Döner and Sandwich Home – Plantage Middenlaan 32

Greetings, Döner Fans. Few places have the brass neck to call themselves the ‘home’ of both the döner AND the sandwich, but the proprietors of Döner and Sandwich Home on Plantage Middenlaan seem to believe they’ve cornered the market in both respects. Having thrown down such a weighty gauntlet, it was but a matter of time before Dr Döner picked up the challenge. And so, yesterday evening, Dr Döner and his crack team of fellow kebab-munchers burst in on the scene and sampled their wares.

The first thing we noticed was that, despite a large seating area, Döner and Sandwich Home was devoid of customers apart from one man who was smoking outside. The staff seemed bemused at having been disturbed from whatever it was they’d been doing in the back room. I ordered a ‘dürüm döner’ from them for the price of 4,50 and the chef then disappeared to make it somewhere out of sight. Is that a good sign? Who can say. In any case, he returned with the dürüm after a while, and it was wrapped in tinfoil on a plate. I went to eat it at the tables outside, and only then realised that I had not been asked for my choice of salad or sauces. Who knew what surprises awaited me beneath the tinfoil sheath?

Watch out for thieves stealing your leftovers.

The two companions I’d brought with me spent a lot of time faffing around deciding what to order, and then their food took a long time to arrive. They claimed to have ordered dürüm, but were brought döner. Such are the perils of not ordering in Dutch, Döner Fans! You will not receive the best kebabs if you do not order in the local language. Anyway, after a minor altercation, we ate the food we’d been given.

It was a pleasant evening as we started to dine. The outdoor seating at Döner and Sandwich Home looks across the street towards the fences of Amsterdam zoo, known as Artis. As I munched my dürüm, it occurred to me briefly that the two establishments might be linked. Could Döner and Sandwich Home merely be a front for the zoo to dispose of its unwanted livestock? Were the sick giraffes smuggled across the street for an undignified end in the mincer? Surely not. In any case, the dürüm I’d been given was passable, and the salad turned out to be lettuce and cucumber, with a squirt of spicy sauce and garlic sauce to keep things moist, so all was fine. The meat however was a little overdone. The kebab was very average. We ate, and left.

The kebab: gazing into the eye of the storm.

Results

Service: 2/5 (confused)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (pleasant outside)

Price: 3/5 (normal for Amsterdam)

Taste: 2/5 (meh)

PS. I hesitate to mention this, but when looking up the exact address of Döner and Sandwich Home, I discovered a rival blog which had already reviewed it. It seems there is a Dutch-language site called ‘Kebabreporters’ (yes, all one word…) in which some absolute CHUMP who calls himself ‘Captain Kebab’, of all things, appears to be reviewing all the döner establishments in Amsterdam. They even sell their own ‘Kebabreporters’ T-shirts under ‘merchandise’, if you can imagine the temerity. Rest assured that this blog will never dirty its hands with such rude commerce, Döner Fans! If any of you see this ‘Captain Kebab’ out and about, give him a punch up the bracket from me. This town ain’t big enough for the both of us!

Photographs courtesy of Mr C J Hudson.

One Night in Berlin – Servet’s Original Gemüse Kebab

Hello Döner Fans. Over the past month or so I’ve had a go at sampling a couple of Amsterdam’s best kebab vendors. I’ve tried kapsalon in its various forms and broadened my culinary horizons. After some gentle probing, Amsterdam has at last divulged its greasy treasures. The fact remains, however, that there is but one city which can claim the title of döner capital of the world, and it is undisputedly Berlin. Ah, Berlin. Kebab-lovers whisper its name in awed reverence; it is the holy city of the kebab-worshipping diaspora, to which we direct our dreams and prayers. A yearning to walk its streets once more had been building within me for some time, and so it was that I undertook the sacred pilgrimage to the Mother City. On a chilly January afternoon I boarded a Deutsche Bahn Intercity Express from Amsterdam Centraal and set off on my spiritual journey.

The German transport system - a thing of legend.

Now is neither the time nor the place to discuss my many experiences with Deutsche Bahn – Germany’s most talked-about service provider. I will not regale you with details of the time when my train was delayed by fugitives from justice fleeing across the tracks, nor of the time when a neighbouring train ploughed into a herd of migrating deer near Stendal and had to be evacuated into ours with the help of the Feuerwehr. These are stories for another time. Suffice to say I arrived on time at Berlin Hauptbahnhof and, a lump of emotion rising in my throat, I made my way to my former home of Wedding.

U-Bahnhof Wedding: Berlin's most up-and-coming district.

Wedding is Berlin’s most up-and-coming neighbourhood, and has been for the past two decades. In other words, it has kept us waiting. As I strode through the flotsam and jetsam of life’s cruel vicissitudes, which lay strewn across its pungent streets, I was reminded of the special place that Wedding will always have in my heart. A sleeping drunk here, a festering dog-turd there… The vibrancy of city life is all around. But I digress. There was of course a purpose to my visit. As it happens, a faithful friend and avid reader of the blog was celebrating his birthday, and as a special birthday treat he had requested the honour of eating a kebab with Dr Döner. It is the kind of treat that money simply cannot buy. Donning my döner-eating regalia, I gladly met him at Leopoldplatz and accompanied him to the döner joint of his choice.

Luxemburger Straße: sometimes termed 'the kebab highway', sometimes 'the axis of döner'.

Faithful followers of the blog will know that I have sampled many of the establishments that line Wedding’s famous döner highway, or Luxemburger Straße as it is also known. I was cheered to see them all doing brisk business that night. There was Kaplan, my stalwart friend; there was Baba Sultan whose köfte are a thing of legend; there was Dedecan Gemüsekebab, whose Mercimek Çorbası I’ve slurped down on many a rough Saturday morning; there was Pamfilya Ocakbaşı, whose set meals and reasonable prices have kept many Weddingers on their feet. Needless to say I sampled them all again during my brief stay. However, my companion that evening led me to an establishment whose wares I had not yet tried. His favourite döner joint had always been Servet’s Original Gemüse Kebab at Luxemburger Straße 33, so it was there that we went.

Servet's Original Gemüse Kebab announces its presence with a classy moving neon sign.

Servet’s Original Gemüse Kebab (or SOGK) has the slogan ‘Einmal essen, nie wieder vergessen’. Or, in English, ‘Once eaten, never forgotten’. A lusty threat if ever I’ve heard one! Preparing myself for an unforgettable experience, I ordered a dürüm while my companion ordered a döner. While our meals were being prepared, the birthday boy recounted some of his past experiences at SOGK, and I voiced my surprise at never having tried its wares before now, despite having lived so close by for so long. On hearing my accent, the döner seller behind the hatch suddenly demanded to know where I was from. ‘He’s from Scotland,’ my companion replied, ‘but he used to live in Turkey!’ ‘Oho!’ said the döner seller, ‘and did you ever go to Gallipoli?’ ‘No,’ I said. ‘We smashed you at Gallipoli in WWI,’ said the döner seller gleefully. Then, to show that things were nonetheless fine now, he insisted that I fist-bump him before he handed me my dürüm.

Don't mention the war! Politics and kebabs are often intertwined.

Historical military defeats aside, the dürüm was actually quite enjoyable. We ate it as we walked down the streets of Wedding, and I can only hope that it met my companion’s birthday expectations. I recall the bread of my dürüm being quite doughy, but the filling was tasty and nicely spiced. A fully serviceable kebab if ever I saw one, and yet in a street as overflowing with kebab houses as Luxemburger Straße, I have to say that I would likely go elsewhere for my money. The kebab itself was nice, but I would still prefer a Kaplan or a Dedecan. This is of course entirely subjective, and other people will doubtless think otherwise. In any case, I had now completed my run of Luxemburger Straße by visiting the only kebab establishment that had not previously been featured on the blog. A milestone of sorts, I believe. It is a street I will no doubt return to again, whenever I next visit the city of Berlin. For now, though, business calls me back to Amsterdam. Farewell, Berlin! Dr Döner will see you again soon!

Results

Service: 2/5 (questionable)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (bustling and vibrant)

Price: 3/5 (fine)

Taste: 4/5 (quite tasty)

Photographs taken by Dr. Döner and Mr. T. Richter

Bakkerij Kara Fırın, Molukkenstraat 145

Greetings, Döner Fans. I write this with the sauce still dribbling from my fingers, as I have just finished eating a quite delightful dürüm. Let me lay the scene. I had been returning from a hard day in the centre of Amsterdam, the weather was cold, and the light was fading. In a stroke of ill fortune, events had conspired to prevent me from having any lunch, and as a result I was desperate for sustenance. While charging down Molukkenstraat after getting off my tram, my eyes espied the lights of Bakkerij KARA FIRIN – an establishment I have walked past numerous times, but whose wares I had never sampled. Fogging the window with my ravenous breath, I gazed in upon the display of breads and pastries, and above all upon the twin logs of rotating meat glistening against the warm glow of the hot-plates. Like two pillars of joy, out of which seeped the greasy nectar of the gods. I rushed inside and placed my order.

Bakkerij Kara Firin glimpsed from across Molukkenstraat.

The décor inside was basic and utilitarian. I admit I did not have high hopes for the meal. But I ordered a lamb dürüm nonetheless with all the trimmings. The service was business-like – this was of course a daytime bakery, and not some dodgy late-night joint catering to ne’er-do-wells and the like. As such, my bread was placed in one of the traditional arched ovens at the back of the shop to be properly warmed. As it bathed in the smoky glow of the oven, I looked at the selection of options arrayed before me: as far as I could tell, there were only two types of sauce, and the only salad choice was iceberg lettuce. When I asked for ‘everything’ to be added to my dürüm, these were what I got. I paid up and departed with my feast.

The kebab-autopsy under way.

Once back in Döner HQ I unwrapped my dürüm to find that it had cooled a little during the walk. I was ready for a disappointment. But then, as I bit down into it, a wave of flavour overcame me and my doubts were swept aside. Each sliver of meat was moist and packed with a subtle spiciness that prickled on the palate. The combination of hot and herbal sauce complemented the meat beautifully, and the lettuce provided a background freshness while remaining unobtrusive. I think that this is probably the closest I have found to the type of dürüm you can get in Istanbul. In any case, the tastes transported me back to the rickety streets of Beyoğlu and Galata where my love for the humble kebab was first born. My only complaint is that the dürüm was small and over far too soon. Yet, while it may not have compared to Kaplan’s giant dürüms in terms of quantity, where for the same price (3,50€) you can get something the size and girth of your forearm, this innocent dürüm from Bakkerij Kara Firin more than made up for that with its authentic taste. Bravo, Bakkerij Kara Firin! Dr Döner is a fan.

Results

Service: 4/5 (normal for a bakery, I suppose)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (fine)

Price: 3/5 (fairly standard)

Taste: 5/5 (very tasty)

Photographs taken by Dr. Döner.

Kaplan, Müllerstraße 150

Hello Döner Fans. This is a somewhat emotional blogpost. A juncture has been reached in this game of life, and change is afoot. Yes, Dr Döner has left Berlin! Where he next sets foot is anyone’s guess, but rest assured he will be back sooner than you think. For wherever there are glistening logs of refuse meat being slowly rotated, there shall he be found. But enough of this melancholy! Let me share with you my experience of a kebab shop very close to my heart. It is fitting, in a way, that my last Berliner blogpost should be about the kebab shop where I have purchased the vast majority of my fare. The quick döner on the way out, the old reliable nibble on the way home from work, the faithful friend whose offerings have kept body and soul together on many occasions. A place where you can go at any time on any day, and know that you will get a decent kebab. Yes, we are back in Wedding. Allow me to introduce you to a Dr Döner favourite: Kaplan!

The good people of Wedding shuffle towards the bright lights of Kaplan Döner

Astute readers will remember that another Kaplan has already been reviewed on this blog, and for those who don’t I direct you to my riotous entry on Disco Döner (Schönhauser Allee 117). Some of you may even recall that Kaplan is Turkish for “tiger”. Wedding’s Kaplan is bigger, badder and better than the one on Schönhauser Allee, but does not provide any beats. Anyway, on my last evening in Berlin I took a trusty accomplice in tow and went to Kaplan one final time. Emotions were high. I ordered the meal that I have perhaps eaten the most in my time in Berlin: a dürüm with chili and garlic sauce, on a bed of lettuce, tomato and onion. I managed to place the order without succumbing to the waves of emotion that buffeted me from within. Those around me may still have detected a tremor in my voice. When our food was ready, my accomplice and I took our meals across the junction to the scenic square on Leopoldplatz to devour.

My last kebab, glistening in the setting sun

Ah, Wedding. All life is here. On Leopoldplatz you can watch the drunks swapping witty anecdotes while children play in among the jets of water that erupt from between the slabs. The old church looks down on the square, and motorists screech by, careering up and down Müllerstraße with gay abandon. In the setting sun of that summer’s night, I ate my kebab. As ever it was moist, flavoursome, filling, and delicious. What more can be said. Kaplan, you have served me well these past 3 years! Dr Döner will return one day to reap your bounty once more!

Kaplan is not too proud to rub shoulders with totobet.com and Netto Marken-Discount

Results

Service: 4/5 (friendly and efficient)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (Leopoldplatz)

Price: 4/5 (well worth it)

Taste: 5/5 (delicious)

To Recap: What Have We Learned?

“kaplan” [kap-lan] (tiger)

Photography courtesy of Ms. A. Hunt

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

Results

Service: 4/5 (nice)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (standard)

Price: 3/5 (reasonable)

Taste: 4/5 (very nice)

Photography courtesy of Mr C Hoogeveen

NEFİS KEBAB, KOTTBUSSER STRASSE 19

Back to business, Döner Fans. Yes Dr Döner is still eating kebabs like a demon, and today I have a tale for you which dates back a couple of months. If this blog were truly chronological I would have written it before Dedecan but alas, time escaped me. Allow me to begin. Some of my favourite colleagues and I were preparing to attend a well-known English comedy night one Tuesday in Neukölln, and yet there remained 3 hours between finishing work and starting the comedy. (‘Was Dr Döner performing?’ I hear you ask. No, he was not.) What is a man to do with such a length of time? Well I’ll tell you, Döner Fans: we went for a kebab. I bring you: Nefis kebab shop!

The enticing neon frontage of Nefis Restaurant, viewed from a cycle lane

Nefis is a Turkish word meaning ‘yummy’ or ‘scrummy’ so naturally I had high hopes. The kebab shop is located midway up Kottbusser Straße, a mere stone’s throw from Dr Döner’s place of work, and it enticed us in with its pleasant neon signage. It was clean inside. But my attention was caught by the extremely dark meat of the rotating kebab – to my eye it looked more like roast beef than lamb or veal. What was this strange creation? There was no chicken. Though hesitant, I ordered a dürüm and sat down with my colleagues to eat.

The dürüm - what is that strange and troubling meat?

The kebab itself was fine, though not one of Berlin’s finest. I have to say I was deeply puzzled by the meat, as its texture and flavour were quite different to what I have usually found in the kebab joints of Berlin. But it was tasty, if perfunctory, in its own way. The seating area inside was nice enough and the staff were cordial so I shall not complain. We ate our kebabs and then left for an evening of whimsical comedy surrounded by hipsters and expats, before parting and going our separate ways in the Berlin night. There was even time for a quick snap of Kottbusser Tor U-Bahn station on our travels, looking slightly less grubby in the photograph than in real life. That’s all for now, Döner Fans!

Kottbusser Tor - alight here for Nefis Restaurant, and other treats

Results

Service: 3/5 (fine)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (nice enough)

Price: 3/5 (standard)

Taste: 3/5 (so-so)

To Recap: What Have We Learned?

“nefis” [neff-eece] (yummy)

P.S. I am sad to announce that I have revisited Dedecan Gemüsekebab since writing my review and was met with disappointment. They had changed their sauces and staff, and the kebab I received was less well stuffed and lacking in flavour. The chicken too was slightly mushy. I will have to go back sometime again soon to see if things have been rectified, for Dedecan of all places has earned a chance to redeem itself. Just a word of warning, Döner Fans!

Photography courtesy of Mr B Lawson

Dedecan Gemüsekebab – Luxemburger Straße

Stop press! I am not even joking, Döner Fans. It takes a lot to impress Dr Döner these days – he has eaten his fair share of dross over the years – but the kebab I ate on Friday night came close to a religious experience. Does Dr Döner believe in a God? If he does then there was certainly an element of transubstantiation in that kebab. I am not even sure how to put this into words. However, I will do my best to give a written account of what happened. Let me begin. I was cruising the mean streets of Wedding again, on the hunt for new döner experiences. The unassuming shop front of Dedecan Gemüsekebab on Luxemburger Straße enticed me in and I ordered a dürüm from the kebab man. He was an elderly chap with a bushy, white moustache, who looked like he had seen kebab trends come and go and lived to tell the tale.

The enticing shop front of Dedecan Gemüsekebab, viewed from a pedestrian island

He started slicing up the chicken meat and the roast vegetables, lovingly sprinkling them with some mystery herbs, and started adding layer upon layer of this mouth-watering mix onto the dürüm wrap. Layer upon layer – I thought it wouldn’t end. This had to be the fattest, most meat-laden kebab I’d ever seen. Then came the salad. I was delighted to see that red cabbage – that leper of the salad community – was not even available as an option. Chilli and garlic sauce were carefully applied, before a helping of crumbling, white feta cheese was added, followed by a squeeze of fresh lemon and a pinch of the smoky, red, Turkish sumac herb. All of this barely fitted inside the wrap as the kebab man knowledgeably rolled it into its final form and handed it over. The dürüm felt heavy with anticipated kebab pleasure. And all this for only 3 euros? It was too good to be true. I saw in his face that the kebab man knew he had once again crafted a thing of beauty. He smiled the easy smile of a man satisfied with his work – the same smile one might imagine seeing on the lips of Stradivarius when he finished one of his violins. When I devoured the kebab back in the hallowed walls of Döner HQ, I was almost moved to shed thick garlicky tears of joy at the moistness of the flavours. It was almost too big to be humanly consumed… Almost. But I managed.

The image does not do justice to the taste

Results

Service: 4/5 (professional)

Atmosphere: 4/5 (quite pleasant for sitting)

Price: 5/5 (I would gladly have paid double)

Taste: 5/5 (oh my god)

Photography courtesy of Ms K McQueen

Holiday Kebab

Hello Döner Fans. In this dirty, hectic world of ours we must all permit ourselves a holiday once in a while. And it was on such a convalescent trip that the events of this tale unfolded. Yes, a few weeks ago Dr Döner took a well-deserved break from the daily grind and jetted off to exotic lands to relieve the stress of the working world. Alas! The world of work did not relinquish its grip so easily, and before long the need to describe kebabs came upon me once again. It was while strolling down the picturesque streets of Edinburgh that my eyes were drawn to the charming red paintwork of “Uncle’s” fast food joint, selling such local delights as fish & chips, pizza and, of course, kebabs.

The fair city of Edinburgh, viewed from a nearby hill

I moved inside and ordered what was termed a “small doner” [sic]. For the kingly price of £4.00 I was already sceptical as to the credentials of this establishment. The gentleman behind the counter, who I assume was the eponymous “Uncle”, inquired whether I wanted my kebab on naan bread or in a wrap. Imagine his delight, Döner Fans – just imagine! – when I replied that I wished it in the form of a dürüm. “Where are you from?” he demanded. “Berlin,” I replied. “Ah yes,” he said wisely, “there are many dürüms in Berlin.” From that point on, a firm friendship was established.

Uncle's fast food joint, viewed from a pedestrian island

I was cautious to avoid the white cabbage which lay among the range of salad on offer. Cabbage of any sort does not belong in the repertoire of a kebab purveyor, Döner Fans. Anyway, slathering my dürüm in swathes of garlic and chilli sauce and digging an Irn Bru out of the fridge, Uncle handed me my kebab and I retreated to a local park to consume it.

A mighty kebab and a can of Irn Bru

I have eaten kebabs in the UK before. I will not go into the time, in Oxford, when some charlatan of a kebab-man proceeded to fry the salad before my very eyes. In brief, many of the kebabs available in the UK are quite frankly shameful. But this kebab that I ate that day was something of a rare delight. It tasted very fine indeed! Yes, the meat was sliced more thickly than in Berlin. Yes, it was spiced differently. But this very difference was perhaps the reason for its charm. I consumed it with gusto and, sitting on the pleasant lawns of the Edinburgh Meadows, I considered myself a very lucky individual. If I am ever back in the Scottish capital I will be sure to visit again, Uncle!

Results

Service: 4/5 (very friendly)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (nice, but nothing special)

Price: 2/5 (expensive)

Taste: 4/5 (very tasty!)

Photography courtesy of Ms. K. McQueen

Ali Baba, Danziger Straße 2

Hello Döner Fans! I trust this finds you well. At certain times we all get the urge to wander far afield and sample pastures new. Indeed, when one has tasted all the kebabs in the vicinity, one must venture out of walking distance in order to uncover new and exciting delights. Rumours abounded of a kebab restaurant near to Eberswalder Straße U-Bahn station, and so two days ago at lunch time I assembled my international crew of meat-hungry kebab connoisseurs and boarded the underground. As this motley assortment of voracious döner-devourers stepped off the platform, we quickly espied the object of our quest: Ali Baba döner restaurant. Our interest piqued, we hurried inside.

Open Sesame! The entrance to Ali Baba's secret cave, disguised with scaffolding

What better way to shroud your kebab-hut in an air of exotic mystery and allure than to bestow upon it a name from the legends of the Arabian Nights? If Scheherazade were to invent a tale of turning meat and 1001 sauces it would surely bear some close resemblance to the story that I now recount. And to be fair, the owners of Ali Baba had made a certain effort with the rugs and wall paintings of Turkish women making bread. Soaking up the atmosphere, my kebab posse and I purchased our dürüms and sat down to enjoy our meal.

A glimpse inside the Cave of Wonders, and a vintage mobile telephone

I have to say, Döner Fans, that while the dürüm was enjoyable in its own way, I cannot claim that it was anything out of the ordinary. No, I did not feel the love in that kebab. The meat was tasty enough and the salad was mostly fresh, but the whole ensemble lacked a certain je ne sais quoi, a certain soupcon of savoir faire. I might also point out that the yoghurt sauce contained a number of flies, which did not warm me to the whole affair. In short, we ate and left. It was pleasant enough, but Dr Döner will not be rushing back immediately to sample the wares of Ali Baba again – not when such bastions of culinary bliss as Bilakis are so much closer to hand. And at the price of 3,70€  the dürüm was also a little expensive for what we got. A fair attempt, Ali Baba! Dr Döner bids you farewell and iyi şanslar.

Ali Baba’s rotating meat-stick of legend: food enough for forty thieves

Results

Service: 3/5 (nice enough)

Atmosphere: 4/5 (intriguing décor and attractive rugs)

Price: 2/5 (a bit over-priced)

Taste: 3/5 (tasty enough)

To Recap: What Have We Learned?

“iyi şanslar” [ee-yee shance-larr] (good luck)

Photography courtesy of Mr. V. Virtanen

Bilakis – Wichertstraße 0

Hello again, Döner Fans. Let me share with you another nugget of meat-based wisdom. Today my lunch-buddies and I were strolling through the pleasant streets of Prenzlauer Berg when we happened upon a magical place called Bilakis, just off Schönhauser Allee. A charming place with jaunty benches and parasols, we homed in on the wafting scents of fine kebab meat and graced the establishment with our custom. The amiable gents at the Bilakis kebab shop are craftsmen in the fine tradition of the Gemüsedöner, as made popular by Herr Mustafa, that fabled icon of the rotating meat industry. With high expectations, my colleagues and I thus shuffled into the welcoming shade of the shop’s awning on this fine summer’s day and placed our orders.

The welcoming hatch of Bilakis with pleasant outdoor seating

As all connoisseurs of the kebab will know, it would have been churlish to select anything other than a dürüm. I watched with unbridled joy as the artisan on the other side of the hatch lovingly carved slices of chicken from the rotating meat-stick and then strewed it with fresh salad, cheese, and a squirt of fresh lemon. A few roast vegetables were added, and the feast was served up. Seating ourselves upon an inviting plastic bench, we tucked in with gusto.

A glimpse into the inner workings of a delicious kebab

The meat was moist, the salad was fresh, and the flavours were exquisite. Well done, Bilakis! You receive the Dr Döner seal of approval. I ought to mention however, that my colleague, who ordered only a portion of chips, was disappointed and found them to be both “flabby” and “mushy”. But enough of that nonsense – for who, Döner Fans, who goes to a kebab shop and asks for chips, I ask you? Of all the absurdity. On a side note, it may interest the linguists among you that Bilakis is Turkish for something like “vice versa”. Do with that information what you will. I wash my hands of it.

Results

Service: 5/5 (jolly and efficient)

Atmosphere: 4/5 (very pleasant with outdoor seating)

Price: 4/5 (well worth it)

Taste: 5/5 (magnificent!)

To Recap: What Have We Learned?

“bilakis” [bi-la-kis] (vice versa)

Photography courtesy of Ms. A. Pries