March 26, 2011 § 3 Comments
I’ve been using the same Berlin map for the past four years. It’s a great map (I would be lost without it. Ba-dum-dum!). And even though it’s crumpled and marked-up, I like it as a kind of visual diary of all the routes I’ve taken.
The Tajikistan Tea Room’s initials have been on that map for years. But I never got around to checking out the place until today.
The first super awesome thing about it is the location: It’s hidden away from the bland tourist promenade Unter den Linden, on the second floor of the spacious Palais am Festungsgraben, an 18th century palace residence — and, later — the Soviet House of Culture.
The second awesome thing: Back in the ’70s, the whole tearoom was on display at a Leipzig trade fair, and was presented to the GDR as a host gift (at the time Tajikistan was part of the USSR).
We walked up the stairs, past a ballroom or two, and came upon a little South East Asian jewel box. Thick Persian carpets line the floors, and folks lounge on ikat divans next to low tables (there’s a no shoe policy).
We got there just after 6 p.m. and stayed until nearly 10. It was so chill. The waiter kept bringing us shots of vodka (a vestige of Russian patronage), which we drank in between bites of mushroom blinis, Russian pierogis, biscuits, ice cream, and tea.
Next time, I’m going to order the Russian tea ceremony, which has a silver samovar plus a slew of accompaniments — like rum raisins, marmalade, crystallized orange (I hear the vodka cuts the sweetness).
The tea house is at Am Festungsgraben 1, in the building adjacent to the Gorki theater. Go up the stairs, past the ballrooms. You’ll know you’re there when you see a pile of shoes in the hall.