Dönerstag 010: Balli Döner
Overall Döner Score: 7.5/10
Notes: 5 is the baseline in this rating system. That means anything above 5 is above average and everything below is below average.
Balli has 10 different restaurants, so I am not going to list all of them here. I went to the one following address:
Alt-Tempelhof 21, 12103 Berlin (Tempelhof)
Balli Döner was actually one of the first Döner I had in Berlin. When an anonymous user suggested it to me, all that came to mind was the Döner robot that sliced the meat. I knew I had to...got to go back to write this.
The Tempelhof location is interesting because it shares a very small building with a Chinese Imbiss stall. When I say "shares a very small building" I mean that each business occupies a separate corner of what basically amounts to a small room. Space, however, is clearly no limitation for the Balli crew. Every day, they stack with a massive Döner column that would make a Roman architect weep, and with a Döner robot as their chisel, carve away at the enormous slab to fill a pide that is as proportionally ridiculous as the meat tower from which it came. One can instantly tell, from looking at the aforementioned meat tower, that this is not a high quality, 100% beef Döner kebab, and that's honestly fine. Because of the nature of this blog and Döner kebab in Berlin, it would be unsustainable to tackle only restaurants with kebab that leans toward authentic Turkish cuisine. More on that in a later post.
It was suggested, by the anonymous user who suggested I try Balli, that I order a Dürüm. Not my normal steez, but I was with it. I ordered a Dürüm and was pleased when the Dönerman tossed what looked to be a fresh lavash into what looked to be a stone oven. I got my usual fix-ins: lettuce, onion, red cabbage, Scharf/spicy sauce, and Kräuter/herbs sauce. What I was unaware of, that I still have mixed feelings about, is that at Balli Döner, it is standard procedure to stuff the Dürüm with fries. That's right. As if your standard Döner wasn't healthy enough, the one at Balli Döner is packed with deep fried french fry potaters. But let's be honest— If I wanted to eat and write about healthy food once a week, this blog would be called Yamstag and I would post every Saturday (Samstag) instead of every Thursday (Donnerstag) and it would be pretty dumb.
As I mentioned earlier in this review, the size of the Döner here are above average. This is a family blog so I won't explicitly mention what my girlfriend likened the size to, but it pertained to the anatomy of a specific pachyderm. I didn't and still don't disagree— this is a fire hose of a Dürüm. The sauces were more interesting than those you would get at many other Dönerbuden. You could see and taste fresh dill in the Kräuter, and the Scharf had an almost curry-like flavor to it, which, if you have read my review of Basileus Pizza and Birgül Döner in Tempelhof, you know I am a big sucker for. The meat itself was nothing special but there was definitely no shortage of it.
Overall, Balli Döner is a worthy kebab that was even better than I remembered. The portions here are no joke and can definitely be shared. I'd return if I was in one of the many areas in which their restaurants operate.