Tag Archives: pasta

Little Berlin Jaunt

Turn back time to last weekend, along with thousands of others I completed the Berlin Marathon – a goal of mine for the last ten months. 

With a couple of travel guides reused from a previous visit and some research scouring local blogs I’d got together a list of food spots worth trying out. However, with all the best intentions my priority was still the marathon and with time taken to travel and the need to collect my running pack from the event’s expo, it left us with Saturday and possibly Sunday after the race, depending on the condition my body was in to explore and try things out. 

Here are some photos from the weekend, some of the food was a bit hit and miss in terms of quality and at times we experienced complete disasters with service to the point of walking out of one restaurant:

Preflight brunch at Heston Blumenthal’s The Perfectionist’s Cafe in Heathrow Airport – limited on gluten free options for the other half and whilst my eggs and bacon on a muffin had lots of good point to it, such as crisp bacon and great poached egg with a glorious intensely orange yolk, it was all a bit too precise and nice. Cocktails were good though, their Bloody Mary came with its very own tabasco filled pipette so you could alter it to your taste. 

Brunch at The Perfectionist's Cafe, Heathrow Airport
Brunch at The Perfectionist’s Cafe, Heathrow Airport


Tired and needing food quickly after hot-footing it to the Berlin Marathon’s running expo to pick up my race pack, instead of finding one of the places on my list, we succumbed to getting food from one of the events traders with typical Berlin fare – Bratwurst, currywurst and fries, it did the job satisfying any hunger pangs.

Berlin Marathon Expo, curry wurst, brat wurst and fries
Berlin Marathon Expo, curry wurst, brat wurst and fries

Saturday morning started off well with brunch at Parker Bowles, in fashionable district Kreuzberg. Open all day, their menus go from breakfast through to dinner, including a range of omelettes which we both went for. Great that they all start off being veggie, but can be pimped up with extra bacon or chorizo if you fancy it, our omelettes with a couple of fresh juices went down a treat!

Saturday brunch at Parker Bowles
Saturday brunch at Parker Bowles
Parker Bowles brunch omelettes
Parker Bowles brunch omelettes

After wandering around the city for a few hours, my legs started getting tired and I didn’t want to ruin myself before the race the following morning. Realising it was also way passed lunchtime, readers my know that lunchtime in our house is 12pm – it was nearly 3pm, we found ourselves at Gendarmenmarkt and stepped into the nearest Italian we could get a table at, everywhere was either predictably heaving or wasn’t really suitable.  Good old marathon special of linguine al bolognese was perfect and a bit of a bargain too!

Marathon pasta - at Amici in Gendermenmart
Carb loading Marathon Special – Linguine al Bolognese!!

One disadvantage of eating lunch late was knowing we’d probably be eating dinner fairly late too, in hindsight we should’ve booked somewhere, but we didn’t and we’ve learned from our mistakes! The first restaurant we tried – Ristorante Malatesta, we’d been given a table about to be cleared in their outside dining area, and were asked to stand and wait for it to be done. Ok, no problem this would’ve been fine, but it took so long we ended up looking like complete lemons stood next to the front door. Eventually it was cleared and we plonked ourselves down with a couple of menus I picked up from the side, we then watched as waiting staff basically whizzed around completely ignoring us, when we did manage to get eye contact they joked if we were ready to pay the bill!!!! We hadn’t even ordered,  let alone eaten anything!!! Not at any one time did a member of staff give us the time of day –  it was truly horrendous!! I know it was very busy, but there’s one thing being busy and making an effort to keep customers happy, it’s completely different when the staff are completely oblivious! We ended up walking out completely frustrated!!

So still on the look out for a feed, we ended up in another Italian a few blocks down the road, its name I’ve forgotten though. We were slightly more lucky this time, this time our order was taken but took an hour to get to us, we even worked our way through a bottle of wine which seemed to trigger some action from staff…I wonder why?! Apologies for the sarcasm, this is completely for want of a better phrase a first world problem and life could be a million times worse, however, it’s not the best when you know you need to eat, get a good nights sleep if possible, get up early to run in a race you worked towards for ten months. At least this place, did try to make amends for their confusion and delays, but I think I was so peeved I couldn’t be bothered with the whole thing – I just wanted to eat and go to bed! Like I said earlier, in hindsight we should’ve booked and have definitely learned the hard way!!

Saturday night - trying my best to carb load for the race!!
The night before the race, trying my best to carb load.

The race itself was amazing and tough in equal measure, the crowds were fantastic and it was wonderful to run with so many thousands of people from first-timers to the world’s elite at the same time; approximately 40,000 had entered the race and 36,000 finished it! Having the chance to see parts of the city I’d never seen before was a treat too and getting a new PB was the icing on the cake!

I distinctly remember nearly two years earlier after running my first marathon, I hardly ate anything, a few crisps was as much as I could handle. This time I was on much better form and actually managed a tasty plate of Augustiner sausages on mash and white cabbage at Augustiner am Gendarmenmarkt. Such a different experience from our attempts at dinner the night before – it was just as busy but service was jovial, friendly and efficient, our server also gave great recommendations in particular the sweet mustard condiment that was offered.

Post race refuel - curry wurst, sausages and mash
Celebratory post race refuel at Augustiner am Gendarmenmarkt – curry wurst, sausages and mash

The next few hours were spent resting up and having my legs rollered to stretch out the muscles – trust me they needed it, followed by dinner at well known North African restaurant Baraka. Reminding me very much of Leeds’ Caravanserai or one of my current local favourites Jeitta in Woking, the lady who served us was friendly and efficient, from a menu that’s not massive by any means there’s still enough choice to suit. I found the food tasty, in particular the tagine with meatballs and cous cous which was delicious. 


Baraka - hummus with fried lamb, tagging Marrakesh and shish kebab with bulgar wheat and rice
Baraka – hummus with fried lamb, tagging Marrakesh and shish kebab with bulgar wheat and rice

I’m sure I’ll be back in Berlin again as it’s got so much to offer with its cultural heritage and the fantastic food and drink scene, next time I’ll be a spectator if the race is on so I can make the most of it.

Pasta Heaven @ Le Langhe, York

A good catch up with old friends in York, always means a decent lunch somewhere, as they love food as much as I do. We were off to Le Langhe, a restaurant that I’d read about before, but this was my first visit. From the outside it was hard to tell there was a restaurant, as there’s no real signage. Even on closer inspection looking in through the window, you see a deli stocked with all sorts of goodies, no hint of a dining room.


On entering we found ourselves surrounded by a food lovers dream; an Italian food and wine emporium with walls of shelves holding quality Italian wines, cabinets fully stocked with delicious meats and cheeses, Italian breads, imported pastas, aged balsamic vinegars, fresh truffles and much much more!


Once we could tear ourselves away from the shop, the actual dining room was at the back and up a few steps, this is where I saw the restaurants name – Le Langhe. The sign was a little hard to make out at first as they had so much stock everywhere, maybe as christmas looms ever close, there were boxes seemingly everywhere!



We found the menu a tad on the confusing side and more complicated than was necessary. The menu is divided into dishes ‘from the counter’ and ‘from the counter’, but within these categories there’s a four-course tasting menu which includes a glass of wine at £23 each, but a couple of potential deal breakers came with it; the menu is the chefs choice and the whole table must be included.  Pasta and meat dishes (on a separate menu) can be ordered individually or in combination with starters which are on the back of the main menu. Also a selection of meats and cheeses which could be ordered on their own or as a selection. If this sounds confusing, it’s because it was!


After we’d worked out the menu, partly from listening to one of the staff explaining it to the couple at the next table, we opted for some starters and pasta dishes, which on the menu was called ‘discover the difference’ & pasta (£12.95).

For our starters we picked some prosciutto di parma, prosciutto san daniele and Calabrian nduja with some bread. The prosciutto arrived sliced as thinly as you like and was great on taste, as you would expect. The nduja was a bag hit with it’s spicy meatiness, kept soft with the ingenious use of a tea light holder. The three of us certainly had our appetites whetted sufficiently before our next course. 

Prosciutto san danielle
Prosciutto di parma

Two game ragu pasta and one pumpkin and goat cheese pasta came our way, here they say their pasta is freshly made daily and cooked to order, with sauce that isn’t added for the sake of it so pasta swims around in it, but used to enhance it. The last bowl of pasta I really enjoyed was the braised beef pappardelle at Zucco a few months ago, OH. MY. GOD this topped it! Even before the first mouthful, just picking some up on the fork, you could see the pasta was mega thin, cut in pappardelle width strips. It was silky, lightly covered in a flavourful game ragu and a grating of parmesan providing additional seasoning. We enjoyed the pasta so much that we unashamedly banged on about it for the rest of our lunch. 

Pumpkin and goat cheese pasta
Game ragu pasta

Our praise continued to the point where we ordered a second portion of game pasta to share!! I don’t regret it one iota, it was totally worth it.

Second helpings!


I’d never eaten at Le Langhe before, and this won’t be last time, as even though everything about our lunch wasn’t perfect, the food wasn’t far off from being! If you’re in York I’d recommend you head there yourself.

Lunch with wine (and an extra pasta) for three people cost £65 without tip.

Food: excellent, some of the best pasta I’ve eaten, ever.

Service: a little haphazard at times, but friendly, helpful and efficient on the whole. 

Atmosphere: we arrived at lunch, so there was a steady stream of diners throughout our stay. Quiet, gentle chatter about the place. 

Le Langhe
The Old Coach House
Peasholme Green

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