Guten Tag, Döner Fans! Dr Döner is back in Berlin, and all is well in the world once more. No longer must he choke down the shrivelled offerings of Amsterdam’s lacklustre Eetsalons! Even as I type this, my fingers are still moist from the inaugural kebab of this particular Berliner sojourn – my first decent, solid Berliner kebab in too long a time! Let me lay the scene. I had woken up in a comfortable apartment down a quiet street somewhere near Leinestraße in Neukölln – readers may remember it as the setting of a previous blog post. As lunch approached and duty called, I came in from the balcony and went out to hunt down the latest döner developments in the local area. It was not long before my eyes alighted on a lead. There, on a little island next to Hermannstraße, was the unmistakeable silhouette of a kebab hut. Yes indeed! It was a Gemüsedöner stand, and it had a picture of a chicken on it. I stepped onto its green plastic matting and prepared to place my order.
Perhaps I am overly full of myself. But it is always something of a disappointment when kebab sellers are not as pleased to see me as I am to see them. The man who was lurking inside Star Gemüse Kebap looked, as they say, as if he had just licked piss off a nettle. He spent several agonising moments slopping spicy sauce from a bucket into a serving receptacle before deigning to acknowledge my presence. He did not speak. He took my order with a look. My dürüm was prepared in silence. He spoke only to ask me what sauces I wanted (garlic and spicy). He could not have looked more bored if he tried. Maybe he did not enjoy his job. Perhaps someone had fouled on his doorstep this morning, or stolen his favourite mug. In any case, we did not share that special bond that sometimes exists between kebab-maker and kebab-eater. He handed over my dürüm. I paid my 3,30 Euros, and departed.
I got back to the flat, went onto the balcony, and my disappointment was instantly dispelled as I bit into my dürüm. The kebab-seller’s bored outer appearance had clearly been a skilful mask used to disguise the love with which he had crafted that kebab. It was a delicious meal – the chicken meat was succulent, the spicy and garlic sauce complemented it beautifully, and the salad was fresh. A sprinkling of feta and a squirt of lemon gave it a special zing. As I wolfed it down, I forgave the kebab-seller for his questionable service – there is no need to be a people-person when one is creating such high standards of art, Döner Fans! The moment was perfect as I sat munching on the balcony, marred only by someone hawking noisily in the street below. I reclined upon the balcony-chair. The first kebab of the Berlin tour had been devoured. Dr Döner was back in the game!
Service: 2/5 (sour)
Atmosphere: 3/5 (fine)
Price: 4/5 (good)
Taste: 4/5 (very tasty)
Photographs by Dr. Döner