Meisterkoch Dinner in Brandenburg, Sat 16th May 2009
We have another quite special dinner planned for May, cooked by a rather eccentric lady who has been voted Brandenburg's Meisterkoch for several years. Her reputation is legendary and so are her rather odd habits - for example, she has no assistants so she always cooks alone and afterwards she even does all the washing up by herself!
But this eccentricity is no impediment to the quality of the food that she prepares, which is a rather eclectic mix of fine Western European cuisine combined with the generous portions and styles associated with East European meals. So 4-5 courses here would be somewhat more substantial than some 7-course dinners in a Michelin-star restaurant. I have eaten at Carmen Krueger's tiny restaurant and the focus is definitely on the sumptuous food, not even on the wines as I found the wine list a trifle esoteric. She does not have a website, and all we know about her habits was told to us by her husband, who acts as the head waiter there. But she has enough internet reviews in places like http://www.kochmesser.de/archiv/2008-12/restaurantkritik-carmens-restaurant-eichwalde-bei-berlin_23399.html and http://www.berlinonline.de/berliner-zeitung/spezial/dossiers/brandenbuerger/117387/index.php
As I said, this restaurant is small, smaller than my titchy little apartment, and it has only 6-7 tables, so we can't do a large group. But we don't expect a large group because this restaurant is located in the depths of Brandenburg, in Eichwalde, and it is a long trek for most people to go to Carmen's. Though one can drive there, I really wouldn't recommend it as the engineers who built the motorway forgot to construct an exit to Eichwalde, so one has to drive way past, then turn a long way back again. So I would recommend taking the S-Bahn, which would take around 50 mins from central Berlin, and then it's just a very short stroll to the restaurant.
So, this place is for the serious gourmets amongs us - people willing to risk an excursion to the depths of nowhere to taste the concoctions of a strange but talented East German lady. I, for one, wouldn't miss the chance to go, but then I do these sort of things! To make it even more complicated, we won't know the menu until a few days before the dinner as she picks only the best ingredients of the season, so she will advise us as soon as she knows. What we do know is that she has 2 choices, a 4-course menu for about 38 Euro and a 5-course menu for around 45 Euro. She has apologised that she can't do a la carte for us as her kitchen is just too compact to handle even our small group if we all ordered a la carte.
If you want to check your maps, the address is Carmens Restaurant, Bahnhofstr. 9, 15732 Eichwalde, which is not too far from Schonefeld Airport, for those who are geographically-challenged amongst us. The dinner date is Saturday, 16 May 2009 at 19:00. If you would like to come along, please do send me your emails asap before Sunday, 3 May. All those who make the list will be informed by Tuesday 5th May and will get a further email later about the menus and directions. Also please note that this is a special booking so if you have any doubts at all about making the dinner date on Saturday, 16th May, then please don't book as each place has to be paid for and we have reserved only a small number of places.
We haven't been to many places outside Berlin since San Sebastian, so here is a chance to step just a little way outside the city to enjoy the creations of a gifted lady who has somehow managed to create a unique blend of West and East German food - if anyone represents a modern unified style of German cooking, then Carmen Krueger is that person. After the dinner, I suggest that we mosey back on the S-Bahn and find a stop that has a few bars for a nightcap. But, as usual, I am open to other (legal) ideas.
See you soon!
How it went on the night...
It was an excellent excursion out of Berlin to the depths of Brandenburg via S-Bahn for most of us, and we all survived it intact. Carmen did her best and it showed. As expected, nothing outrageously fancy, elaborate or avantgarde, but it was good honest German dishes done very well with simple flair and everything was very tasty. We had a little trepidation about the wine list as much of it was unknown to us but somehow we landed on a pretty decent claret. Even though we were the first people at the restaurant, we also managed to be pretty much the last people out as well, so I guess that says it all. We had a boisterous time and the other few local diners were glancing nervously at us once in a while. Anyway, despite some brave noises about heading over to the local imbiss on the way back, nobody even looked at the place when we walked past. The best dish was probably the zander closely followed by the baby wild boar, both caught and shot by Carmen herself (allegedly). :o)
I can't say what happened to everyone else but I mysteriously ended up at another bar on the way home via the Brandenburg Gate. Pictures say it better, as follows.