Monday, 5th December 2016 – Käfer Dachgarten, The Reichstag, Berlin
Lunch at the Reichstag served two purposes for us, enabling us to jump the queue to go up the Dome, and also making sure we didn’t need to bother about food for the rest of the day as we travelled home in the evening. The Käfer Dachgarten-Restaurant itself is perched on top of the main building, with views out over Berlin in three directions. It also has a balcony where I understand you can sit and eat in the summer. Given it was December and still icy at lunchtime we were pleased to be indoors, especially with the sun streaming through the glass wall. In fact having opted to wear a sweater I was much too warm most of the time we sat there – and if you do book yourself in for a winter lunch try to avoid the seats nearest the windows, especially those facing due south because if you are there on a sunny day you won’t be able to see your dining companions, or much else in the glare of the sun.
We were very quickly seated and managed to procure a couple of glasses of Sekt to get us through the difficult job of perusing the menu and deciding what we wanted. It all sounded good, and so it took a while. As it turned out the service, while attentive when we did get it, was somewhat slow to start, so we had plenty of time to figure out what we would opt for in the end.
There was a small basket of very good bread and butter to go with it which also kept us happy during the decision-making process… it helped a lot!
A decision was eventually reached – and the waitress eventually returned to take the order. I started with the fjord trout and sour cream, which came marinated to an almost salmon like colour, with horseradish, chunky pieces of beetroot, a mass of lamb’s lettuce (which it was hiding under) and a lovely, creamy potato/bacon dressing. Whether or not the fish had ever seen a fjord I really couldn’t say, but it was good, a tasty dish for a winter day, and would have probably been enough on its own.
Lynne’s starter was the somewhat more delicate pulled duck breast, served on a brioche bun, with a crunchy red cabbage salad, blood orange mayonnaise that was sharp and sweet, a corn salad, spiced fig and sweet potato chips. Again it would probably have made a perfectly good lunch on its own.
The mains were substantial. I decided I needed a schnitzel, as I hadn’t yet had one. And OK I know we’re talking more Austrian than German, but it reminds me of my time in Vienna and a properly done schnitzel is a simple – if substantial – pleasure.
This one came with excellent roasted la Ratte potatoes, once again causing me to go off on a rant about how we can’t seem to get potatoes with anything like the flavour or taste of German potatoes back in the UK, even when we grow the same type… It also came with a potato and leek salad, wild cranberries and a massive leaf salad, which I’m pretty certain I didn’t need.
Lynne’s main was the fish, a fried fillet of pike-perch which had a malt beer sauce, and was accompanied by savoy cabbage, a delightful little onion tart, Granny Smith gremolata, celery puree and a scattering of dill oil. It wasn’t a small fish, and was perhaps just slightly too well cooked. It was remarkably tasty though so no complaints from us.
And that was all we could manage. Desserts were probably just as fabulous. We just could not possibly manage them. And so we didn’t even bother looking, just paid up and left to return to the UK.