Kottiwood, Reichenberger Straße 175

Hello Döner Fans. The other day my colleagues and I went in search of sustenance in the blazing heat of the midday sun, and as luck would have it our wanderings took us up to Kottbusser Tor, where a man can satisfy any bodily requirement, no matter how disgusting. One of the less disgusting human bodily requirements, as we all know, is the requirement for döner. And it was this noble urge that we sought to satisfy when we entered… Kottiwood! Where dreams come true. Where young hopefuls look for their big break. Where fame begins. Kottiwood! The dazzling lights, the glamour, the fame… I had a feeling as I went inside that I was going to have a good kebab.

Behold the bright lights of Kottiwood

Kottiwood, or as it’s officially known Kotti’s Gemüsekebab, specialises in the chicken and deep-fried vegetable sort of kebab, which I have to say is a Dr Döner Favourite. Thus I ordered a dürüm, and watched with anticipation as my chicken and veg was slathered into some very doughy bread, before being strewn with feta, salad, spices and a squeeze of lemon. The finished product was handed over on a blue plastic plate, making me feel slightly like a child. But perhaps plastic crockery is a necessary precaution in this part of town. Anyway, my colleagues and I sat in our corner and guzzled down our kebabs with much gusto. Though the dürüms looked quite parsimonious, their size was misleading. For the reasonable sum of 3,50€ we received a very satisfying repast that settled heavily in the stomach and smothered the need for döner for the rest of the day. We returned to work well stuffed, fuelled with the energy to see us through the remains of that hot May afternoon. Well worth a visit, Döner Fans!

Safety First! - eat your kebab from a child's plastic plate


Service: 4/5 (nice)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (standard)

Price: 3/5 (reasonable)

Taste: 4/5 (very nice)

Photography courtesy of Mr C Hoogeveen

What Does Döner Mean?

Yes, just what indeed does the word ‘döner’ mean, Döner Fans? Although we all love this tasty snack, some enjoyers of the ‘meaty mistress’ (as she is sometimes known) are unaware of what the word actually means. Permit me a short lesson on Turkish grammar.

Döner is a Turkish word, based on the verb ‘dönmek’ meaning ‘turn’. Adding the grammatical ending ‘er’ to the stem ‘dön-’ signifies a characteristic action, therefore meaning something like ‘thing that turns’. The full Turkish term is ‘döner kebap’ or, more correctly, ‘döner kebabı’, more or less meaning ‘the kebab that turns’. Fascinating!

Turkish grammar: I often find myself over-using number 7

While the döner is of course the superior meal, related snacks also exist in the form of gyros and shawarma. Gyros, similarly, is Greek for ‘turn’, while shawarma is most likely an Arabic adoption of another Turkish word ‘çevirme’ [chev-ear-may] which also means ‘turn’. Fancy that, Döner Fans!

In the olden days, before the vertical rotisserie was invented in the 19th century, people in the Ottoman Empire used to roast their meaty snacks horizontally over hot coals or a fire, a tradition that is still carried on today in the eastern Turkish province of Erzurum. However, it was the great man İskender Efendi who developed the vertical grill which was to change the face of rotisserie cuisine forever. It is him we have to thank for the rotating meat-stick of joy that now graces our kebab-houses, and he even lent his name to a particularly delicious variety of döner meal: the iskender kebab, still associated with his home city of Bursa where it is considered a local delicacy.

An example of the famous iskender kebab

So there you have it: the simple beauty behind the word ‘döner’, and a little background information to help you place it in its historical context. I hope that answered your questions, Döner Fans!

Images courtesy of Wikipedia