Jägerheim Ützdorf – Hotel & Restaurant Liepnitzsee, Ützdorf, Germany
Berlin is surrounded by a region called Brandenburg. I wrote about it once already, please see this post: Philippsthal, Restaurant, Philippsthal. Brandenburg boasts beautiful nature but from a culinary perspective, it is somewhat barren. Because of the beauty of the land, it is certainly worth leaving Berlin once in a while to enjoy pure nature.
After a recent walk around the Liepnitzsee (a lake to the north of Berlin) I passed an inn with a very simply but plausible name: Hotel & Restaurant Liepnitzsee.
In the past I had a hot chocolate with the kids there after another winter walk. Until now it had never occurred to me to have lunch or dinner there. Not only due to the wrong timing of my visits, but simply because this location doesn’t look promising in terms of food! Although the building has been renovated once in the last 25 years, the owners managed to preserve the old and ugly GDR charm. Why?
Upon seeing the blackboard at the entrance of the inn, and that they were serving “Mufflongulasch” – mouflon (a kind of wild sheep) goulash – I spontaneously decided to risk it. I was hungry and this one dish sparked my curiosity. Meat of this animal is encountered seldom and is special. For sure, most of their usual guests would likely avoid this dish, or avoid the place on such a day, preferring Cordon Bleu or pork Schnitzel with french fries or Knödel (bread dumplings).
The inside of the inn is rustic. Single diners are not terribly welcome since all the tables seat a minimum of four people. I made the rather medium-tempered host even more unhappy (and unfriendly) because I had only a credit card with me for payment. Knowing that paying with credit card can be challenging — just 15 km outside of Berlin, I inquired about this even before ordering. She nodded.
After fifteen minutes or so, I got my mouflon goulash along potato dumplings and red cabbage!
It was very very good! Really wonderful: flavorsome and aromatically spiced, just enough to let the special but marvelous taste of mouflon meat shine through. It was not too dense or tough, the cooked meat had the perfect consistency. This was clearly not an experiment but a very solid preparation: juniper berries, caraway, and onions plus additional ingredients typical for the region. I am sure that it must be local meat, from some farmer around the corner or maybe even of their own breeding (there is a smaller area with mouflons, sheep, rabbits and other “house” animals right across the road). Aside from the little bone I bit into, this dining experience was a really highlight. And a lesson learned: be careful about judging the quality of the food according to the look or architecture of the building! Although I’m quite sure that most of the dishes – to be honest – are not as good. I’m guessing that the dumplings and red cabbage were not homemade.
Still enthusiastic about the quality of goulash, I ordered an espresso and the bill. The charm of the waitress and wateriness of the espresso brought me back to real life in Brandenburg: “Oh, I am truly sorry that I liked your dish and also sorry that I can only pay by credit card.” I even said, “Please add a €4 tip on top” – thinking that maybe her mood would improve. No! “We cannot take tips off the credit card,” she said. “Why not?” “Because.” All right, I hope very much she forwarded my compliments to the chef as I asked her to do. He really deserved it, and I hope for his sake as much as for mine that he continues to be brave and occasionally prepares local dishes that honor the name “Jägerheim Ützdorf” (hunting lodge Ützdorf) — which is the real name of the place if you look for it on the internet . Out in front there is only the above mentioned name: Hotel & Restaurant Liepnitzsee. However here is the webpage: http://www.hotel-am-liepnitzsee.de