Merle’s Roti Rum Berlin Review Stephen Glennon


Merle’s Roti Rum Berlin Review Stephen Glennon

Stephen Glennon hunts down some spicy comfort food in Berlin…
Merle, a Trinidadian resident of Berlin since 1966, greeted us personally and warmly, and immediately served up a round of rum cocktails that were refreshing, fruity and surprisingly potent. The menu is dependent on what Merle has available but has plenty of variety, and each main course is accompanied by a Trinidadian roti, a flatbread similar to Indian naan.
The Indian influence was noticeable throughout and came as something of a surprise – Trinidadian cuisine is relatively unknown and it’s therefore easy to assume that it bears the hallmarks of Jamaican and Creole food. Not so. Not only are the rotis homemade by Merle, they are perfect for scooping up her ebullient curries. Some food is just so delicious that it demands the middleman, those cumbersome lumps of metal cutlery, to be bypassed and be eaten by hand, and Merle’s is the epitome of such an involving culinary experience.
But before diving into the mains, you simply must have a starter: the aloo pies are dainty potato-filled pastries of such soft, understated flavor that you may be tempted to gobble them up without even trying the garnish sauce. To do so would be a tragedy. Of all the delights to be sampled at Merle’s, her homemade sauces are the finest – some are mild and fruity, others are darker and peppery, and some are burn-your-mouth spicy, but all have one thing in common: they are complex, bursting with character and utterly, utterly irresistible.
Onto the mains, and the Indian influences become more pronounced. Curry is the name of the game, and between the chicken, potato, mango and beef varieties, meat lovers and vegetarians are catered for. The portions are perfectly measured when the enormous chunk of roti is taken into account, and are remarkable with or without those sauces.
The service is incredible, be it from the ever-approachable Merle herself or one of her staff, and the amiable atmosphere, spectacular food and moreish rum cocktails can easily lead to large bills being clocked up. I promise you this, however: it is worth every single penny.