A French Haunt called Belmondo, Sat 20 August 2011
My experience of French food is rather coloured by the few months I have spent living in Paris many years ago, when the French were French, didn't know English existed as a language and generally thought that anyone not smelling of garlic had some nasty disease or something. However, recently, someone I trust was visiting Paris and the reviews have changed quite a bit. Yes, apparently even Parisians can manage English after all, and it is now almost polite not to snarl at foreigners though I am still unsure about their attitude towards garlic.
But whatever, I myself was recently at lunch in this bistro where I discovered they do one of the best fish soups in Berlin, almost as good as Ms Bardot may have enjoyed in St Tropez (where I actually had a very good soupe de poisson). Talking of Ms Bardot, this place has a little obsession with one of her ex-lovers and there are quite a few pictures of him around the place. He looks like a nice feller, to be honest, but I would rather watch chef Gabriel Lopes de Castro at work if I had a choice. Regrettably, Gabriel works in a hidden kitchen somewhere on the premises and perhaps it is for the best as I have heard French chefs in Paris getting rather loud and emotional about important things like collapsed souffles and stuff like that.
Anyway, this place lovingly considers Jean-Paul as its "godfather" and so the address is Belmondo, Knesebeckstrasse 93, 10623 Berlin. Their website is on http://www.belmondo-berlin.de/ if you want to have a peek at the menu and prices beforehand. I guess an average dinner there would be around 40-45 Euro but please bring a few extra Euro if you fancy some nice wine/degustifs as well. It is not a small place but it does get pretty booked out quite often, and it is not difficult to see why if you read the reviews, some of which are on http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187323-d1526030-Reviews-Belmondo_Restaurant-Berlin.html
And to make it worse, the dinner is next Saturday evening, 20 August as I was waiting and hoping for a break in the wet weather so that we can chance our usual outdoor summer event but I don't think it will happen this year. So if you would like to try probably one of the better French restaurants in Berlin instead, do drop me an email asap before Wed 17 August and all those who make the list will be notified by Thurs 18 August. The place is very easy to find and the nearest U-Bahn is Ernst-Reuter Platz or a little stroll from Savignyplatz or Zoo.
How it went on the night...
At last we managed to get to have a dinner outdoors this summer and it was pretty lucky we picked this place for our first (and only) al fresco night out. Most of us went for the fish soup for a starter and it was a good choice as this place really does a wonderful fish soup. For the mains, mostly we went for the juicy steaks although Kirstin bravely went for the steak tartare which was made with a real flourish at the table, complete with raw egg and cognac. Later we had a sms from her about some side effects but that is probably because it was her first ever steak tartare! I should also add that the service was really wonderful as well so if you fancy simple, country French food, this place is hard to beat in Berlin. Also during the dinner, some photographer took some pictures of Antje and Heather to be featured in the magazine "Be In Berlin" next month. I guess it was because they were the 2 sexiest ladies in the whole restaurant! :o)
And I must add that the company was really very enjoyable as it was a pretty small group this time. I also really hope that everyone was also not a little entertained by a live demonstration of Taoism in action. If you don't know what this means, then you should have been with us! :o) Oh, by the way, the pictures below are not only of the dinner club night but also of a few other things that happened over the weekend. To be honest, they are not overly exciting but at least it shows pictorially how much work and in-depth research it takes to run our little dinner club (and mainly also because digital pictures are free anyway).