Photo by Janina Gallert
Hungry for some wintertime comfort food from down south? Head to Tiergarten, where Maultaschen Manufaktur has been brightening up its little corner of the neighborhood for well over four years, serving its homemade version of the hearty south German dumplings out of the confines of its cosy, teal-walled headquarters.
Hands-on owner Ulrich Morof not only does all the cooking, but he also built every piece of furniture that fills the restaurant. He spends the morning at the stove preparing the Schwabenland-specialty and wiles away the evening conversing with guests.
So what is a Maultasche? It’s the German take on your universal dumpling, made from pasta-dough and filled with either meat (pork) or vegetables (here, spinach or sun-dried tomatoes). The Russians call it pelmeni (or wareniki if veggie); the Italians, ravioli. The Germans like to say monks invented the dish in order to hide meat from God on Fridays, when tradition prohibited them from eating it.
They sometimes call them Herrgottsbescheisserle, which loosely translates to “ripping of the Holy Father.” Traditionally, these not-so-little parcels (think cannelloni rather than ravioli) are topped with fried onions and served with a clear broth or potato salad and some greens. At Maultaschen Manufaktur, the potato salad is prepared not with mayonnaise but with oil, butter and vinegar and should be eaten while it is still a little warm.
The place is simple but charming. Works by local artists adorn the walls, all the menus are helpfully translated to English, and Morof always takes his time to explain the house fare to newbies. If you get tired of the plain traditional Tasche, you can have your dumplings served Jägerart (with mushroom-cream sauce) or Zigeunerart (with tomato-pepper sauce), or try one of the other house specialties, like the pancake soup, which has nothing to do with maple syrup.