Ending The Patriarchy With Bacon At Lavanderia Vecchia
Neukölln- Lavanderia Vecchia. If you’re a total moron who hates delicious Italian food and you’ve never been to Neukölln’s Lavanderia Vecchia, I’ll familiarize you with the concept before we launch into this: for dinner, they offer a five-course set menu (with a vegetarian option, if that’s what floats your boat) that changes weekly for a very affordable 45 Euros p.p., which also includes a half-bottle of wine or two beers or soft drinks, plus a coffee and digestif shot at the end. The food is traditional enough to avoid earning a smack with a wooden spoon from Nonna (unless you’re into that) but with enough inspired creative touches to keep a gag on your insufferable foodie friend (unless you’re into that). Beautiful space, friendly service. Classy without being stuffy. It good. Mama like. Let’s get to the food.
For the antipasti courses, we had first a tomato gazpacho, simple and refreshing, with a little piece of pane carasau-a traditional crispy Sardinian flatbread, here baked with some thyme leaves-that really pushed the dish over the top. Next was a real tasty little riso venere dish with squid ink and shrimp, and a few dollops of a parsley and squid ink mayonnaise that really pushed the dish over the top. If you’re perceptive, you may be noticing a pattern. The pasta was a spaghetti with anchovies, dried tomatoes, stracciatella, and roe; my one complaint from the entire meal would be that I was missing those punchy, savoury fishy flavours from all but one or two bites of this. But it was delicious regardless, the texture of the fresh noodles was so outstanding that I stopped listening to my date explain how she knows ghosts are real (Ok, I wasn’t really listening before) (at least it was just ghosts and not astrology). I’m getting off topic, but it was some damn fine spaghetti. Astrology is stupid.
The main was mackerel filet with sautéed peppers and aubergine, a little sprinkling of liquorice powder, topped with a piece of fried lardo. Every element of the dish was lovely, and the combination of flavours added up to more than the sum of its parts. I hate liquorice, and I loved this use of liquorice.
That being said, the lardo deserves its own paragraph break.
This little nugget of bacon-y heaven was something else. This salty little tramp was a glimpse of the truly divine. I believe this piece of lard could, with the right organizational network, end the patriarchy. It could SOLVE VEGANISM (sorry vegans)(kind of). I would pay the price of the full meal just for this chunk of pig fat. Silly hyperbole notwithstanding, it was the best example of what was a running theme of a really outstanding touch accenting already delicious, if uncomplicated, food.
Dessert was a semifreddo with nuts, dried fruit, and garnished with a bit of fresh thyme. Savoury herbs on a dessert is something I will always have time for, and this sweet little baby was no exception. All in all, the way the menu suited the weather-on this day easily above 30 degrees-was a very welcome, well thought-out part of the experience. These guys know what they’re doing and then some across the board and have been throwing it down for close to ten years-make time for a visit if you haven’t yet.