In Berlin, in deep Dudu
Greedy Girl is getting close to her breaking point. At this stage, she probably doesn’t care if she never sees a slice of salami, a plump red tomato or a spear of asparagus ever again – well, at least for a couple of weeks.
When it comes to lunch options in the northern climes of Europe, especially Germany, it’s not easy to find light, fresh, crunchy and refreshing. Berlin looked like being no exception, until Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband struck up a conversation at the local cafe, Maialino (see the blog, The quest for coffee) with Italian expats Cecilia and Fabio. Having to while an afternoon away before getting on the plane to, sigh, Paris, they suggested three options – a Turkish (not possible – didn’t open until 4pm), a vegetarian (maybe but …) and the closest possibility – Dudu.
Yep. Dudu. Presumably it has no, er, connotations in German. Off we went, down Torstrasse in east Berlin, knowing it was near the Rosenthaler Platz U-bahn. Just as well we’d noted the street number as we walked right past its rather subtle signage.
Dudu was a revelation – a rather eclectic mix of styles. Overwhelmingly Asian it had strong Mexican influences and a touch of north Africa, with a cous cous beef dish on the specials board.
Long bench tables outside were all full. It was the first day the sun had shown any signs of appearing in Berlin and the locals were out in force to top up the Vitamin D. Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband found a quiet spot inside – well, initially, because the restaurant quickly filled.
We ordered three dishes – tempura salad, the signature ‘crunchy Dudu’ (yes, indeed) roll and a seafood bowl.
The first to arrive was the tempura salad. A large platter bearing two large shrimp deep fried with the lightest possible golden brown tempura batter were accompanied by a giant piece of avocado (also battered and fried). It was served with a pile of herby salad, described as a ‘wildflower bloom’ salad. Dotted with crunchy bean shoots it was delicious. On the side came a pile of guacamole, and ‘salsa roja’.
‘Crunchy Dudu’ consisted of a mix of salmon and tuna handrolls with avocado and cucumber wrapped in nori and then coated with the tempura batter. It was flash fried, leaving the outside crispy and the inside delightfully untouched. It was served again with guacamole, salsa roja, a pile of pickled ginger, some wasabi and drops of a delightfully black, sticky sesame sauce. Yummo.
Finally, there was the seafood bowl – raw salmon, tuna, white tuna, freshwater shrimp, shrimp tempura and japanese egg were served on a bed of warm sesame rice, the wildflower bloom salad, guacamole and salsa roja. It was an enormous serving. Greedy Girl picked at it, while gluttonous husband happily hoovered.
The importance of local recommendations is never to be underestimated in any city but thanks to dear Cecilia and Fabio, it gave our Berlin food experience a new dimension. Dudu is the sort of place that’s almost impossible to find just walking by – you’re past it before you know it. The unbearable lightness of lunch? Never. It was close to being the perfect place to be in deep Dudu.
Torstrasse 134, Berlin