On the final day of Glasgow Curry Week Hector and Marg are having Curry-Heute in Berlin. I had been in the UK for eight days, long enough.
There are 144 Curry Houses in Berlin according to one Source, Hector has championed Naveena Path in Wedding over the years due to having rented an apartment adjacent to it. On our return from a very pleasant visit to Stone Brewing in the South of Berlin, Swera (Bergmannstr. 103, 10961, Berlin, Deutschland) appeared to be the standout.
We alighted from the U Bahn at Platz der Luftbrücke and continued northwards for the three blocks to Bergmann Strasse. Swera advertises itself as both an Indisches Restaurant and Cocktail Bar, it was Happy Hour. I wish it had been Happy Hour at Stone Brewing.
No, we didn’t have a Reservation. On split levels, Swera can accommodated around forty on each of the raised level and basement areas. A Private Party was getting underway in half of the basement, fortunately we were upstairs towards the window, a table for four.
Three Poppadoms and Dips were presented along with the Menu, a good start, especially as the Poppadoms had the embedded Cumin Seeds, the European way. Marg had devoured two of the Poppadoms before I had a chance to start, so engrossed was I in the Menu.
Bhuna Gosht (€11.90) came with the warning – Scharf – Hot – , the Lamb was also described as – Tenderly fried Lamb. The promised Thick Masala could not be resisted, Bhuna Gosht it would be, the Spice Level would be accepted. In the last few weeks I have had some Seriously Spiced Curry in Deutschland and Polska, if it comes Spicy, so be it.
Marg was straight up with Gosht Subzi (€11.40) and had the Waiter verify the Main Dishes were served with Rice. This was written on the first page of the Menu, in Deutsch. A Salad would accompany too. Realising that Bhuna Gosht would be Meat and Masala and Marg was about to have the preferred mix of Meat and Vegetables, Hector looked for a Vegetable Side. Aloo Gobi Masala (€9.10) was a Main Course, I asked for a Half, not a problem. Our Waiter was most biddable, there was a tacit acknowledgement that we knew exactly what we were about.
During the wait there was time to reconfirm our rendezvous with Steve and Louise later at the Berlin Hofbräuhaus. There might have been an assumption that we would dine there together, however, after last night in Augustiner, Hector needed Real Food. This is what I attempted to put away yesterday, proof if required that I eat other than Indian Cuisine, or attempt to. Ridiculous.
Here it comes – observed Marg as a Young Waiter held up the Gosht Subzi. This Dish impressed instantly, it was Dry, as Dry as Hector would wish all Curry to be served. The Mound of Lamb and Mixed Vegetables impressed, a Worthy Curry, so far.
The Bhuna Gosht had more Masala, the Standard Indian Puree, at least the consistency was – Thick – as promised. The Aloo Gobi Masala at first glimpse had the same Masala as the Bhuna Gosht, the Restaurant Gloom made it difficult to see Colour, time to decant.
Marg scooped off some of the Basmati and hardly made an impression. I took maybe more than I would normally just to prove the point. This was a Total Waste, no two people could eat this Quantity of Rice. The Curry-Heute Campaign continues.
Marg was well under way with her Gosht Subzi. The tenderness of the Lamb was remarked upon, twice. Cauliflower, Carrots, Peppers, Courgette, Onions and Peas were her – Interesting Vegetables. Marg had chosen well, there was certainly enough here. That she scraped the last of the Masala from the Karahi then cleared every grain of Rice from her plate shows she was hungry and appreciative. It was rare to see Marg clean up in this manner, especially when the Vegetables are in Big Blobs, not so here.
The Lamb was very tender, minimal sauce and crunchy vegetables.
The Spice Level was never commented upon and so must have been well within Marg’s level of tolerance.
When faced with two different Curry Dishes on the same plate with Rice, does one mix or eat separately? Both the Bhuna Gosht and the Aloo Gobi Masala had to be evaluated. From the first mouthful of the Bhuna Gosht, Hector was impressed.
It tastes of Curry! – was the immediate Hector reaction. The Flavour impressed, this was directly down to the Seasoning which Chef had pitched at a Perfect Level. This takes Skill. The Spice Level was at the Low end of the Scale, near the bottom, this Dish was not Scharf at all. Still, does Curry always have to make one Sweat? It should be about the Flavour, the Bhuna Gosht had it.
Aloo Gobi Masala
The Aloo Gobi Masala was described on the Menu as being – Panjab – style, Regular Readers know of Hector’s preference for Punjabi Cuisine. Peas were present along with the expected Potato and Cauliflower. The Main Vegetables were cut Large, as Marg had already noted, the Texture was Firm, who wants to eat Mush? The Masala may have looked the same as the Bhuna Gosht, this did not have the same Intensity of Flavour, time to mix. There was sufficient Masala with the Bhuna Gosht to drown the Masala on the Aloo Gobi, success. I was able to remark:
This is the Best Curry I have ever had in Berlin.
Once the three empty Karahi and still three quarters full Bowl of Rice were removed by the Young Waiter who had brought them, we had the usual debris scattered across the table, mostly on Marg’s side… Guess who does not read Curry-Heute? The Original Waiter came to clear away the Grains of Rice, the Head Chap doing this, impressive. This felt like the Opperchancity to present the Calling Card. I showed the Curry-Heute Website on the Replacement Samsung. It took him a moment or two to realise that the Calling Card, the Website and Hector were as one.
When told we were from Scotland he acknowledged that this was where – Chicken Tikka Masala – originated. I related the Apocryphal Story, Mein Host was amused. He also mentioned Leonardo de Caprio who had visited Edinburgh earlier this week to dine. Leonardo did not have Curry in Edinburgh.
Mein Host was honoured to receive the Curry-Heute Calling Card, wait until he sees how many venues around the World have been covered by one writer.
€35.30. This was less than we had paid at Stone Brewing for Four Drinks and Two Snacks.
The Half Portion of Aloo Gobi Masala was €6.50. The 0.75l Bottle of Sparkling Water – €5.50. Expensive Water.
Mango Liqueur was placed on the table without comment. Marg’s disappeared in a flash, also without comment. What’s going on? Is Marg on holiday? Only until tomorrow, nobody will believe what happens then.