Dönerstag 002: Bilakis
Updated: Jan 22
Wichertstraße 73, 10439 Berlin
Bezirke: Pankow (Prenzlauer Berg)
Overall Döner Score: 6.5/10
Notes: I go into these tastings blind, having done no research. This allows me to go into each experience with as little bias as I can realistically keep myself from having. That said, going into this I was unaware that it was another gemüse kebab place, as it was just called Bilakis on Google. I know what you are thinking: “who the hell does this guy think he is, trying to pass off his gemüse kebab reviews as a Döner blog?!” Totally valid. BUT! If Döner traditionally refers to the cooking method rather than the meat, then I am still technically in bounds, right?
Bread: Not your normal Pide Emkek, but not far off. A soft, relatively flat sandwich bread. I actually found that it made for a less messy experience, which is a big deal for me because there is no one in the world worse at eating food with their hands.
Sauce: A lot of döner shops have three standard sauces: Knoblauch (garlic), Scharf (spicy), and Kräuter (herbs). My go-to’s are usually kräuter and scharf. I was delighted to see that Bilakis also had a Sesam Soße (sesame sauce) option so I got that and scharf. I often find the scharfe sauces at Döner places to be a bit too sweet but that was not the case here. It was lightly sweet and German-spicy (a term I’ve just made up that means only lightly or not spicy). The sesam did not have a particularly strong flavor and I had some trouble detecting it.
Toppings: They had the standard Döner fixins— Lettuce, onions, tomato/cucumber salad— but also had several unexpected items. Among them were olives (presumably for a different type of sandwich), crumbled soft cheese mixed with herbs (not uncommon but I feel like the cheese is usually not mixed with anything), and soft, cooked carrots. I am a big sucker for the salty + sweet combo, so the mild sweetness of the carrots and the saltiness of the meat really made a big impression.
Meat: The chicken here is undeniably reminiscent of the chicken at Rüyam, which is a plus in my book. It is fragrant, nicely-seasoned meat sprinkled with fresh lemon juice.
This was a solid gemüse kebab. I think any Döner that is a 7.5/10 or above warrants a special trip across town so this does not quite make the cut. However, I’d say that if you are within a kilometer of Bilakis, it is probably worth the trip.