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.