Bandol Sur Mer, Berlin

This is the last meal we had in Berlin.  Bandol Sur Mer, cash only.  The people dining next to us were amazed that we found this place so this restaurant is off the radar (btw cash only) Before I go through the meal and the bitter fact that it took them two and a half hours to get us thru this meal I want to share an observation about the food and dining in Berlin.  Don't go to Paris first.  Stick with the basics which we did on our last trip to Berlin like Grille Royal or Borchardt where the food is not off the charts but it hits a few high notes.  As much as I applaud any one trying to create something unique and creative, foodwise, it doesn't always work and in full transparency I have tasted the food of some of the most amazing chefs doing this and I wasn't rocked in Berlin. 

The menu changes nightly.  In my head I thought the place would have different options every night vs an entire tasting type menu.  If I knew it, I would have passed.  I am not a big fan of the tasting menu.  It takes too long and the initial wow's soon turn into whatevers.  First thing out of the kitchen was a small shot of tomato soup with a small shaved fennel salad on the side.  The soup was a little heavy handed on the garlic but definitely tasted of a Spanish gazapcho.

Next course out was interesting, in fact the combos were all interesting.  Seared foie gras on top of steak tartare.  A heart attack right there.  The foie gras was quite good but the steak tartare wasn't that interesting.  You really had to combine them but I didn't love the steak.  Sliced beets with a small piece of orange.  A shot of beet juice, like borscht but the consistency of water.  Goose liver/calvados ice cream.  The ice cream was unique and quite delicious. 

You know the chef is going full tilt here when you see foam.  A lobster bisque which was really tasty but super salty.  In the soup was a piece of cooked prawn and then raw prawns chopped so prawns served two ways.  There was also a piece of crispy roast pork belly underneath the raw prawns that was way overcooked.  One last piece was a slightly poached half an apricot.  A strange combo of flavors.

This dish was called Rabbit Potpourri.  The rabbit was simple just a piece of the breast surrounded with a chanterelle salad with a red currant vinaigrette.  I didn't like the taste of the salad it was missing something. 

The red meat here is veal which was fantastic.  Veal tenderloin and small pieces of braised tongue which was all cooked to perfection.  The sliced cabbage salad with small pieces of bacon and the square pieces of kohlrabi didn't do it for me just too salty and off on the flavor. 

Last out was dessert.  Curd cheese tartlet, think cheesecake with a strawberry creme which was all delicious.  The orange and espresso ice cream was really nice.  The cubes of espresso gelatin didn't add anything to the dish and they were really bitter. 

It was just Josh, Max and me at dinner.  The most impressive part of the evening was that the boys could sit there for two and a half hours, enjoy the meal and discuss it, and not get fidgety.  Becoming grown up.  They were the ones that opted for the bigger menu.  Max tasted things that in his head he thought he would never try and then once he did, he realized it was all in his head.  If the meal took only one and a half hours, I might have felt differently.  Some of the items on each dish were really good and well prepared while others not so great.  What I always wonder is on this deconstructed place is why did these things go together or perhaps they just don't.

Home in NYC now.  Great trip.  Loved hanging with Josh and Max…my new travel mates.

Comments (Archived):

  1. ellen

    I will not  eat meat that rare in any country.  Legal Seafood had some visiting french chefs years ago and I had their beef  filet and it took a month to recoup.  Be careful.  Pepto bismol for a month was not my kind of fun.My friend smuggled some deli meat in from Frankfurt.  She says it was the best.  She is German and is always bringing back food  from Germany but it is  usually packaged goods. 

    1. Gotham Gal

      I have friends who smuggle back all sorts of foodDrag about being sick. Could happen anywhere. Knock on wood that the lasttime for me was in college

  2. Dnutt78

    I’m disappointed in the Berlin food blogs.  The food doesn’t seem near as appealing as in Paris (maybe more local scenery shots would help?).

    1. Gotham Gal

      perhaps but it is just the food in berlin.

  3. Tereza

    Yeah I’ve spent my share of time in Germany and there are many things that are very special there.  But “precious food” and “Germany” don’t really go together in a sentence for me. 🙂  The winners are def the traditional and simple stuff, which are consistently high quality:  the meat, sausages, wursts … Nothing like a biergarten with wood platters of grilled meat or cold cuts, kickass bread, radishes, excellent beer, fresh air.   White asparagus.  The good Rhine rieslings that don’t make it to the US because the Germans drink them. Just solid, fresh, straight-up, satisfying that doesn’t try to be too clever.On the other hand I really do appreciate how they support art, music, architecture in a serious way, very sophisticated.  Not just the big cities but small ones.  My aunt runs a cultural retreat outside of Berlin — an estate where musicians, artists + writers from all over Europe can get grants to go stay for several months to do their special projects. Amazing place.For decades Germany has been one of few places where you could actually make a living as an artist or a musician.  It’s really valued.  Maybe my view is distorted because all my relatives who wound up living there at various times were musicians and artists — but we tried to convince them to come over to the US at various times but it just wouldn’t pay off for them.My cousin just finished his first year at the art academy there, studying painting.  That scene is def’ly cooking.

  4. Jim Zellmer

    Well, I have to disagree with the Bandol sur Mer assessment.   We found the staff to be courteous, knowledgeable and the food excellent.  In fact, they provided a to go desert for my parents “just bring the utensils and plate back tomorrow”.  2.5 hours for dinner, why not?With respect to Paris – Berlin, they each have different strengths, but I do enjoy Berlin’s awakening, which includes a fascinating food scene.Finally, Lisa Bielawa is leading a fascinating project at Tempelhof:http://tempelhofbroadcast.t…Tempelhof panorama prior to its closing: