Hello, Döner Fans. Dr Döner is back on home turf. Yes, I have been applying my skills to Berlin’s meaty offerings once more, and this time with a tale of great success! The scene is central Kreuzberg, which no doubt is familiar to most of you who live in this city. Anyway, as fate would have it my employment circumstances now permit me to frequent this choice area of Berlin with its plentiful international cuisine. Colleagues of mine had informed me of a hidden gem nearby: a cosy Turkish restaurant serving tasty home cooking at a bargain price. Whipped into a meaty fervour, we boldly set off one lunchtime to uncover the delights of Mercan restaurant.
The interior of Mercan was quaint and pleasing, with stone arches and wooden furniture, and a selection of coloured Turkish lamps hanging from the ceiling. At the counter, a host of different meals offered up their tasty waftings. We each ordered the ‘menü’, which consists of a plate of one of the daily specials, accompanied by a plate of salad and Turkish rice. All for a cheeky 6 Euros. I chose the Turkish moussaka, as did both my fellow diners, and we took our places in the comfortable dining area.
I should mention that all the staff were very friendly. Our meals were brought with a smile, and I was delighted to find that the food was delicious. As with a lot of traditional Turkish cooking, the food at Mercan was quite oily, but the flavours were authentic and reminiscent of the kind of cooking you will find in the traditional restaurants of back-street Istanbul. The salad was authentically sharp and spicy – such was the quality of this simple food that Dr Döner was quite robbed of his speech! Yes, he noshed in silence. To top it all, we were offered a round of free Turkish tea once our meal was finished, which rounded it off nicely. A Note On Etiquette: in Turkey, if you are given free tea, it is considered polite to clear it up and take it with you to the counter once you are finished. This is clearly not common knowledge in the German capital, since the staff reacted in surprise and delight when we brought our empty tea glasses with us when we went to pay. The money was handed over, a tip was given, and a smattering of Turkish pleasantries were exchanged, before it was finally time to leave. I exited Mercan feeling well-fed and well looked-after. Thank you, Mercan! Dr Döner will be back again!
Service: 5/5 (very friendly and welcoming)
Atmosphere: 5/5 (quaint and authentic)
Price: 5/5 (very reasonable)
Taste: 5/5 (delicious)
Note that this is currently the top-scorer: a full 20/20!
Photography courtesy of Ms. S. Clarke