I grew up in the Middle East in the 80’s and early 90’s. Fast food options were very limited. I still remember, when the first McDonald’s opened up in Saudi Arabia, the lines were insane! A three-story building packed with 100’s of golden arch groupies and the drive through lines that were already 50 cars deep, when you pulled in. Looking back at that today, it seems insane, because we are just talking about McDonald’s!
Luckily, despite the clear lack of options, before the explosion of restaurants, there was one undisputed king of all fast foods – The Shawarma!
The key for a good shawarma, regardless if it is chicken, beef or lamb, is the layering of the meat on the spit. It is the alternating patterns of meat and fat, rotating under even heat that gives the meat the right textures of burnt tips and tender pieces. The other key ingredients are pickled turnips, garlic mayo and amba (dipping sauce made of mangoes, vinegar, salt, mustard, turmeric, chilli and fenugreek).
All of which combines to give the perfect flavours. I did not know the word to describe it back then, but today I would call it pure Umami. Every single bite offered something interesting. The sour crunch of the pickled radish, in particular was my personal favourite
There are not a lot of great shawarma places in Berlin. There two main reasons behind this. One – Arab immigrants are very new to Berlin. Two – This is still very much a doner city, so when you are looking for meat on a stick, most people head that direction.
I discovered Zweistrom in Prenzlauer Berg, when I recently moved to Berlin. The place is renowned for their falafels, which is how I found it.
On first impressions, the place is super basic. With limited indoor seating and on good weather days, there are plenty of seats outdoors.
The menu is basic with mixture of various tellers (plates) and with some options to get it in brot (bread) – the taboon bread is typically served across the Middle East and is the perfect carb base for shawarmas. This bread is an option as well with the tellers.
After the seeing the menu for the first time, I decided to try the mixed platter, in order to try everything Zweistrom has to offer. And boy I was not disappointed!
Every single bite was fascinating and offered everything you want from the food! It was pure bliss and it felt like being in a time machine and transporting me back to those childhood moments of pure satisfaction!
I have been to Zweistrom, eating at the restaurant inside and outside. And I have also done take away. It is right up there for some of the best comfort food in town for me. It is also a treat to see their plates when you eat there, because they are truly a work of art! With a price of under 7.50 euros, this is one of the best value for money places in town!
And as for as the reason for my first visit…I have to say….yes the falafels are good as well 🙂
- Get the mix teller if you are super hungry. It is a lot of food!
- I would recommend eating in over take away
Address: Kollwitzstraße 104, 10435 Berlin, Germany