It took a while for me to appreciate the Köfte as sandwich alternative to the classic Döner or Dürum. I’m not a big fan of grilled meat, especially not kebap. I’ve also stopped being a fan of Kottbusser Tor, the hotspot of almost all good Köfte shops, as tension and aggression have been rising around the popular traffic hub.
Well: it took time, but I am a better person for it. The Köfte at Konak Grill is one of the best sandwiches you can get in this city, hands down. It is especially delicious if you get it after a long night out. Any wait is worth the wait. Sitting outside and watching the brawls between the alcoholics and the junkies on the other side of the street (and I’ve seen many), watching the petty criminals stalk their prey, all of that while biting into a juicy Köfte sandwich, makes for a very interesting urban experience.
The Köfte sandwich is nothing particularly special if you only look at the meager ingredient list: Turkish minced meat, formed clumsily into little kebabs (basically, grilled minced sausage), in a white bread roll – which is toasted on both sides before it gets filled, which makes all the difference! – some tomatoes, radish sticks, raw onions if you can take the aftermath, the typical herbs and sauces (Knoblauch-Scharf or just plain “Alles”). I additionally make use of the extra-spicy chili flakes, then take out the spiciness by drowning the sandwich in lemon juice which is readily available at the tables.
It’s not a fancy sandwich. The ingredients aren’t magical, and the mix of meat in bread with some condiments and tomato – I mean, it’s basically a burger. But it’s not. It’s really special in its perfect execution, which is something I’d like to see done more in Berlin generally. Instead of overwhelming your product with more and more ingredients or specials that water the gist of it down, concentrate on perfecting what you’ve got.
This is why you won’t find much more than the Köfte sandwich at Konak Grill. There’s the vegetarian Halloumi alternative, but to be honest, I never felt tempted to try it. The grill is always full, especially in the summer months during the after hours of the night. You order your Köfte and drink, get a number and wait til it’s your turn, which can sometimes take half an hour or even longer. And still: it’s worth it.