• Brett Myers

Hasir (Kreuzberg)

The restaurant that started the Aygün brothers' Berlin restaurant empire. Hasir serves a wide range of traditional Turkish fare, in addition to what is said, by some, to be the first Döner Kebap in the city.


My thoughts:

Among the many Döner Kebap origin stories, is that of Kreuzberg heavy-hitter, Hasir. As legend has it[1], Mehmet Aygün opened the first of the Hasir restaurants, of which there are eighteen, including a burger joint and an Italian restaurant, in 1978 at Adalbertstrasse 10, where he and his five brothers would eventually stuff traditional Turkish Döner meat into a soft flat bread, creating what we now know as the Döner Kebap. While the exact origin story of Döner is a bit murky—it is a meat preparation that has existed in Turkey for hundreds of years, if not longer, after all—Hasir’s staying power among Turkish eateries in Berlin is certainly a testament to the quality of its product.

Hasir’s #Dönerstack is entirely self-prepared, and the fatty, sizzling flesh that is cut from it is inarguably the strongest component of the restaurant’s well-known Döner Kebap. Like that of several of its in-the-same-league competitors, the Dönerfleisch at Hasir has a noticeable, albeit subtle, lamb flavor to it. The sauces, arguably the second most important component of any good Kebap, are certainly nothing to write home about and very much seem like an afterthought. Perhaps it was due to my witnessing an employee pouring it from a plastic tub labelled “Ketchup,” but the scharfe Soße, other than its mild heat, was hardly distinct from… well, ketchup. The Kräuter Soße seemed to consist of yoghurt that had been cut with mayo and mixed with dill, and did not vary drastically from your standard Kräuter sauce, while the presumably homemade Ayran lacked the salty, almost-cheesy character for which one orders Ayran.

I got the sense from my initial visit to Hasir that its Döner Kebap—that is, meat prepared using traditionally Turkish methods, stuffed into flatbread with sauces and vegetables, rendering it a distinctly Turkish-German creation—though likely one of Hasir’s most popular dishes, is probably not its magnum opus. Hasir serves a large menu’s worth of traditional Turkish dishes, some of which likely feature similarly high-quality meats, sans saccharine, mayo-laced sauces. Ultimately, Hasir falls into an elite tier of Berlin Dönerläden, if not for their longevity, for their thoughtfully-prepared, self-stacked Dönerfleisch. I absolutely intend to return to Hasir in the near future, just not for their Döner.

[1] Marcus, Imanuel. “Made in Berlin: The Best Doner Kebab on Earth.” The Berlin Spectator, The Berlin Spectator, 18 June 2020, berlinspectator.com/2020/05/26/made-in-berlin-the-best-doner-kebab-on-earth/.

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