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Sourdoughs as plump and heavy as vespa tires. Bread rolls that echo like a perfectly ripe melon when you tap them with your fingers. Loafs with crusts so crispy and sharp they almost cut your fingers when you touch them. What sounds like any bread aficionado’s fairytale is everyday reality at “Zeit für Brot”, the bakery chain that’s scaled this kind of bread craft into three locations since 2012 .

“The Berlin equivalence to the Big Mac index is the “Schrippen-Index”

The realty of baking in Germany today is a grim one, because while there still surely are glimpses of artisanal baking being practised around the country, the main urban centres have been flooded with industrial bakery chains that sacrificed any reference to quality thinking a long time ago for the sake of pressing prices to the bare minimum. The Berlin equivalence to the Big Mac index is the “Schrippen-Index”, a law of nature, where the price for the classic bread roll diminishes the further you venture out from the city centre, reaching prices that are as low as five cent per roll.

“The concept of Zeit für Brot is easily described: High quality, freshly baked sourdough bread. No additives. No bullshit”

Zeit für Brot has in the course of the last decade not only emerged as a bastion against the bake-off Schrippe, but really as the bakery benchmark that’s proved how artisanal baking on a larger scale is possible without sacrificing on quality. The first Zeit für Brot might have started in Frankfurt (in 2009), but it was in Berlin that the bakery chain rose to true fame. Today Zeit für Brot has three shops in the capital and one in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Cologne, all of which operate 100% autonomously as all the bread is baked in-house at every location. The concept of Zeit für Brot is easily described: High quality, freshly baked sourdough bread. No additives. No bullshit. Just good, honest bread.

Every bakery offers over two dozen varieties of sourdough bread, like loafs with names like “Bergsteiger”, “Körnerkruste” and “Roggenbauer” to smaller rolls with poppy or sunflower seeds. They are all heavy and crusty like a real bread should be, made from organic produce exclusively, and if you’re lucky you’ll get one of the loafs fresh from the oven.

“Yes, they are insanely rich and sweet, but damn, are they good.”

As for many others, my own, very first encounter with Zeit für Brot came in the form of a butter-drenched pastry. We’re talking about the prime reason people line up at Zeit für Brot: Their infamous cinnamon rolls, whose sweet aroma linger across every shop as temptation in its purest form. If you happen to find yourself in a situation where you ask yourself “Are they really that good?”, I can assure you that every minute spent in a Zeit für Brot line will be made up in the form of pure pastry pleasure when you tuck into one of the buns. And this comes from a Sweden, the motherland of the cinnamon bun cult. Yes, they are insanely rich and sweet, but damn, are they good. And as the classic cinnamon bun really just is a gateway drug to heavier opioids such as Peanut Butter & Jam and White Chocolate & Rhubarb, there is a always a new bun to discover.

The gateway function of the sweet rolls also extends to the rest of the offering, like the very solid Zeit für Brot breakfast. The bakeries are a great place to start the day, either with a müsli or with a “Stulle”, the German sandwich where deli meats and cheese are squeezed in between two slices of Sourdough bread alongside greens. The Stulle in the school lunch box is what gets German kids through childhood and at Zeit für Brot they are made freshly every day, so get here early for a “Käsestulle” and a cup of excellent coffee made from Andraschko beans.

“…the classic cinnamon bun is really just is a gateway drug to heavier opioids such as Peanut Butter & Jam..”

To say that Zeit für Brot is Berlin’s best bakery chain would be true, yet an understatement. It is really one of the best bakeries full stop – a respectable achievement considering the scale of their production. Yes, you pay more for this bread, but it’s far from expensive. The unparalleled success of the project shows that dedication to quality and larger scale baking is possible without compromises in terms of quality. Zeit für Brot is a bakery for everyone, be it the tourist who’s heard tales about heavenly cinnamon buns or the Berliner who’s looking to buy some solid loafs of bread or a snack. It’s the benchmark all larger bakeries should strive towards.

The post Zeit für Brot appeared first on Berlin Food Stories.

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Ice cream is a big thing in Berlin and there are not many cities that offer a greater and wider selection of quality ice cream and gelato shops. Every summer the demand for the icy delights explodes and all the omnipresent cones bobbing in front of Berliners’ mouths can be summed up with Berlin’s very own mathematical equation (one which is a true as Pythagoras theorem here): BERLIN + SUN = ICE CREAM.

For the 2018 update there have been some significant changes, among other things, two of Berlin’s finest Gelato institutions closed their doors (Anna Durkes and Giorgio Lombardi) but were luckily replaced by two other, exceptional gelato producers.

“Ice cream is a big thing in Berlin and there are not many cities that offer a greater and wider selection of quality ice cream and gelato shops”

People get very serious when it comes to the question of where to find the best ice cream in Berlin. My consumption of Berlin’s various churned and frozen creations is every bit as tedious and ridiculous as my other eating excursions, but to get a full picture of the city of ice cream is virtually impossible. Ranking “American style” ice cream against Gelato (I highly recommend reading up on the differences, they really are two different things) is as complicated as it is controversial, but I think it’s possible to compare the craft and care of ingredients. Rest assured though, all the shops on this list are exceptional.

“A gift from me to all you fellow ice-cream worshippers (with a cherry on top) to make the most out of every Berlin summer.”

Now that we’re all enjoying the crap out of our beloved, sun-soaked Berlin, I’m happy to present 16 exceptional shops in Berlin who, to me, represent the very best ice cream you’ll find in Berlin right now. So my fellow ice-cream worshippers, without further ado, behold the very best way to make the most out of the Berlin summer.

SPECIAL MENTION #1: Paul Möhring

This “gourmet soft serve shop” opened its doors in 2017 promising “Tradition” and “Wahnsinn” with its funky and high-end soft serve creations such as “The Salty Dude”, featuring vanilla ice cream dipped in caramel sauce, hazelnut brittle and sea salt. The ingredients used are top notch and the crew keeps on developing new flavour combinations (rumours say caramelized bacon is featured on a new creation). Check out their soft serve brioche pockets.

Price per scoop (for specials): 3,50 – 4,10€

Oranienburger Str. 84
10178 Berlin

Website – Map

SPECIAL MENTION #2. Woop Woop

Not all ice creams are created equal. A fact cemented by Woop Woop’s icy treats which are whipped in front of your eyes in less than 30 seconds. The secret? Liquid nitrogen which shock-cools the component ingredients into the most intensely rich hit of ice cream you’re likely to experience. The resulting taste is so extreme in fact, it’s sometimes more like ganache in texture and density. After having tweaked the recipe over the winter, most of the flavours are sensational today. Expect Vanilla, Salted Caramel & Popcorn in the summer and booze-infused delights during the long winter months, the latter only made possible through the shock-freezing process – Woop Woop is the coolest ice cream show in Berlin.

Price per scoop: 3,80€

Rosenthaler Str. 3
10119 Berlin

Website – Map

14. Süßfein Berlin

New in the Mitte ice cream market is Süßfein Berlin. A super cute shop on Brunnenstr. which opened in May. Although their Pistachio flavour (which comes with marzipan and nougat) left me with questions, elsewhere their walnut ice cream is pretty tasty, and they also have a tangy Lemon Tart flavour. The classics here all cost 1,40€ but you’ll need to pay 0.20 more for the ‘premium’ flavours, which is mostly worth it.

Price per scoop: 1,40€ (+0,20 for ‘prime’ flavours)

Brunnenstr. 156
10115 Berlin

Website – Map

13. Eisbox

Eisbox is a tiny ice cream place hidden on a quiet street of Moabit with a reputation for making high quality and organic ice cream in a lot of funky flavours. The Chocolate – usually made with goats milk and salt – sits next to creations such as Tonka Bean and Lime Rosemary. Or why not try Saffron ice cream, made with so much saffron that they sell it separately by the gram? While some flavours occasionally go to far, in the end the Eisbox ice cream is very solid and definitely worth a detour.

Price per scoop: 1,50-2,50€

Elberfelder Str. 27
10555 Berlin
Website – Map

12. Die Eismacher

Die Eismacher is a classic Berlin ice cream institution in southern Kreuzberg famous for its bright purple Ube flavoured ice cream that’s made with the purple yam and coconut cream. Other interesting flavours are Pandan Nut and Mint-Pineapple but none of them really reach the quality of the Ube. This place is a good destination for some solid scoops of ice cream.

Price per scoop: 1€ (cheapest)

Körtestraße 10
10967 Berlin
Website – Map

11. Vanille & Marille

Using only 100% natural ingredients, Vanille Marille is friendly neighbourhood ice cream parlour with five different outlets all over Berlin. Ice creams of the month are always worth checking out and in the past they’ve included exotic varieties such as Havanna Poppyseed and Caribbean Guava. Flavours are a little on the subtle side at times, though their Wild Blueberry is the perfect tartness and silky as hell with a lacquered finish like no other. Their Indian Mango looks like a pot of pure golden sunshine as well.

Price per scoop: 1,40€ – 1,60€

Website – Locations: Kreuzberg Mehringdamm | Kreuzberg Am SchlesiSchönebergSteglitzTempelhof

10. Rosa Canina

If Raspberry & Basil and Pineapple & Sage don’t scream summer at you, then you might be lost cause. And they’re just two of the delicious and highly interesting flavour combos the Rosa Canina guys have on offer. They’ve got three shops in Berlin, perhaps my favourite thing about their Markthalle joint is the chug of vodka they add to their divine Moscow Mule flavour if you ask nicely. Another favourite is the black sesame flavour. Although Rosa Canina loose a few points when it comes to texture, flavour creations from these guys are always interesting and well thought through.

Price per scoop: 1,40€

Website – Locations: Prenzlauer Berg Hufeland Str. | Markthalle Neun (Kreuzberg) | Prenzlauer Berg Greifswalder Str.

09. Nunzio

Sometimes all you want is a solid scoop of homemade ice cream – free of extravagance. Nunzio dessert cafe in Steglitz is your go-to in these exact times for classic flavours such as Strawberry, Pistachio and Chocolate executed in insanely satisfyingly ways. The more inventive flavours such as Green Tea and Lemon can be a little hit and miss – but these guys are definitely worth the experimentation if you’re in the area. Also good to note: Nunzio also supplies Prenzlauer Berg’s cute Cookies & Cream shop with ice cream. Here you can pick one of the shop’s many home-baked cookie flavours and order a made-to-measure ice cream sandwich. The cookies are a little hard baked, making the eating process a little tricky. But hey, it’s a fun battle.

Price per scoop: 1,40€

Muthesiusstraße 1
12163 Berlin

FacebookMap

08. Oak and Ice

Definitely one of the ruling champions of dairy-free ice cream in Berlin; the fruit content in Oak & Ice sorbets is so high even non-vegans would be hard pressed to fault them on their flavour. There are also an abundance of sugar-free ice creams (the dark chocolate flavour is sensational) and gluten-free options (hello, ice cream sandwiches!) on their vast menu as well as Polish flavours (owners are Polish), but don’t worry if you’re a purist; Oak & Ice’s more traditional scoops also make the grade. Look out for flavours including Smoked Cheese; Carrot; Rhubarb, Beetroot & Apple; and – especially refreshing on hot days – Pure Mint. A disclaimer: This is the only shop on the list that doesn’t make their own ice cream, they buy it from a manufacturer in Poland.

Price per scoop:  1,50€

Schönhauser Allee 52
10437 Berlin

WebsiteMap

07. Fräulein Frost

True to their reputation of as one of the most creative ice cream producers with the largest amount of flavours, on my last visit to Fräulein Frosts shop in Kreuzkölln shop I ordered the outrageous combination Gu-Zi-Mi (cucumber, lemon and mint) together with their Carrot – Orange flavour upon a recommendation and was very pleasantly surprised by how well it all all worked together. Let’s talk about that Gu-Zi-Mi: the mint is zingy, the cucumber cooling and god knows what the lemon does to your taste buds, but they sure go ballistic. For ice cream that packs a punch this is your place, with very modest prices as well.

Price per scoop: 1,20€

Website – Locations: Bergmannkiez | Kreuzberg | Friedenau

06. Waffel oder Becher

Handmade, artisanal ice cream that’s experienced a serious makeover. From not making the list at all last year to sailing up to the top five due to vastly improved recipes and better quality thinking, Waffel und Becher offers their extraordinary creamy ice cream creations from their two locations in Mitte. Look out for the incredible salty caramel and one of the best scoops of pistachio in the city.

Price per scoop: 1,70€

WebsiteLocations: MitteHackescher Höfe

05. Chipi Chipi Bombón

If Sweet Potato or Dulce de Leche flavours don’t grab your attention, then I’m not sure what will. Argentinians claim they make better gelato than the Italians and this shop is your chance to investigate this claim. This new shop in Friedrichshain’s Warschauer Straße has South American flavours running throughout its operation (as evidenced by..

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Dear Reader,

May is all about celebrating summer vibes and sipping on wine, which is exactly why it’s time for RAW Wine Fair. It kicks off this weekend and promises to be one hell of a wine freak-out session as 150 of the world’s most interesting artisanal/low-intervention wine makers gather at Markthalle Neun on May 13th – May 14th.

Apart from that, my beloved side-project and home of the greatest food tales on the planet, Finest Food Stories, is finally taking shape with some stellar To Eat guides compiled by food friends from across the globe. Make sure you’re following for the best guides on where to eat in Lisbon, Hong Kong, Moscow, Warsaw and more…

ps. Don’t forget, you can sign up to the newsletter to get extras in your inbox every month!

#HOTFOODNEWS

Capperi
Kreuzberg’s canal-side sweet spot, May am Ufer, has joined forces with a Sicilian produce importer and natural wine importer to form Capperi, the new Italian wine bar that’s sprung up on Pannierstr.

Kaffee Ingwer
If you’re a fan of The Green Market’s vegan lifestyle vibes then you’ll love their new 100% vegan cafe on Wühlischstr. in Friedrichshain.

The Poutine Kitchen
Calling all Canadians! “The first authentic poutine in Germany” has landed slap bang in the middle of Moabit’s Arminushalle offering everything from the “Quebec Classic” to a “Heart Attack” version of the cheesy, gravy covered dish.

Stone Brewing Tap Room
Good news if you’ve never managed to make it all the way out to Mariendorf’s Stone Brewing brewery, they’ve just opened a new tap room and kitchen on Prenzlauer Berg’s Oderbergerstr.

Zola
BIG NEWS! From now on there’s a second Zola venue open at Funkhaus Berlin, serving awesome pizza every day from 12:00-18:00 and longer on event evenings. It’s a pretty magical location to enjoy a slice and a sundowner in.

GOSSIP

Rutz
Rutz has appointed its first female sommelier in the form of Nancy Großmann who takes over the reigns from Alexander Seiser at the double Michelin-starred restaurant and wine bar.

Nobelhart & Schmutzig
From May 3rd, the restaurant’s ten-course menu will cost 120€ from Thu to Sat, but only 95€ on Tue & Wed in an experiment against the challenges of running a fine dining enterprise on quieter nights. And elsewhere, sommelier and owner, Billy Wagner, has teamed up with artist collective, Vulvae, to challenge naturalism in art and food by offering, wait for it… edible vagina casts as sweets. And he’s also hosting an art exhibition. Read more about their plans here.

CLOSING!
The sad news this month is that Markthalle Neun’s Rødder has served its last Smørrebrød as the Scandinavian concept proved a bit too complex for German palettes. Elsewhere, The Pit confirmed it’s BBQ Wagyu brisket is a thing of the past as it also closes its doors on Kreuzberg’s Reichenberger Str.

Palsta
Palsta is a new natural wine-oriented bar & shop opening on Schillerkiez that will also serve small dishes inspired by the Nordic kitchen. Doors open in summer, but keep an eye on their event pop-ups until then.

Contemporary Food Lab
From July 2018 onwards, Berlin’s mighty CFL crew will be providing the gastronomic program inside Gropius Bau‘s iconic building. Amidst all the classy architecture watch out for an exciting new café and catering concept.

Goldies
Congratulations to the Kreuzberg chippie’s recent ‘Gastronomy Concept of the Year’ win at Rolling Pin’s publicly-voted for awards.

Annelies
Distrikt Coffee has found a Kreuzberg home at what used to be Gipfel on Görlitzer Str. Primarily a breakfast and lunch venue, Annelies also offers a menu of local, seasonal produce as well as a selection of curated wines from Naked.

Ernst
Congratulations to the Ernst boys who were recently awarded “Best New Restaurant in Europe” at Opinionated About Dining‘s celebration of Europe’s best restaurants. They boys debuted on the list at number 62 and continue to put Berlin on the world map of food.

Mogg & Khwan
Finishing on high note this month with the heart-warming news that Mogg owner, Paul, has joined Khwan as a partner making sure the Thai BBQ’s unsteady future looks a damn sight more secure. Expect some exciting new future concepts coming from this glorious union.

#BERLINFOODEVENTS

May 2018

Sunday 13th & Monday 14th: RAW WINE Berlin
Thursday 24th: Volt & CODA Dinner Crawl
Sunday May 27th: Natty in Paris at Briefmarken Wine
Monday May 28th: Fünf at BRLO Brewhouse

#OURPARTNER

Telekom Electronic Beats Podcast 
This new Berlin podcast covers the exciting and multi-faceted stories of our city’s nightlife protagonists and its recent episode with Cookie of Cookies Cream and Crackers restaurant fame had me hooked during recent travels. In it, Cookie talks through his personal path from legendary club owner to Michelin Star restaurateur. Listen to this episode and more.

The post Berlin Food Digest #27 appeared first on Berlin Food Stories.

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Thank the wine gods, the RAW Wine fair is back! And for the very first time, the legendary wine weekend has been moved to a glorious Berlin spring week instead of one of our gloomy Siberian-style winter months, a great move which will guarantee a whole different vibe. This coming weekend will mark the fourteenth edition of  RAW WINE and the anticipation and warmer weather have ensured a bigger-than-ever interest in the event which will gather 150 of the world’s most acclaimed low-intervention/natural and artisanal wine makers under one roof at Markthalle Neun on Sunday, May 13th and Monday, May 14th.

“..150 of the world’s most acclaimed low-intervention/natural and artisanal wine makers under one roof at Markthalle Neun..”

As ever, in order to be able to exhibit at RAW, the producers and wine growers in attendance have all had to adhere to strict entrance criteria. Many of these wines feature on the lists of the world’s best restaurants and many come with cult followings. As controversial as the natural wine topic might be right now, one thing is impossible to deny: These producers are true artisans, their wines an intensely honest reflection of their terroirs and their wine making processes a benchmark for treating our planet correctly..

“Some of the city’s best food and drink venues have joined forces with winemaker and wine shops and put together a RAW-celebration of epic proportions”

Maybe it’s because of the long break, or maybe it’s because of Berlin’s ever increasing interest in artisanal wines, either way I’m pretty damned excited for this weekend of stellar satellite events happening all around Berlin and you feel a buzzing excitement around the food scene. Some of the city’s best food and drink venues have joined forces with winemakers and wine shops and put together a RAW-celebration of epic proportions, often in close collaboration with the winemakers themselves, offering unique opportunities to meet these people in real life.  There are plenty of VERY interesting happenings from Monday onwards, behold the full run down on everything that’s going on, and when. And if in doubt on where to go for a glass, make sure to swing by BFS’s favourite natural wine spots like St. Bart, Michelberger, JaJa, Wagner, Lode & Stijn, MINE, Cordobar or the Unfiltered popup at Barkin Kitchen.

CATCH YOU IN THE FUMES!

RAW WINE BERLIN

Sunday May 13th and Monday May 14th
10:00 – 18:00 (both days)
Markthalle Neun, Eisenbahnstr. 42, 10997 Berlin
Buy Tickets

—————————————

SATELLITE EVENTS
#rawwineweek Monday 7th May

Wein & Glas Compagnie
A whole week dedicated to the wines of Judith Beck from Weingut Beck (Austria)
Mon-Fri: 10:00 – 18:30 | Sat: 9:30 to 16:00
Wein & Glas Compagnie, Prinzregentenstraße 2, 10717 Berlin
More information

Tuesday 8th May

 LA DI DA DI Wine
Blind tasting of 6 natural wines with Florian Flux Tonello & Jan Hugel.
18:00 – 20:00
Markthalle Nuen, Eisenbahnstr. 42, 10997 Berlin
More information

Nobelhart & Schmutzig
Serving mature vintages of some of the bottles you’ll find at RAW by the glass, all week long, within normal service.
Tues – Sat: 18:30 – 02:00
Nobelhart & Schmutzig, Friedrichstraße 218, 10969 Berlin
More information

Wednesday 9th May

Cantine Sant’Ambroeus
Exploring the Sicilian Nero d’Avola grape through a variety of different natural wines.
18:00 – 20:00
Markthalle Neun, Eisenbahnstr. 42, 10997 Berlin
More information

Hammers Weinkostbar
A small wine tasting with 6 producers and snacks. 35€.
19:00 – 21:00
Körtestr. 20, 10967 Berlin
More information

Babbo Bar
Marco Marocco from Palazzo Tronconi will present three different wines alongside three typical dishes from Latium. 30€.
19:00 – 23:00
Donaustr. 103, 12043 Berlin
More information

Ottorink Weinbar
A selection of different natural wines from wine makers present at the RAW as well as wines from winemakers who couldn’t make it this year.
May 9-15th from 18:00 onwards eachday
Ottorink weinbar, Dresdener Str. 124, 10999, Berlin
More information

Friday 11th May

Sinnes Freude
Four course Japanese menu paired with five Orange wines from Austria, Italy and Slovenia. 89€
19:00 – 22:00
More Information

Saturday 12th May

JAJA Wine
RAW pre-party with lottery to win a Magnum bottle.
18:30 – 01:00
Weichselstr. 7, 12043 Berlin
More information

Hammers Weinkostbar
A wine tasting with Stefan Vetter including all wines, water, bread, cold cuts and cheese. 49€.
19:00 – 22:00
Körtestr. 20, 10967 Berlin
More information

Rises Delicacies
Three Greek wines alongside authentic Greek food cooked by Mrs Valli. 5€
18:00 – 21:00
Veteranen Str. 25, 10119 Berlin
More information

Weinhandlung Suff
The RAW warm up! Weinhandlung Suff will be presenting a few of their producers and showcasing their wines in an informal tasting.
15:00 – 18:00
Markthalle Neun, Eisenbahnstr. 42, 10997 Berlin
More information

Naturales WeinBar
Spanish natural wines from Esencia Rural, Vinos Ambiz and Montse Mora alongside tapas and DJs.
12:00 – 22:00
Friedelstrasse 30, 12047 Berlin
More information

Cordobar
Tasting with Craig Hawkins from Testalonga Wines, South Africa.
19:00 – 23:00
Cordobar, Große Hamburger Straße 32, 10115 Berlin
More information

Viniculture
Tasting with Stefan Vetter and Bianka & Daniel Schmitt who’ll be pouring their Riesling, Sylvaner and Müller Naturgau wines.
12:00 – 18:00
Viniculture, Grolmanstraße 44-45, 10623 Berlin
More information

Nobelhart & Schmutzig
Menu from Micha Schäfer, wines from the “legends” Dard & Ribo, moderation by Joachim Christ & Francois Ribo, service from Johannes Schellhorn and Billy Wagner. 255€.
19:00 – 00:00
Nobelhart & Schmutzig, Friedrichstraße 218, 10969 Berlin
More information

Platz doch!
Four course menu with paired wines from Franz and Christina Strohmeier’s vineyard. 59€.
19:00 – 22:00
Platz doch, Manteuffelstrasse 48, 10999 Berlin
More information

Wagner Cocktail Bistro
100% all natural ciders from Sweden’s Fruktstereo and friends
13:00 – 18:00
Wagner Cocktail Bistro, Paul-Lincke-Ufer 22, 10999 Berlin
More information

Sunday 13th May

Viniculture
SAW · Sophisticated Artisanal Wines. Viniculture presents four producers at the top of their ‘natural’ game. 10€ (incl food).
14:00 – 20:00
Kumpel & Keule – Speisewirtschaft, Skalitzer Straße 97, 10997 Berlin
More information

Unfiltered Wine
Unfiltered wines have drafted in some friends to pour wines and play some tunes right around the corner from Markthalle Neun.
16:00 – 23:30
Barkin’ Kitchen, Glogauer Str. 7, 10999 Berlin
More information

einsunternull
A selection of fine natural wines available at a special price along with a la carte snacks and the chance to meet some RAW producers.
18:00 – 23:30
Restaurant einsunternull, Hannoversche Str. 1, 10115 Berlin
More information

JAJA
Drinks and tastings with producers who represent the new generation of German winemakers including  2NaturkinderWeingut Brand and Ökologisches Weingut Schmitt
18:30 – 1:00
JAJA, Weichselstraße 7, 12043 Berlin
More information

Cordobar
The big Jura blow out – a celebration of JURA rarities alongside coq au Vin, French Comté cheese and good music.
19:00 – 1:00
Cordobar, Grosse Hamburger Str. 32, 10115 Berlin
More information

MINE/WINE
Discounted four course menu for all RAW participants alongside a carefully curated wine list and generous BYOB policy with no corkage fee. 45€.
17:30 – 23:30
MINE/WINE, Meinekestraße 10, 10719 Berlin
More information

Wagner Cocktail Bistro
Ladidadiwines welcomes winemakers Franz Strohmeier and Michael Gindl for a tasting on the Wagner Cocktail Bistro terrace.
19:00 – 21:00
Wagner Cocktail Bistro, Paul-Lincke-Ufer 22, 10999 Berlin
More information

Lode & Stijn
Natural wine dinner with specially created menu, and wines from Weinhandlung Suff. Price includes all food, drinks, wine and cheese. 130€.
19:00 – 23:30
Lode & Stijn, Lausitzer Str. 25, 10999 Berlin
More information

St.Bart
Sunday Roast Dinner with Austro-Hungarian wine list. At least five wines open from each winemaker plus some surprise Magnums.
18:00 – 00:00
St.Bart, Graefestraße 71, 10967 Berlin
More information

Monday 14th May

The Michelberger
Food from London’s Legs restaurant and wines from Foradori. Legs-style snacks and plates to share plus matched wines €65.
19:00 – 23:00
Michelberger Hotel, Warschauer Straße 39/40, 10234 Berlin
More information

MINE/WINE
Discounted four course menu for all RAW participants alongside a carefully curated wine list and generous BYOB policy with no corkage fee. 45€.
17:30 – 23:30
MINE/WINE, Meinekestraße 10, 10719 Berlin
More information

JAJA
A closing party to RAW Berlin with Camille Fourmont from Paris’ La Buvette and Solfinn Danielsen, owner of the wine shop Rødder & Vin in Copenhagen.
18:30 – 23:30
JAJA, Weichselstraße 7, 12043 Berlin
More information

Motif Wine
Meet the winemakers Johannes Zillinger and Michael Wenzel, taste their wines and enjoy tacos from Tlaxcalli.
18:00 – 00:00
Motif Wine, Weserstraße 189, 12045 Berlin
More information

Herz & Niere
Craig Hawkins from Testalonga will be pouring wines alongside other producers. Wines from 18:00 – 22:00. Dinner from 18:00 – 21:00.
18:00 – 22:00
Herz & Niere, Fichtestraße 31, 10967 Berlin
More information

RAW 2015 at Markthalle Neun

The post RAW WINE 2018 appeared first on Berlin Food Stories.

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Escapism might seem like the most plausible cause for a Michelin-star trained chef to open a restaurant 90 minutes car drive North of Berlin in an ancient farm house – especially since urban escape most certainly will the the reason you’ll find your way through the forests of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to Forsthaus Strelitz. For Wenzel Pankratz himself, the friendly chef giant with the deep voice and massive afro who thrones 2 meters above his human peers, the move to Neustrelitz was, however, merely a return to his natural habitat. Pankratz (or Wenzel, as everyone calls him) grew up in this area and after years of high end cooking in high-end restaurants (Facil, Esszimmer etc.) and helping with the start of Crackers in Berlin, the move back to Neustrelitz was for him, more than anything else, a possibility to set up shop in a comfort zone while still catering to an urban target group.

“…the friendly chef giant with the deep voice and massive afro who thrones 2 meters above his human peers”

Forsthaus Strelitz is an old estate from the early 1900’s that Pankratz parents acquired back in 1998. The parents ran the restaurant and the attached farm as a casual affair for over a decade with Wenzel’s dad in the kitchen before the 24-year old junior seized the helm of this operation together with his sister in 2015. Together as a family they realized their vision of a modern and self-sustaining countryside inn, complete with 8 comfortable yet fiercely minimalistic guest rooms.

“Forsthaus Strelitz is an old estate from the early 1900’s that Pankratz parents acquired back in 1998.”

Staying the night at Forsthaus Strelitz is not necessary, yet highly recommended; this is a restaurant best experienced in full immersion, and this means exploring the area as much as being woken up by the farm rooster for Wenzel’s breakfast. The surrounding area is stunning with one lake after the other, so driving out early and grabbing lunch in the area is highly recommended, for example at one of the nearby fish smokers like Glut & Späne in Gerswalde (formerly of Markthalle Neun) or Fischerei Stechlinsee in Neuglobsow.

After your smoked fish lunch it you can enjoy the open fireplace in your room before you indulge in the estate “mini-bar”, a funk little room with juices, local beers and Jura champagne. And then, before you know it, it will be time for dinner in the main house. Here Wenzel dictates the pace behind his massive, wood-fired stove, an ancient piece of equipment that he reanimated when he took over the kitchen. Using this beast exclusively, Wenzel and sous chef now cook 6-course menus for the 25 guests that visit his restaurant four days a week.

“.. this is a restaurant best experienced in full immersion, and this means exploring the area as much as being woken up by the farm rooster for Wenzel’s breakfast”

Food at Forsthaus Strelitz is first and foremost a showcase of the rich bounty and harvest of the estate itself, mostly vegetables and meats (they keep chickens, lambs, pork and ducks). The rest is sourced from trusted suppliers in the area or around the country, regionalism is not pursued on a dogmatic level, but applied cunningly where it makes sense in terms of quality. Dishes arrive surprisingly swiftly, without much explanation, but then again the food really also speaks for itself.

A slow-cooked “landei” is covered in browned butter, a piece of pickled plum and raw carp, after that poached cod is served with fermented tomatoes and nettles. Two dishes that are visually underwhelming (to say the least) but that caress your palate in a way that will inevitably create high levels of comfort and well-being. Don’t let the rudimentary plating on the food fool you – the food is perfectly cooked, remarkably understated and bloody delicious.

Evenings continue down that same path; slices of cooked lamb tongue are served in a rich celery broth, perfectly seared pigeon breast and heart with savoy cabbage dressed in sheep’s cream and a sunflower seed cream, all whilst throats are cooled with a very well-priced list of low-intervention wines supplied from Berlin’s Viniculture.

“Don’t let the rudimentary plating on the food fool you – the food is perfectly cooked, remarkably understated and bloody delicious.”

The absence of urban pace and sous vide machinery seem indeed to have turned Wenzel into an extraordinarily grounded and confident chef with a cooking style reminiscent of a meal at Nobelhart & Schmutzig, only less fine and a lot more comforting. And when the meal at Forsthaus Strelitz ends, you can only hope that you, like me, also get to seal the deal with seabuckthorn ice cream on milk cream. If not, I’m certain Wenzel will have adequate alternatives ready along with a lovely Bavarian Whisky liqueur on the rocks as a digestif.

However, in a true the best-is-yet-to-come manner, if you do choose to stay the night at Forsthaus Strelitz, make sure you prepare yourself for the grande finale a la Wenzel Pankratz on the following morning: His hand-cooked breakfast, a scrumptious selection of charcuterie, eggs, freshly baked bread and handmade yoghurt, washed down with plenty of coffee and apple juice from the farm while the first rays of morning sun seek light up the dining room. Many lines could be written about the greatness of the breakfast, but let’s just leave it at something like “it’s the single greatest, German-style breakfast you’ll ever have”.

“Many lines could be written about the greatness of the breakfast, but let’s just leave it at something like “it’s the single greatest, German-style breakfast you’ll ever have”.”

Forsthaus Strelitz is a touching experience and one of the most relaxing urban escapes a Berliner can undertake, as long as you also leave your ego back home and don’t expect a fine dining meal. And bring your own shower soap (long story short: there is none). The understatement and comfort of the food remind me of some of my favourite places in Scandinavia and the produce understanding and lack of ego in his cooking make Wenzel one of the more interesting German chefs I’ve come across. The meal by itself easily compares to many of the best I had in Berlin the last years and in the context of spending the night and also having breakfast, this is truly one of the most inspiring food experiences you can have in Northern Germany.

Smoked trouts at Glut & Späne in Gerswalde Lunch tray at Glut & Späne in Gerswalde

Landei. Brown butter. Plum. Carp. Cod. Fermented tomato. Nettles. Celeriac soup. Lamb tongue. Pigeon. Savoy Cabbage. Sheep milk. Sunflower seed paste.

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Dear Reader,

Sorry for going quiet on you. We’ve been head-over-heels immersed in our very first NEU Dinner which dropped a gastronomic bomb on Berlin in the shape of a once-in-a-lifetime dinner at La Mifa Restaurant.
Apart from that, the start of 2018 has been a bumpy ride for food in Berlin I’m afraid. There’s a lot restructuring going on and we’ve lost a lot of great eating and drinking institutions as a result. BUT – there are little buds of hope springing up all over town, and for every sad closure there’s at least one great opening somewhere else. So here’s to Berlin’s bright new restaurant future, and to all its new projects. AND TO SPRING good lord, please!!

ps. Don’t forget, you can sign up to the newsletter to get extras in your inbox every month!

#HOTFOODNEWS

TOKI – The White Rabbit
This plant-based eatery on Kantstr. is the newest brainchild of Berlin restaurant king, Duc Ngo. Will he show us what a great health food eatery should be about? I have high hopes.

MontRaw
Promising “new Israeli food with a twist”, MontRaw on Prenzlauer Berg’s Straßburger Str. mixes everything in to create a Mediterranean fusion menu in a very stylish venue. First impression? Mixed feelings.

Schwein
Berlin’s very own restaurant tortoise packed up and left its Mitte home last year to move westwards to Mommsenstr. Let’s see if the new location maintains what was, previously, a high-end operation with some solid cooking.

MIMI
Hurrah! Berlin’s fermentation maestro, Markus Shimizu, has set up shop selling his own small-batch, artisanal miso, soy sauce, koji, tempeh and natto products which he makes right here in Berlin. Trust me when I say these are brilliant. Check him out on on Stephanstr.

The Dawg
Fresh from Michelin-star glory, Golvet‘s Björn Swanson has opened up a gourmet hot dog store inside Bikini Berlin. Alongside classic ‘dawgs’, Swanson’s menu also includes one option with an octopus sausage and the “Kim Jong Dawg”, which combines kimchi, coriander and soy mayo with a duck sausage.

Grand Tang Xi Yu
The one small silver lining of Imbiss 204‘s departure is the new Chinese joint that’s just opened in its place. Whilst we might all still weep for the bullettens of yesteryear the handmade noodles and Northern Chinese dishes at Xi Yu are SERIOUSLY good!

Arai
If there’s one thing certain to cheer me up it’s news of a new omakase restaurant just off Torstraße, decorated in the style of a traditional Japanese teahouse. It’s a gift to the city from the same chef/owner as Shiori and I’m already excited by the Chuka Ryori menu.

GOSSIP

CLOSING! (Part 1)
Oh god, so much sad news. Industry Standard is permanently closed as some serious management bust ups left the project in financial peril. Elsewhere, Cordobar‘s legendary Austrian sommelier, Willi Schlögl, has popped his last cork and handed over the position to a successor.

CLOSING! (Part 2)
And the bad news continues with confirmed reports that Buns Mobile are leaving Berlin for good; gelato goddess Anna Durkes has closed her doors permanently; and Briefmarken Weine will be sold to new owners. Let’s hope with the latter that the spirit of the best Italian wine bar is kept alive. Cheers to all these fine food people and thanks for all the food and drink you’ve served me throughout the years.

Weltrestaurant
The recent news that the Weltrestaurant in the Markthalle Neun will change its owners is, in my opinion, not the worst we’ve heard. Especially if the MH9 owners oversee the new concept.

Hermann’s
Andrea Iannicella (former sous chef of Dottir) is now head chef at Hermann’s on Torstr. That’s one spring menu I’m excited to sampling.

The Future Breakfast
As of the end of this month these guys will be fully operational on Neukölln’s Böhmische Str. cooking breakfasts strongly influenced by the Australian coffee culture and culinary scene.

St Bess
Good news for Wedding’s pizza fans! Opening on Sprengelstr. this month is this new joint serving small plates and pizzas in the style of contemporary Californian cuisine. Word on the street is the dough is cold fermented for two days before hitting the wood-burning oven.

#BERLINFOODEVENTS

March/April 2018

Thursday 29th March: Pair featuring I’m a Kombo at The Michelberger Restaurant
Sunday 1st April: Holy Geist! Easter Extravaganza at Geist im Glas
Monday 9th April: Wir brauchen dringend Personal! by The Food Entrepreneurs Club
Tuesday 10th April: La Mirande chez La Mifa at La Mifa Restaurant

The post BERLIN FOOD DIGEST #26 appeared first on Berlin Food Stories.

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Berlin Food Stories by Per - 2M ago

Once upon a time, in the early 1980’s, Meinekenstraße 10 was perhaps THE leading restaurant destination in all of Berlin. It was here that Henry Levy famously cooked his “Maitre” to two Michelin-star fame with his take on French haute cuisine. Three decades later, it seems that at least some of Levy’s magic has permeated the walls forever as the current tenants also are making a name for themselves that’s echoing way past the Charlottenburg West Berlin enclave.

We’re talking about MINE, the Italian restaurant of Aram Mnatsakanov and his son Mikhail, with Aram being the main protagonist in this story. You might not be familiar with his name, but with his four restaurants in St. Petersburg and soon-to-be-two in Moscow along with his tv-shows and long line of awards and accomplishments, he is easily one of the most famous characters of modern, Russian gastronomy.

“Three decades later, it seems that at least some of Levy’s magic has permeated the walls forever as the current tenants also are making a name for themselves that’s echoing way past the Charlottenburg West Berlin enclave.”

MINE is his first venture outside of Russia, and it was his Berlin-based son Mikhail that inspired Berlin as a location. A turn of fate caused them to abandon their original Kreuzberg plans and open up MINE in Charlottenburg, just a stone’s throw of the lavishly famous shopping street Kudamm.

The Mnatsakanovs are gastronomic professionals through and through and this is something you will notice with every minute you spend at MINE. The attention to detail spent on food and drink as well as service experience are only matched by the flawless design of the stunning restaurant space. Moroccan tiles line the floors, design wallpapers cover ceilings and walls and tilted mirrors above the seats create an intriguing sense of space along with unanticipated opportunities to spy on neighbours.MINE is nothing less than a designer’s wet dream with its hand-picked pieces of design furniture, among them a magnificent Aldotura bar cart that will make you green of envy, and one of the most beautiful bathrooms in the city.

“The Mnatsakanovs are gastronomic professionals through and through and this is something you will notice with every minute you spend at MINE.”

The answer to why Russians from St. Petersburg came to running a line of Italian restaurants can be found in the Armenian ancestry of Aram Mnatsakanov and his profound interest for Italian cuisine, a passion that originated from the wine import business he operated in the late 90’s. This business eventually evolved into the current restaurant empire and 25 years of continuous and relentless search for excellence in recipes and ingredients have left Aram with a unparalleled understanding for cross-regional Italian cuisine. This mindset is the base of the menu at MINE, where unchanged homages to classic, Italian cooking peacefully co-exist with contemporary interpretations.

“25 years of continuous and relentless search for excellence in recipes and ingredients have left Aram with a impressive understanding for cross-regional Italian cuisine”

Like the Spaghetti Vongole, essentially a very classic affair at MINE, but an incredible one never the less; perfectly cooked Gragnano pasta is married into an insane clam sauce that seeks its counterpart in Berlin (it won’t find it, it’s the best). On a less classic note, you will discover that the addition of tuna sashimi to your Vitello Tonnato, despite your initial doubts, actually makes all the sense in the world. The same applies to the deconstructed, glazes Sicilian eggplant served with tomato marmalade and burrata, although the eggplant could be cooked a bit softer.

This is immediately forgotten though after tasting the magnificent and buttery Stufato beef cheeks covered in a red wine sauce laced with 26 Tuscan herbs on smoked potato mash, just like you’ll also sign any petition that declares every Tortelli on the planet from now on should be filled with burrata and served with black truffles, like the sensational version at MINE. Mouth-watering seafood risottos you only experienced from vacations, beautiful meringue desserts with rhubarb  and strawberry, dry-aged U.S. prime rib eye steaks – the list of truly great dishes is long and it becomes clear, that such an eclectic and unorthodox Italian menu only can be conceived by someone who is in fact, not Italian.

“..just like you’ll also sign any petition that declares every Tortelli on the planet from now on should be filled with burrata and served with black truffles…”

MINE certainly also distinguishes itself among its peer Italians when it comes to price point (main courses are around 25€, Pasta Vongole will set you back 26€), but it’s not possible to argue against the spectacular cooking that’s coming out of this question. Add to that a wine list that will make even the slickest Berlin sommelier raise their eyebrows with its mix of rare Italians, French low-intervention classics and German top Rieslings, all served in Zalto glasses.

A meal at MINE is a firework of revelations, operating in a stunning setting, and an experience that inevitably will make you ask the question “Can this possibly be the best Italian restaurant in Berlin?”. Personally, after careful deliberations with myself and many friends in Berlin food, I dare to say; Yes, it might just be.

The post MINE appeared first on Berlin Food Stories.

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THIS IS THE FUTURE. THIS IS NEU.

A dinner series conceived to challenge the existing. A meal destined to build bridges between cultures. An experience designed to widen horizons of the consumer. On Februar 27th, 2018, a group of diners became witnesses to the inaugural edition of NEU dinnersthe new project by the group behind the Chef’s Symposium Terroir Berlin, where some of our time’s most esteemed chefs joined forces for a night of extraordinarily creative cooking.

This setting that guests welcomed the NEU guests on the night of February 27th was everything but an every-day sight: A graffitied wall crowned by a barbed wired fence in a remote, industrial area of Northern Berlin. A brisk walk through -18 degrees celsius towards an old car shop turned techno art club. And then, lastly, in the corner of the club: a restaurant.

“…where some of our time’s most esteemed chefs joined forces for a night of extraordinarily creative cooking.”

Tickets for the first edition of NEU sold out a month before the event, which was staged at the Anomalie Art Club, a venue fit for this cutting edge dining project in more than one way. On the one hand the rough, industrial charm of the classic Berlin club venue, with it’s hidden rooms and quirky buildings. On the other hand, the secret dining room LaMifa in the back of the club, a stunningly elegant restaurant venue with high ceilings, beautiful art work and a live plant wall. Anomalie represents the new face of Berlin, where restaurant and food culture is valued equal (or even greater) than techno and art culture.

“..a stunningly elegant restaurant venue with high ceilings, beautiful art work and a live plant wall”

For the first edition of NEU Dinners “The World’s Best Female Chef 2017”, Ana Roš (Slovenia), and Roman star-chef, Cristina Bowerman (Italy), came to the German capital to cook a unique and collaborative multi-course menu alongside Berliner Meisterkoch 2017 and Best European Chef of the Year 2018, Sebastian Frank (Austria), and young chef-prodigy Lukas Mraz (Austria), who just returned from cooking at the world’s most acclaimed cooking event GELINAZ!.

The theme for the first NEU dinner was “The Amber Road”, an interpretation of a historical trade route that originated at the Baltic Sea and ran through Western Europe all the way down to Italy, tying all the home countries of the participating chefs together and providing the narrative for this collaboration. Watching these creative masterminds work together, however, quickly showed that a creativeness can’t be restrained by frameworks.

The chefs cooked in pairs, with every dish one chef taking the lead and inspiration from the other. The result were remarkable plates of food, not to be found on any restaurant menus, and where the last details were worked out within the last minutes before serving. Noteworthy examples included the “Austrian Suppenfleisch with an oyster and Brussels sprouts salad by Sebastian Frank and Ana Roš, or the sensational and thought-provoking (ever eaten a grilled char head?) “Char Nose-To-Tail” by Lukas Mraz and Cristina Bowerman. Ana Roš added Sebastian Frank’s signature poppy seeds to her plum-miso glazed black cod and Lukas Mraz inspired Cristina Bowerman to tempura fry an oyster and incorporate umeboshi vincotto with her pork jowl dish.

“Watching these creative masterminds work together, however, quickly showed that such raw creativeness can’t be restrained by frameworks.”

At the end of the night, when guests and chefs made their way home in one of the coldest nights of the year, it became clear that the mission was accomplished. Every spectator to the show walked out of the NEU experience a bit smarter and a lot more inspired.

ABOUT NEU

The experimental dinner series NEU is spearheading the modern Berlin food movement in a time where the creative spirit of one of the most liberal and urban focal points in Europe is reflecting strongly on its exploding food scene. The reoccurring dinner series will pair international renowned guest chefs with Berlin chefs for unrivalled evenings of culinary storytelling and creativity.

NEU was created because we believe creativity and collaboration are closely intertwined and because chefs need to be pulled out of their comfort zone once in a while. Every NEU dinner will be a synergy of different cooking styles and influences. Chefs can cook pretty much whatever they want, but dishes have to be conceived in collaboration and they are forbidden to recreate dishes from their ordinary restaurant menus. The chefs of NEU will immerse themselves in their collaboration and the result will be a meal that pushes the envelope for everybody involved. It will be experimental. It will be wild. It will be highly entertaining. And it will be a glimpse into the future of Berlin dining.

The first NEU Dinner was hosted at the legendary Anomalie Art Club in Northern Prenzlauer Berg on February 27th, 2018, where 65 guests were the exclusive witnesses of this unique, culinary collaboration. The aperitif of the evening was provided by Mr. Susan and the wines for the evening were provided by VinicultureWine service was overseen by Emily Harman from Vina Lupa.

PARTICIPATING CHEFS NEU #1

Ana Roš, Hiša Franko: hisafranko.com
Cristina Bowerman, The Glass Hostaria: glass-restaurant.it
Sebastian Frank, Horvàth: restaurant-horvath.de
Lukas Mraz, formerly Cordobar

Sign up for the NEU Dinners newsletter on neudinners.com for infos and ticket releases for the next dinners.

For further questions and press inquiries, please contact hello (at) neudinners.com

Suppenfleisch. Oyster and apple brussels sprouts salad. BY SEBASTIAN FRANK & ANA ROŠ Char with shiitake. Swiss pine dashi. BY LUKAS MRAZ & CRISTINA BOWERMAN. Miso grilled char head. Tempura char belly. BY LUKAS MRAZ & CRISTINA BOWERMAN. Black cod. Glazed in plum miso. Fermented cottage cheese. Pickled beetroot. Poppy seeds with pork crackling. BY ANA ROŠ AND SEBASTIAN FRANK Pork Jowl. Oyster tempura. Umeboshi vincotto. Oyster yoghurt. Salsify BY CRISTINA BOWERMAN & LUKAS MRAZ

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No other district in Berlin showcases a broader spectrum of Arab culture than the area around Sonnenallee in Neukölln. A myriad of restaurants, casinos and shops line the busy street on both sides, offering anything imaginable to the mix of locals. The food offering of Sonnenallee is unique, and whilst the unstoppable wave of gentrification of Neukölln in recent years has produced several, contemporary restaurants, such as Industry Standard, JaJa, Beuster etc., it’s fair to say that, in terms of food, Sonnenallee is still in firm hands of Turkish, Lebanese, Palestine and, most recently, Syrian restaurateurs.

“…but it was the rumor of a proper, never-before-in-Berlin-seen Shawarma place called “Aldimashqi” that caught my attention.”

The most recent arrival of Syrian refugees to Berlin has had the side effect of a couple of highly interesting restaurants opening around Sonnenalle, like the baklava shop Konditorei Damaskus, a bakery that quickly reached legendary status with its sensational produce. There were several other places opened by Syrians on the street (Rachel wrote a great piece about it on Exberliner), but it was the rumor of a proper, never-before-in-Berlin-seen Shawarma place called “Aldimashqi” that caught my attention. Just as I started planning my encounter with this shawarma in the end of 2016, I learned the devastating news that Aldimahqi had to close its doors. I was left with a hefty dose of unfulfilled shawarma cravings. Luckily, less than a year later, Aldimashqi opened up in much larger capacity on Reuterstraße, just off Sonnenallee, in the venue of former Turkish Ocakbasi Adanus. This time I didn’t hesitate. The rest is history, drenched in Shawarma bliss.

“This time I didn’t hesitate. The rest is history, drenched in Shawarma bliss”

True Shawarma greatness, I now know, is fundamentally simple in its composition: Chicken, garlic sauce and flatbread. But it’s the details, seasoning and preparation that make the difference and the crew at Aldmimnashqi are mastering this trade. In the storefront of Aldimashqi you’ll find the pulsating heart of the operation; the giant, rotating chicken kebab. It’s from this skewer the meat for the shawarma is hand cut: fatty, grilled chicken thigh that’s been marinated in an eclectic and highly secret spice mix, only to be grilled to juicy perfection and then rolled into a flatbread with nothing else but a healthy smear of a highly addictive garlic yoghurt sauce. The roll is then dipped into chicken drippings before its seared with a weight on the griddle and served with another dollop of that garlic sauce for dipping purposes. A simple dish, but after one bite you will understand why Aldimashqi is packed day and night. This Shawarma is a gift to mankind, an explosion of chicken and garlic on your palate, a sweet song from a land far away, tucked in between the sheets of a perfectly crunchy flatbread.

“This Shawarma is a gift to mankind, an explosion of chicken and garlic on your palate, a sweet song from a land far away, tucked in between the sheets of a perfectly crunchy flatbread.”

While the Shawarma surely is the signature dish of Aldimashqi, the inherited, massive charcoal grill from the former tenants allows for other, delicious explorations. Exampled include the Grilled Chicken or the Eggplant Baba Ganoush, the grilled chicken crunchy and juicy and ready to be plucked by eager hands, the eggplant in the baba ganoush smoky and beautifully accentuated by fruity peppers. Items like the hummus, the kebab lamb or chicken chicken don’t reach the same level and can be neglected, but you should be adviced to not miss the formidable dessert station in the back where cheese kunafa and ellaborate fruit cups are made from scratch.

It doesn’t take an expert in Syrian food to realize the greatness of Aldimashqi, the Shawarma is a stunning creation that’s merely begun its journey to fame. Having a meal at Aldimashqi amidst the local community is an extraordinary experience full of love for food traditions and this project is for a fantastic example how food is the ultimate language of culture.

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Berlin Food Stories by Per - 3M ago

In a time where the pressure of the explosive growth around Berlin’s restaurant scene is threatening the existence of great, casual dining, St. Barts appears out of nowhere to remind us what a great Gastropub in Berlin can look like.

“St. Barts appears out of nowhere to remind us what a great Gastropub in Berlin can look like.”

Look for the tiled facade of Gräfestraße 71, at the Southern tip of Kreuzberg. It’s here, amidst the moody darkness, where at dinner time the view hardly extends past the neighbouring table in the feeble light of the flickering candle light, it’s here you should look for the food apostle St. Bart. Some of you might recognize the venue from the legendary eatery Little Otik, one of the pioneers of farm-to-table dining that resided here about a decade ago. It was in mid-2017  when Australian-born Lee Thompson’s and his wife took over the contract from Little Ortik’s Italian successor Brillo and in August 2017 they opened their culinary homage to St. Bartholomew, apostle and patron of chefs and mountain climbers. Only six months later, I found Thompson, a chef lacking any serious accolades apart from a head chef position at the barely-above-average Italian restaurant Mädchenitaliener, cooking some of the most honest and well executed bar food in the city. Quite remarkable, considering Thompson isn’t even a trained chef.

“…is cooking some of the most honest and well executed bar food in the city.”

Inspired by gastronomic legends like legend Fergus Henderson, the Thompsons have assembled a team that executes their vision of a Berlin pub: Simple food to share. Cheap beer. Great cocktails and wines with a lot bang for the buck. As simple as this might sound, this is very hard to find elsewhere in Berlin.

The marriage of food and drink culture is a very happy one at St. Barts. You can seat yourself at the bar with a beer, enjoy a sensational and massive back bacon sandwich, wash it down with a beer and walk away paying less than ten euros. Or you move into the back dining room, order some cocktails, share a bunch of plates with your pals and hydrate with a couple of extraordinary wines from Victor Hausladen (special tip: his Eastern European selection). Do all of that, and you still won’t spend more than 50-60€ per head. Value for money is truly spectacular at St. Bart.

“The marriage of food and drink culture is a very happy one at St. Barts.”

Smaller dishes on the St. Bart menu might include burnt Jerusalem artichokes with aioli, fried Brussels sprouts with lemon or grilled broccolini with butter, inherently simple ingredients that have been pushed to their savoury limits, using a profound understanding of how to apply fire and fat. A full glimpse of the raw talent in this kitchen is manifested in their signature fried chicken where fat free-range birds undergo a lengthy preparation of brining and buttermilk marinating before they are powdered in a myriad of spices, deep fried in peanut oil and then tossed in tabasco butter in an epic finale of savouriness. The magnificently juicy and crispy result that arrives at your table is one of the tastiest and most indulgent specimens of fried chicken in Berlin right now.

“The amount of skill in this kitchen is beautifully manifested in their signature fried chicken”

The welcome presence of Germans in both the restaurant and chef Thompson’s personal life mellow out any expat hipness in a very pleasant way. It also adds the occasional German touch to the menu, for example a spin on the German blood pudding and potato dish “Himmel & Erde” that comes in a fantastic layered potato cake version. And if that’s not enough to shake your palate, you can have yourself a stunning grilled mackerel from the Dutch fish monger heroes at Küstlichkeiten.

“The welcome presence of Germans in both the restaurant and chef Thompson’s personal life mellow out any expat hipness in a very pleasant way.”

Where I usually can’t wait for restaurants to develop further, in the case of St. Barts I’m actually hoping for the exact opposite. Of course there is room for improvement for food and especially the service. But I sincerely hope that at least the casual and playful nature of this wonderful establishment is timeless, there are way too many (similar) restaurants I’ve seen develop from an initial, casual concept to a finer dining setup, a play often forced by the immense, financial pressure of a food scene with rising rents and demanding diners who hog tables. If everything goes well, you’ll find me at the St. Barts bar in five years eating a back bacon sandwich for under 10 euros with a beer that’s under 3 euros. Wishful thinking, I know, but what are we without (food) dreams.

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