Snackbar Nieuwe Vijzelstraat

Hello again Döner Fans. I hope this post finds you well. Last week, I was given the opportunity to enjoy two days of team-building activities at work. We built towers out of paper cups and straws, and acted out short skits depicting the company’s main values. I just about got through it without stabbing myself in the eye with one of the company pens. When Friday evening arrived, I took the first opportunity to rid myself of my new ‘team’, and went out to find a kebab. As luck would have it, I was in luck. Cruising down the Nieuwe Vijzelstraat towards Weteringcircuit, and still buoyed by my sudden freedom, I espied what looked like the perfect candidate lurking next to Café Mulder. Yes, hunched behind a skip was an establishment that felt no need to call itself anything grander than Snackbar. No family name, no allusion to any form of backstory or history – presumably the reputation of this establishment was such that one could simply say ‘Snackbar’ and others would know precisely where you meant. So, in anticipation of great things, I crossed the threshold and ordered a dürüm.

Snackbar! What do you mean "which" Snackbar?

The dürüm in fact turned out to be a lahmacun instead. An oversight I’m sure – the staff were speaking Arabic to each other and not Turkish. I sat on a plastic chair and waited for my food to be made. I was kept amused by an altercation that erupted between one of the staff and a group of irate and immaculately dressed Italian tourists who had been given the wrong sauce. My Italian is not what it used to be, but I believe there was some swearing. It all seemed good-natured though. Anyway, I was brought my lahmacun, stuffed with chicken meat, lettuce, herb sauce and samba (chilli sauce), and I unpeeled it from its tinfoil sheath and ate it. To be honest, it was not particularly good. The chicken was weird and flabby. The samba was spicy enough to distract me from the rest of the meal, but each mouthful which didn’t have enough samba on it tasted rather bland. So I ate it, paid my 4 Euros, and left. 4 Euros is probably OK for a stuffed lahmacun, I suppose, especially when the Snackbar was also selling a Broodje Döner for the same price. Confident that I had not been screwed financially this time (unlike in the neighbouring Lunchroom Etenstijd where I ate the previous Friday) I went back out into the bustling streets of Amsterdam ready for anything the weekend might throw at me. So do try the Snackbar if you dare, but do not expect great things. Until next time, Döner Fans! Have a good weekend!

A sneak peek inside the lahmacun, with a stray copy of De Telegraaf in the background.

Results

Service: 3/5 (fine, as long as you’re not Italian)

Atmosphere: 2/5 (plasticky)

Price: 3/5 (fine for Amsterdam)

Taste: 2/5 (not the best)

Photography provided by Dr. Döner

Lahmacun at Damaris Festival

Greetings, Döner Fans. If you live in Amsterdam, then I hope you have managed to stay dry this weekend. Dr Döner sadly got drenched. While enjoying the musical offerings of such esoteric Dutch bands as Coco Bongo and the Bonfire Ranch of Love, Dr Döner and friends were caught in torrential rain with nowhere to hide. This aside, however, the day provided a highlight in the form of a very tasty lahmacun which was bought from a big yellow stall selling ‘Turkse Pizza’. During a lull in the music (but not in the rain) Dr Döner queued up and ordered a lahmacun (which was all they were selling) for the modest price of two and a half ‘munten’.

A gorgeous Dutch day in July: perfect for holding outdoor events.

Let me explain the ‘munt’ system. Money means nothing at these festivals – all transactions are handled in ‘munt’. You may trade in your regular, boring Euros for some hip and snazzy munten at ATM-like machines, for the highly questionable exchange rate of 10 for 28 Euros. Or, put simply, 1 munt = 2.80 Euros. I am unsure what rates they trade at on the international stock market. In any case, after some quick mathematics, this meant that 2.5 munten for a lahmacun worked out as 7 Euros, leaving me feeling like a bit of a munt myself.

Dr Döner: holding a lahmacun while disguised as a lahmac*nt.

Nonetheless, after choking back my bitterness, the lahmacun itself was actually very tasty. Not 7 Euros tasty, but still tasty. The pizza was soft and moist, the meat was flavourful, the salad was fresh, and the sauces added a delightful zing. It was a fine meal. I wolfed it down on the rain-lashed concrete concourse before huddling back into one of the tents where music was playing.

Close-up of a 7 Euro meal.

That is about all there is to say, really. Since the Damaris festival is over, you won’t be able to get any of their lovely lahmacun. However, I’m sure that in any place where the ‘munt’ is the dominant currency, you will be able to find something of a similar description. Just look for the big yellow van with the rugs in front of it, and the big sign saying Turkse Pizza. And remember to mortgage your house to free up sufficient funds.

The high prices mean that some festival-goers can only afford to wear bin bags.

Results

Service: 4/5 (friendly yet efficient)

Atmosphere: 2/5 (damp)

Price: 1/5 (eye-watering)

Taste: 4/5 (very nice)

Photography courtesy of Ms. H. Zuurman

Australia Day Kebab, Saturday 26th January

A haven in the night

Happy New Year, Döner fans! And, I should add, Happy Australia Day. For it was upon Australia Day that the events of this blog post took place. Let me lay the scene. We had enjoyed the atmosphere in one of Berlin’s premier sports bars near Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, where we had celebrated the Aussie occasion in style. It came to around 2am and the bar decided to close and throw us out, so we headed into the night in search of kebab meat. We all know that only kebab meat can allay the aching desire in our bellies, Döner fans! Heading down Torstraße through the ice and snow, our eyes alighted upon the refulgent gleam of a neon sign bearing the words Grill und Schlemmerbuffet. We approached with glee.

Who knew what delights awaited us within...

Stepping inside, we were confronted with a wealth of choice and I duly placed my order, indifferent to the fact that nobody else wanted a kebab. I ordered a lahmacun with meat and salad, all smeared with a healthy portion of chilli and garlic sauce. A feast for both body and soul, I’m sure we’d all agree! We plonked ourselves down at a handy table to enjoy the repast, entertaining each other with tales of the evening and witty anecdotes to pass the time.

A meat-stick of glory

The lahmacun was soft and pleasant on the tongue, and the meat was moist and flavourful. I would relate more, but alas my mind grows hazy as I try to recall the exact details. Suffice to say, the meal was satisfying enough to prolong the evening for a pleasant half hour as we soaked in the atmosphere of the Grill und Schlemmerbuffet, before ploughing on for another few hours in a neighbouring bar. Needless to say, the hero of the hour was the sole Australian in the group who, I am told, was the last to leave the aforementioned bar. A fitting end to Australia Day. Happy Australia Day, Döner fans!

An example of some tasteful décor

Results

Service: 3/5 (fully satisfactory)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (slightly seedy)

Price: 3/5 (standard)

Taste: 3/5 (very satisfying)

Kebaphaus Ilayda, Schönhauser Allee 109

Greetings, Döner fans. Autumn has arrived in the fair city of Berlin, bringing with it showers, clouds and cold. While we languish in these grey autumnal days, let us reflect on past joyful times, when the weather was warm enough to slouch down to the kebab shop without having to put on a jacket. Let me recount a tale of finer days. A few weeks ago, on a warm and sultry night, a group of Dutch colleagues and myself saw fit to betake ourselves to the Kebaphaus Ilayda, just north of Schönhauser Allee S-Bahn station.

Kebaphaus Ilayda

Kebaphaus Ilayda, with a shifty wastrel of the night in the foreground

We had spent an enjoyable evening in one of the many fine bars that punctuate the streets nearby. But now we were hungry. I had my reservations about visiting the Kebaphaus Ilayda, since to the best of my knowledge they did not sell chicken döner, and instead sold whole chickens on a stick. But to my delight I saw that this time they had installed a spanking new pillar of rotating chicken-meat, ready for my consumption! I promptly ordered a lahmacun with chicken and salad, and a tea.

A hand model poses with my tea and lahmacun

We sat in the bright and slightly gaudy lights of the Kebaphaus Ilayda and laughed away the evening. It was an experience marred only by the presence of a large, drunk German man who from time to time approached us at a stagger, ogled certain of my Dutch colleagues, and then shambled off about his business. He did this more than once. If I hadn’t had a slab of precious lahmacun in my hand, I would no doubt have sent him brusquely on his way. But, alas, my mouth was full of chicken.

Berlin - U-Bahnhof Schönhauser Allee - Linie U2

Passengers alight here for Kebaphaus Ilayda

While I enjoyed the kebab very much at the time, I have to say that later on that evening and the following day I was not feeling at my best. In fact I felt decidedly ill. I do not want to cast aspersions on the hygiene standards at Ilayda, and indeed I have eaten there without mishap a number of times before. My illness could easily have been due to many things. I merely mention it in passing, and the reader may treat this information as he or she pleases. Below, the results.

The Results

Service: 3/5 (friendly and efficient)

Atmosphere: 2/5 (drunk clientele)

Price: 3/5 (standard)

Taste: 3/5 (fairly tasty)

non-original images sourced from flickr.com

Antep Etoğlu Sofrası, Kottbusser Damm 36

Last Thursday, my boss and I were on our way to an after-work event near Hermannplatz on the border between the districts of Kreuzberg and Neukölln. The event was advertised as a “cheese and wine party” and, like a pair of plebs, we had brought neither. Thinking that cheese and wine might not be sufficient to satisfy us after a long day at work, we thought it best to eat a kebab before going to the party. With the scene thus set, we went off to look for Döner.

The Antep Etoğlu Sofrası restaurant

After walking past a few less-salubrious establishments in the area around Hermannplatz U-Bahn station, we happened upon the welcoming sight of the Antep Etoğlu Sofrası restaurant and decided that this was the place for us. A number of local families were also eating there, which is always a good sign, and the place essentially seemed to be a restaurant with a döner-hatch attached to it. We approached the döner-hatch. The restaurant specialises in lahmacun from Antep, so I thought it would be churlish not to try one. I ordered lahmacun with chicken and salad (minus the red cabbage) and with garlic and chilli sauce. We also ordered some Turkish tea or “çay” [chai] and sat down to a very enjoyable meal.

A gentleman prepares a new batch of lahmacun

There are sadly no original images of the meal or the restaurant, but I promise we did actually go there. We just didn’t have any working camera equipment with us. The lahmacun was very flavourful and tasted uniquely herby – I imagine this must be the special Antep way of making them. The salad was fresh and the meat was moist. All in all, an enjoyable repast. My boss ploughed through a vegetarian Zucchinipuffer and then munched her way into a large plate of baklava. We then both went to the cheese and wine party and ate even more food there. Start every meal with a kebab, Döner fans!

The Results

Service: 3/5 (friendly and efficient)

Atmosphere: 4/5 (lively restaurant with local families)

Price: 3/5 (standard)

Taste: 4/5 (very tasty)

To Recap: What Have We Learned?

“çay” [chai] (tea)

Images sourced from http://www.etoglu.com/

Kebab Shop Next To Asia Gourmet

Greetings, Döner fans. Drizzle has hit the fair city of Berlin, filling the air with a damp melancholy. As we all know, the main remedy for rainy-day blues is to purchase a kebab and eat it. As soon as those mysterious flavours alight upon our tongues the veil of clouds is parted, and the clear blue skies of Döner heaven open out above us. It was in such a frame of mind that I embarked upon the hunt for a kebab.

Brandenburger Tor

Döner Heaven is about to break through the clouds

Upon the recommendation of a colleague, my kebab crew and I went to ‘the kebab shop next to KFC’ at Alexanderplatz. The entrance to this particular döner joint is through the door for Asia Gourmet. A narrow wall divides the two establishments. We filed in to the rather tight space inside the kebab shop and placed our orders. We were told to get into the right place in the queue. The staff seemed to be in quite a rush and were under a bit of stress. We received our orders quickly, but without a great deal of friendliness, and then exited the shop and went back out into the drizzle.

The kebab and the kebab shop

The kebab and the kebab shop

I bought a Turkish pizza or “lahmacun” [lah-ma-joon] with all three sauces and full salad, minus the red cabbage. Shockingly there was NO CHICKEN at this establishment so I was forced to eat the unidentified meat (see previous post) that is ubiquitous in such kebab shops. However, there were also many types of pizza available, so I suppose that makes up for this seemingly flagrant oversight. I consumed my kebab when we got back to the office.

The kebab mid-consumption, and a woman's legs

The kebab mid-consumption, and a woman's legs

I did not receive any money from Coca Cola for the above image. The kebab was very tasty. Moist and flavourful, I was fully satisfied with my purchase. The staff were not the friendliest and the kebab shop was fairly cramped, but the food itself was filling and enjoyable. At 3,50€ the price was fairly standard. The scores are below:

Results

Service: 2/5 (not particularly friendly)

Atmosphere: 1/5 (claustrophobic)

Price: 3/5 (standard)

Taste: 3/5 (fairly tasty)

That’s it for now, Döner fans. Have a great weekend!

non-original image sourced from flickr.com creative commons

Mısır Çarşısı, Skalitzer Str. 134

Mısır Çarşısı from the street

Hello, döner fans. Last Friday evening I was out and about with some work friends in Kreuzberg, after watching the England-Sweden game. The night was pulling us in two directions: did we go for a quiet drink somewhere in the area, or did we push on further and go to Club der Visionäre? One thing was for certain, though: we needed a kebab. The first place to present itself was the Mısır Çarşısı on Skalitzer Straße, next to U-Bahn station Kottbusser Tor – a famous location for fast-food joints and cheap snacks. Girding my loins, I went inside.

 

The Mısır Çarşısı in Istanbul

Mısır Çarşısı is Turkish for ‘Egyptian Market’, named after the famous covered bazaar of the same name in Istanbul. Istanbul’s Egyptian Market is a thriving place of hustle and bustle where you can buy all sorts of exciting and colourful things, from luxurious Turkish pashminas to sachets of sweet-smelling spices. Similarly, the Mısır Çarşısı kebab shop on Skalitzer Straße is also a lively sort of place, but by contrast all you can buy is fast food. I ordered a Lahmacun (Turkish pizza) with döner-meat and salad, and the sauces were garlic and chilli. This particular establishment proudly makes all its Turkish pizza fresh on site, and the end result is indeed very tasty. I got a colleague to photograph a juicy-looking cross-section of the kebab while we waited on the platform for the U-Bahn.

 

A kebab, and other delights

As you can see a manicured hand has crept into the background of the photograph, no doubt belonging to some wastrel of the night who happened to be roaming the U-Bahn stations of Berlin that Friday. We may never know the true identity of its owner. Anyway, when the U-Bahn arrived we went on to Club der Visionäre and had a thoroughly good night. Always start your night out on a kebab, döner fans! Valuable advice from Dr Döner – your kebab specialist in the field. Until next time! xx

Results for Mısır Çarşısı:

Service: 4/5 (friendly and efficient)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (open and inviting)

Price: 3/5 (standard)

Taste: 4/5 (very tasty)

You can find details of Mısır Çarşısı on their website at http://www.misircarsisi.de/MisirCarsisi.html

Non-original images sourced from imposemagazine.com and flickr.com