On Auguststrasse in Berlin Mitte, among independent galleries and exhibition spaces, edgy boutiques and little cafes, is Pauly Saal – a restaurant serving elegant and satisfying German, Austrian and Eastern Europe-inspired comfort food. The location is not only historically interesting but also very cool (we are in Berlin after all!) – it is on site of the former Jüdische Mädchenschule (Jewish Girls’ School) which was built in 1835, and closed by the Nazis in 1942 (read more about the history here). The building has been newly refurbished and now also hosts the Michael Fuchs Gallery, the Camera Work Contemporary Gallery, a Kennedy Museum and the Deli Mogg & Melzer.
We had lunch in the lovely courtyard, so didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful interior of Pauly Saal- a 1920 style bar through which you enter the dining room with 6 meter high ceilings from which hang elegant Murano glass chandeliers. There is also an enormous rocket mounted to the wall, just above the display window through which you can observe the cooks at their work.
The lunch menu (€32) was excellent and extremely good value for money (at least by London standards it is!). We also chose a main and a starter of the regular menu. I tried the sprat (starter portion for €12) more out of curiosity than because I thought I would like it. In fact I had been highly suspicious. What is sprat anyway? I wondered. As I found out, sprats are oily fish that taste a bit like sardines. It paid off, however, to be adventurous, as this dish was so good! I loved the salty crunchy bacon potatoes, the pickled fish and sweetness coming from the apple – cucumber cream. According to my partner this is a very Baltic dish, just much lighter and more elegantly presented. I found the pea soup from the lunch menu to be less successful. Served lukewarm, I liked the sweetness of the peas and the citrus flavour of the preserved lemons, but didn’t particularly enjoy the corned calf.
Both mains were divine. The Wild Boar from the set lunch menu was beautifully cooked, moist and tender and came with the most gorgeous rich jus and creamy potato purée. As with most dishes that we had in Berlin during this visit in late August, the lovely wild mushrooms (Eierschwammerl as we call them in Austria) were the sine qua non as late August and September are the height of the mushroom season. Even better was the Quail filled with Spinach. Again there were wild mushrooms, lots of herbs and and a wonderful foamy sauce. I was so sad when my plate was empty.
We finished our meal off with Marillenknoedel (apricot dumplings) which are the quintessential Austrian dessert. They were beautifully executed. The dumpling was fluffy and not too doughy, and the apricot compote on the side bursting full of flavour. The only little criticism from an Marillenknoedel expert (yours truly) was that the apricot in the centre of the dumpling was raw but should be hot and melting.
We had a couple of very nice wines by the glass and were impressed by the reasonable prices (3-5 Euros per glass). As you may have figured out by now, I loved Pauly Saal and would go there all the time if I lived in Berlin. Come to London, please, and import your pricing too!
- Food: 8/10
- Ambiance: 8/10
- Service: 8/10
- Value for Money: 8/10
- Chances of Returning: ahhh if I only lived in Berlin…
- Verdict: lovely lovely restaurant with wonderful food
Other reviews of Pauly Saal by Coolhunting, Exberliner and Berliner Zeitung.Pauly Saal
Auguststraße 11–13 10117 Berlin
Opening: Mon to Sat 12am – 3pm & 8pm – 3am +49 30 33 00 60 70