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Berlin: HadiGari Grillhaus

October 22, 2009

I currently live in Kreuzberg; a south-central suburb in former West Berlin known for its counter-cultural and immigrant-rich population. The vast majority of these immigrants are Turkish which, not surprisingly, has given rise to more Turkish eateries than you can poke a stick at. One of these is HadiGari GrillHaus located just around the corner from the Schönleinstrasse U Bahn.

The decor is a blend of industrial and rustic with brick walls, stone pillars and creamy stuccoed walls contrasted with glass partitions and a large stainless steel exhaust pipe that snakes across the ceiling. There’s Turkish music playing softly in the background and a large cheery-looking chef standing at the charcoal grill (behind aforementioned glass partition). It was around 7pm on a Wednesday night when we arrived and the restaurant was empty bar seven other customers; not generally a great sign. We were taken to a table almost instantly by the one waiter on duty, who was friendly, well-informed, and spoke with us at great length about the menu and the specials on offer. Somewhat overwhelmed by the information, we decided to start with the Karisik Sicak Meze (€8.50; a warm shared appetiser platter that had been recommended) and finish with Kuzu Sis Iskender (€10.50; grilled lamb kebab served on a bed of cubed pitta/Turkish bread with yoghurt and a tomato-mint-butter sauce). Iskender kebab is one of my favourite Turkish dishes and a dish that I always return to. It is to me: Turkish comfort food.

The mixed mezze plate arrived and was rather uninspiring; 1 fried mussel, 5-6 fried calamari, 4 fried mushrooms, tzaziki, 2 fried ground meat rolls, 2 fetta-filled pastry rolls, a sauce that tasted like herb butter, a bit of salad (shredded lettuce, and a couple slices of tomato and cucumber), and some grilled Turkish flat bread. The tzaziki was okay; the fetta-filled pastry rolls (Sigara Börek) were quite good; the bread was delicious… but otherwise… nyegh. We were starving, so it disappeared despite its mediocrity… hence no photo.

Things weren’t looking too promising after that start, but when the Iskender plate arrived, all was forgiven. A generous platter was put before me and as that delicious aroma wafted up my nostrils, I held back a tear of joy and relief. The charcoal grilled lamb was tender and the bread was at that perfect halfway point between oven crisp and sauce-laden sogginess. I suppose it’s not really fair to compare their Kuzu Sis Iskender with the regular street-side variety… I mean, this one actually has identifiable cubes of lamb in it versus the thin shavings of mystery meat that you so often receive. It’s a great variation that’s well-worth the meagre price difference though. My friend had ordered a plate of ‘pommes’ as well. We had expected french fries, but what it turned out to be was much better; a large plate of sliced potatoes fried to perfection so that they were crunchy around the edges, but deliciously soft in the middle. I had all that I want from an iskender meal; that warm, comforted, low-fuss, homey-nurtured feeling.

About three-quarters of the way through our death-by-kebab (yes, we’d over-ordered… again), the chef sailed by us with my next visit’s meal. I stopped the chef on his way back to ask what it was. It was their speciality, Adana kebab, and what he suggested I should try the next time. As we sat there, sated and content, sipping on our complimentary glass of tea I made a vow to myself: next time, I’m having the Adana… damn my iskender-holism!

Verdict: At prices that rival your corner ‘kebabery ‘ and friendly service to boot, this place is worth a visit. Plus, they also deliver from noon until 3am. Not bad! The only dishes that are a bit pricey (relatively speaking) are the starters which are around €4.50; add €0.50 and you’ve got a dürüm/dürümier kebab.

HADIGARI GRILLHAUS

Telephonic Numerals 030 5056 7944

Website yup, they’ve got one! AND you can view their menu online too (food and drink)… clever buggers.

Location Schönleinstrasse 2, Kreuzberg, Berlin 10967 (corner of Böckhstrasse and Schönleinstrasse)

Grace them with your presence Any day you like from 12:00 until 3:00

Closest U Bahn Schönleinstraße (U8)

Your pockets will be fine (€3,50 – €14.50; though seafood is €4.50 – €25.90)

Smoking Can do. One section is for smokers.

And? Vegetarian pickings are quite slim (starters aside, there are two mains to choose from); their menu is in Turkish, German and English.

 

N

 

UPDATE: So I actually held fast to my promise and ordered the Adana the very next time I visited HadiGari… and you know what? I’m sticking with the Kuzu Sis Iskender. Hey, I tried!

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