Does anyone still remember Tisk? The Neukölln restaurant and bar was supposed to be the Next Great Hope for Berliner Küche; its co-founder, a self-aggrandising West Berlin-born TV cooking competition winner by the name of Kristof Mulack, hailed for his visionary twists on local staples like Blutwurst and Senfei.
Personally, we were underwhelmed. So we’re feeling pretty vindicated that, a year and a half later, Tisk has been relegated to an afterthought on the gastro scene – even by Mulack, who’s turned to “consulting” for other locales. One of those, Lausebengel, has the potential to become what Tisk never was: a place to bring visiting friends and family for a non-threatening (and vegetarian-friendly) intro to our city’s indigenous cuisine. It replaced beloved Graefekiez Eckkneipe Rizz, whose booths, tables and chairs live on in the redecorated corner space. And while it’s of course pricier than its predecessor, the quality of the food justifies the inflation. Mostly.
The menu, executed by Mexico-born chef Alejandra Beltrán Cuevas, comprises small bites (€2.90-4.90), open-faced sandwiches (€5.90-6.90) and a handful of mains (€9.90- 15.90). Some dishes are instantly recogniseable as Mulack’s handiwork. There, again, are those bite-sized croquettes of sausage from Neukölln’s Blutwurstmanufaktur, this time served with sauerkraut and applesauce on rye from Kreuzberg’s Bread Station. There’s a Senfei sandwich too, which we liked better than Tisk’s version: at Lausebengel, the mustard-slicked egg rests atop an exemplary mayo-free German potato salad, with a tangle of fried onions providing needed crunch.
“Fried” is in fact a dominant food group here. Behold the glorious Forelle Müllerin, a whole, golden-brown battered trout that’s tender on the inside yet crispy enough to withstand an onslaught of butter, capers and almonds. We weren’t as blown away by the namesake “Lausebengel”, a plate of cod fish sticks with remoulade, mashed potatoes and peas. Your picky four-year-old might love it, as long as you smuggle in some extra salt.
As for other dishes, we’ll stay away from the questionable politics of the “Kassler Kebab” (although the smoked pork in the modified döner is admittedly delicious) and order an extra helping of the vinaigrette-dressed, oil-roasted “Polish Cauliflower”. Dessert, whether Cuevas’ homemade cake or the Rote Grütze with tart berries and creamy white chocolate, is worth sticking around for.
Above all, Lausebengel’s selling point is its beer list. Finally, a German gastropub worthy of the latter part of the portmanteau! The wide range of local and Bavarian brews on tap includes a rotating selection of Brlo specialities; we stuck with the “beginner-friendly” pale ale from Bayreuth’s Maisel (€3.20/0.3L) as a bracing accompaniment to our carb-heavy dinner.
Lausebengel | Grimmstraße 21, Kreuzberg,. Sun-Thu 18-24, Fri-Sat 18-1.