“I can put you on the waiting list – could you walk around and come back in around 30 minutes?” the waitress asks. The restaurant space of Shiso Burger in Berlin Mitte is too small and cramped to wait, and there's already a crowd of half a dozen people waiting to even be put on the waiting list.
It is 3 pm and we had not expected the popular burger joint to be at its busiest (but maybe in the evening they have to close the waiting list altogether?), but there are galleries and shops nearby to pass the freezing afternoon until the appointed time.
When we come back it takes another 5 minutes before we are parked neatly into a tiny slot near the entrance: We have to draw the small table into the aisle, arrange Natascha and our coats and bags on the bench and push the table back towards her. The next table is less than 10 cm away, and nearly all the other customers are foreign tourists.
We order edamame as a starter, the two vegetarian burger options, veggie burger and toad burger, and a home-made shiso lemonade.
The edamame arrive quickly and are, like everything at Shiso Burger's, nicely arranged in a bamboo steaming basket. Much better than the paper or plastic dishes and forks at some other burger restaurants.
The edamame, Japanese green beans, are tasty and have a lot of extra salt on top. But to our disappointment the shiso lemonade does not contain any shiso at all. The name of the restaurant, Shiso Burger, it turns out, has no bearing on the ingredients of the dishes as we had assumed. Actually there is only one burger on the menu – the shiso burger – that according to the description contains a shiso leaf (a very fragrant Japanese leafy herb).
We have finished the edamame when finally the burgers arrive. From our place we could see them being prepared in batches of 10 or 12 and the buns in our batch are a bit burned on top, which impacts the smell and in the case of the toad burger also the taste of the burger. The toad burger has a large champignon instead of the burger patty, and blue cheese as a main ingredient. Unfortunately the blue cheese intensifies the burned notes and the whole burger tastes almost charred – and not at all of blue cheese, let alone portobello mushroom. And there's way too much mayonnaise and ketchup in it. Isa's clear verdict is "never again", while Natascha finds the toad burger bearable.
Natascha is more content with her veggie burger. The patty is firm and quite tasty, and the bun is fluffy and crisp. It also drips ketchup and mayonnaise and is a little too oily.
We both cannot confirm the view that the burgers at Shiso burger are particularly light (as we had read beforehand), but then we can't comment on the meat versions, except that they appeared rather small – which makes them “light,” we guess.
Shiso Burger's staff was probably the best part of the whole experience: they were very efficient, friendly and easy-going.
Our conclusion: Neither the atmosphere nor the food were worth the price, or the time and effort of eating there. Obviously this statement applies to the two vegetarian burgers we tried there.
Auguststr. 29 c in Berlin/ Mitte
030 88944687 (they do accept reservations by phone)
Read also other (vegetarian/ vegan) burger reviews on Westwards:
Burgers at “Glück to go!” in Berlin