated with Afghanistan, I cannot say.) In recent years, New Zealand became associated with coffee culture. I'm not sure how this came to be, but according to, the country "has more roasters per capita than anywhere in the world." Flat whites are to New Zealand (and Australia) what cappuccinos are to Italy. Until visiting Antipodes, a little Mitte-Prenzlauer Berg cafe run by a couple of Kiwis, I had yet to lay eyes or mouth on a flat white. A flat white is, for your information, "a less milky brew with textured rather than frothy milk." So, like a latte, but with a higher ratio of coffee to milk or a cappuccino with less foam. The flat white is apparently very tricky to make and will say that Antipodes makes good coffee, but I'd have to broaden my experience with flat whites before I can make an authoritative statement on this particular drink. I will add that their chai latte is awful - made from one of those syrups or powders and much, much too sweet. I respect their decision not to serve decaf coffee (the owner told me they weren't happy with the quality of the one they previously had). Even as a temporary decaf drinker, I think decaf is sort of silly. But by their own logic, why serve a sub-par chai? Still, this is mostly quibbling as they are all about coffee and their coffee is very good (I tasted my husband's). I also have good things to say about their sandwiches. In a city full of dreadful belgete broetchen, the "filled rolls" available at every bakery in the country - the bread tastes like cotton batting, the meat and cheese offerings are always the same - salami, some dreadful tomato-mozzarella aproximation...., and they are always smeared with Remouladensauce or remoulade sauce of the cheapest order, meaning it tastes like bad miracle whip. Anyway, the sandwiches at Antipodes are much more interesting; not ground-breaking perhaps, but certainly not what you'll find everywhere else in town. One of my companions had a toasted sandwich with salami and peppers that looked very tasty. It's not the cosiest cafe, but I'm tempted (especially once my coffee hiatus is over) to go back for brunch and try their eggs benedict. P.S. New Zealand (and Australia) are often referred to as the Antipodes as they are vaguely antipodal to Europe - the Antipodes Islands of New Zealand are almost antipodal to London. Antipodes Fehrbelliner Str. 5