Hermanstraße 120 — 12051 Berlin

Sweaty windows in winter are the borders between the distressed greyness of Neukölln and the barking chatter of big men and slender women with healthy appetites. It can be one’s rescue if you are in the mood for dissolving. The canon of the common Turkish imbiss is not available here and guests asking for it will be denied; not with annoyance but with an astute grin of pride. At lunch you sit down with the Britzonian workforce, hunching over their trays, shoveling Köfte, slurping Ayran and licking fingers — yeah, it is that good. It’s the place you go to when you need that comforting presence of a plate with stacked meat — filling stomachs and calming nerves because your body needs protein or your soul needs a home. I go to Asude longing for that feeling of home, paradoxically enough in that context of ongoing encrypted conversations and since I don’t usually feel comfortable surrounded by only men. But the honesty exuded by that army of cooks, the jovial play behind the glass counter becomes almost tactile and embracing, infusing in every dish. Especially in the most simple ones.

Lammfleischsuppe and plain rice is my must have at Asude: my antidote to anxiety. Just alone observing the ample fake wooden tray, crowded with the simplest delicacies calms me down and I feel taken care of. A shallow ceramic bowl flooding with dark amber steaming soup next to a basket of warm bread with slightly burnt crust and toasted sesame seeds. And then, the star: that highly craved plate of plain rice. Rice of the most limpid creamy whiteness, luring with that gleaming oil pellicle, which immediately upgrades the whole experience to that of enjoying a secretive guilty pleasure for savoring rich flavors achieved with the most straightforward approaches in cooking. It is that kind of honesty that brings comfort. Don’t let yourself be misled by how dull the food might seem along these lines. It is in making the ostensibly easy things where mastery and character reveal itself.

“Grüne?” — Yes, please. A quickly fixed plate plentiful with arugula, lemon and that white tasteless but addictive, chewy kohlrabi, arranged in some sort of festive color palette. Fresh cilantro and peppery parsley, abundantly — hence the Turkish saying: “Maydanoz olmak” — like parsley, referring to the sprawling of these weeds. A tempting analogy to the grotesque ubiquitousness of Turkish food in Berlin. One might therefore take it for granted, but it is no less admirable and Asude makes it, with its honesty and simplicity, a solid statement and very easy to love. (Sac Kebab is €8,50)

Thank you Madlen for co-writing this with me