Two weeks ago I decided to try the new Indian restaurant in Charlottenburg: Bombay Café Bunty's. I thought I should tell you guys how it was. Bunty (bourgeois Suhasish Chakraborty), the super cool owner, opened the doors of his modern taste of India restaurant in October. Very close to Savignyplatz, the heart of culinary Charlottenburg.
I really like Indian food and I never cook it at home as it takes real skills. I like to go to restaurants for this kind of food but it has been a bit underwhelming to try over and over Indian restaurants that aren't really super good. But then I got in Bombay Cafe Bunty's and it was Love at first sight & bite.
The first you notice is the beautiful interior design. It doesn't look like every Indian restaurant in Berlin. It looks modern, a raw brick wall on one side and industrial lamps. Close to the toilets a super cool neon sign that says: "BE NICE OR FUCKING LEAVE" shows you that Bombay Café Bunty's (BCB) isn't just another typical a European/Indian place.
Bunty told us that in Bombay, where he comes from, the cafés actually look like this. Surprising, right?. You can see hanging on the walls beautiful artwork and amazing pictures by a photographer that spent many years in Bombay and in India in general.
So we started ordering food. Bae is vegetarian so he ordered the Tandoori Mango Paneer Tikka that is a homemade cottage cheese marinated with mango juice, yoghurt, and other herbs and I had to steal a bit of it because it looked delicious, and it was outstanding.
The next one he got was the Samosas.. sadly I can't eat gluten so I couldn't try these ones (look to the main picture) They were baked Indian dumplings filled with mashed potato and peas covered with mint-tamarind chutney. WHY??? Why I can't eat gluten... Frank looked in cloud seven while eating them and he said they were the best Samosas he had in a very long time.
As a Flexetarian, I ordered the meat: Lamb Seekh Kebab. A Lamb skewer served with Zaziki and regularly with Lavash Bread. The lamb was so good! it was so tender and juicy and at the same time crispy outside. The spices were very good and you could totally taste the difference between BCB and other Indian restaurants in Berlin.
While I was enjoying my delicious white wine, the main dishes arrived. Starting with mine: Their Coconut-Lime-Shrimps curry. This is a west-Coast Indian dish made with coconuts and lemongrass.
And I am not a person that would keep saying: "OH MY GOD! This is so good!" but I just couldn't stop myself from saying this the whole time. It was actually hard to keep a conversation while eating as it was so creamy and spicy and good. It was the kind of spicy that doesn't numb your tongue but let you taste all the diverse ingredients and spices... BRAVO!
The Vegetarian dish arrived: Aloo Mutter Curry. Franks go-to dish is this one. This is a potato and peas curry with caramelized onions. He said it was his favorite Aloo Mutter Curry in Berlin. We both really loved the food.
The dishes were quite big so we didn't order any desserts (and there was none gluten-free) but I doubt I could have been able to eat any other pea that night.
As I wrote on the title: This is in my honest opinion the best Indian Restaurant in Berlin. And I wasn't paid to say this or blog about it. And as I am already sending my friends there when they ask me about new places, I thought I would share them with you.
Get your bum all the way to Charlottenburg, cause it is super worth it! And let me know how did you like it!
Lunchtime in Berlin. Where to go? Many people don't know that one of the best restaurants, Michelin-starred einsunternull offers a great lunch menu that doesn't make you leave the office for 5 hours and will still wow you from beginning to end.
When Helle came by to Berlin, I took her to a “Berlin Food Tour”, but the next day we went for lunch to say goodbye before she would return to Oslo. And the place of meeting was luckily einsunternull.
I drove on that beautiful sunny day with my bike all the way to Mitte. I have to accept that einsunternull was in my MUST VISIT list but I had no idea where it was. This little restaurant is hiding in the Hannoversche Strasse. It took me a couple of drives (thanks Google for confusing me) but I finally got there. Helle saw me riding back and forth and went out to pick me up.
It was the minimal white facade with a delicate rusty sign. When you go in, you have the feeling you are in a beautiful terrarium in the middle of the city: huge windows, outdoor plants, kitchen view, high ceilings, bright. Idyllic. I am talking about the ground floor, where lunch is served. Dinner on the other hand, is served one floor below in the dark basement, hence the name einsunternull that literally means “one below zero”
Peggy from Visit Berlin was already there with Eric (Helle’s better half and journalist). They were both talking to Ivo, owner and host. You might know Ivo Ebert as he was behind world-known Reinstoff, where he worked with einsunternull Head Chef Andreas Rieger and they are both behind the great concept of einsunternull, what doesn't just mean “one below zero” as the basement, but it means to go back to the roots of cuisine.
Andreas makes minimalist German food with regional ingredients. This fine dining experience is “half vegetarian” made always with very local products that come from Berlin and Brandenburg and some even from their own gardens. In order to be able to use “only local”, they need to preserve and ferment many of the ingredients, that is why you can find a zillion of jars downstairs at their wine cellar, from spruces, berries, plums and asparagus between others. A great idea to always be able to deliver locally.
They don't even use pepper as it isn't local, so they found some leaves that actually taste like pepper to be able to stick to their regional concept.
But not only the ingredients of the food are local. They have beautiful ceramics from one of the best ceramic artists around: Schömig Porzellan. Claudia has her Atelier/Store in Prenzlauer Berg and I have to sigh every day when I walk by it. (Did I mention they are dishwasher safe?). And all the serving glasses are unique and made by the artist Milena Kling.
And not to forget about the drinks, the pairing was flawless, but then again, Ivo is a great sommelier. For starting we had a bubbly apple juice from Cox orange apples and a Portuguese Aqua Viva Espumante Bruto. Not only they have a mix of natural wines and old-world, but they also have juice pairings that reminded me of my juice pairings at NOMA some years ago. I got to try the non-alcoholic drink made of cucumber and gooseberries. Delicioso!
Everything was amazing, I loved the char with carrots, but visually, the dessert was the best. For me, it was like my plate just finish a “color me” marathon or it was made out of unicorns. It was ice cream sprinkled with bee pollen, blackcurrant juice, fermented red currant, spruces, Krokant, cherries, chamomile and fennel blossoms in between others. We got so excited, we stood up and start taking pictures and talking about it instead of eating it. It had a great taste for sure
I can't wait to visit einsunternull for dinner and see all it has to offer, but so far, I impressed me and haven't stop thinking of their food and drinks since I left that sunny August day. I totally recommend you to take a walk to Hannovescher Str. and treat yourself with a great lunch. But as they said: Don´t forget to leave your work on the coat rack.
I was so happy when I got the call from VisitBerlin about being the food guide for Helle... I met Helle when I was blogging in Norway and we were at many events together. VisitBerlin invited her to get enjoy Berlin, and that includes the mixed culinary scene we have in this great city.
I made my plan. Let's show her the diversity, the new places and some of the new trends Berlin has to offer. I didn't want to repeat what the other Norwegian bloggers have seen lately and at the same time, show her some of my latest finds. So here I1ll show you the places I took her and why I took her there.
1. %Arabica // Kreuzberg // New
The tour started at 5 pm outside of %Arabica. The first stop was this newly open coffee spot in Berlin. You can find this hidden gem actually hiding in a backyard in Kreuzberg. The first thing you notice is the minimalist interior, a mix of Japanese simplicity and that follows as well the iconic Braun designer, Dieter Ram. Japan meets Germany.
In the middle of the store, it is a big open kitchen surrounded by glass, like an aquarium. And that kitchen is run by Tyler. Tylers has worked in some awesome places I had the honor to visit, like Noma, Momofuku Milk Bar and Torissi (that is closed now but it is a spot everyone still talks about).
In addition to that resume, he makes all handmade fresh pasta and uses all local ingredients who he visits regularly for sourcing. His mindset is sustainable and all those dishes he prepares are carefully sourced and prepared simply to bring the power of ingredients out on to our pallets.
"% Arabica is about my love for coffee, design, and seeing the world," Says the Founder & Owner Kenneth Shoji.
While the coffee trend in the past years has been following the light coffee roast of the Norwegians, %arabica goes back to basics with a stronger and darker roast. They are known for their Latte and the Arabica Latte standard. They do hand brewing but if you really want to taste their coffee at its max, try their latte with an option of less milk.
While Helle got the recommended darker roast latte with less milk, I had the Spanish Iced Coffee, and I am now addicted. As a fan of iced Vietnamese coffee (that uses sweetened condensed milk) this Japanese/Spanish version is way richer and delicious (sorry Quaphe)
They offer cold press juices like the one in the picture. A delicious combination or watermelon, pineapple, pears, lemons and jalapeño... YES! Jalapeño!
On Sundays there is brunch and every day there is delicious food and pastry on their menu. I totally recommend trying this place as I would even drive all the way to Kreuzberg for a glass of that iced coffee.
%Arabica Berlin Kreuzberg: Reichenberger Strasse 36, 10999 Berlin, Germany
2. Shishi // Kreuzberg // New
Second stop. I wonder how many people have ever tried Israeli food. I never had it until a guy in Berlin took me to Yafo in Mitte. And I was stunned... I don't date that guy anymore but I continue going to Yafo for that sweet sweet roasted cauliflower with tahini. But you will be asking yourself why I talk about Yafo?
Shishi is the sister restaurant from Yafo and it has newly open .. actually less than a month ago. Hidden behind a parking lot and inside of yet another Kreuzberg backyard, you will find the beautiful setting of Saint Laurent blue tables adorned with lights and with the most friendly service. Shishi shows us a more refined dining experience of Tel-Aviv in Berlin
We ordered 2 dishes and a dessert and asked the super mega friendly Dimi to choose a wine for us. His choice was Coenobium. A religious experience literally! This wine produced from the Trappiste nuns in Vitorchiano from white grapes. It is refreshing, savory and mineral with aromatic notes of hay, wild herbs, and ripe white fruits. All their wines are natural, of course.
This was a perfect pairing for the grilled kohlrabi with fresh cheese, sesame seeds thyme and chili. I don't think I had grilled kohlrabi before but it was delicious... it tasted a bit like Jerusalem artichoke, one of my favorites.
Shishi only purchases products from local farmers. The beef in this sirloin tartare we ordered was a Grass-fed and even the farmer has named every one of the cows he has. No wonder why this dish covered in cured egg yolks was so good! Did I mention the cows get massages????
To end our stop in Berlin's Tel Aviv, we ordered the raw milk Malabi homemade roses syrup and Iranian pistachio. When you serve raw milk it is important to have great quality milk... as they do in Shishi. Their rose syrup is made weekly by their chef, he gets many bags of fresh local petals to make it... Can you imagine how amazing the kitchen must smell that day?
You guys have to try Shishi! For real! I need to come back for sure and try some other things... maybe this call for a Yafo/Shishi Blog post? what do you think?
Shishi Restaurant: Ritterstraße 12-14, 10969 Berlin
3. Maison Han // Neukölln
Now I need to explain why I took Helle to a Vietnamese Restaurant. Like Japan and Israel influence Berlin's food scene, Vietnam does it too, and a lot! Do you ever wonder why there are so many Vietnamese restaurants in Berlin? and mostly in East Berlin?
Back on the GDR times, Communist countries all over the world would be seen as ‘brother states’, which meant they would try to help and support each other as much as they could. And there were certain groups that were welcome to work in socialist Germany, like Vietnamese. And of course, Vietnam started influencing Berlin's Culinary Experience at that point.
I was traveling around Vietnam with Pepa and got a taste of their food (or in other words, I ate Vietnam in 5 weeks) And even though you might think that Pho, Banh mi, and Banh Cuon are lunch or dinner options, these were my breakfast every day. Yes! the Vietnamese food you all eat for dinner is brekkie material! And that is what Maison Han does, it serves breakfast all...day...long!
We started this "late breakfast" with Bahn Cuon. One with minced meat, morel, coriander and Tia to, and the other one was the vegan option with tofu and a spicier vegan fish sauce. I have loved these little gluten-free Vietnamese steamed rice rolls since the first time I ate them.
Besides serving breakfast, they have their own roastery in-house: Han Coffee Roasters. Because why serve Vietnamese breakfast if you aren't going to wash it down with some tasty Ca phe? They stand for the finest coffee culture in Vietnam's Highlands and promotes direct and fair trade.
We weren't gonna order something else as we had still 2 places to visit, but that Bahn Bao with avocado and fried egg was way too tempting to not order. And if that wasn't enough reason to add this place to this tour, They have the Berlin Bear in their logo ;)
Maison Han: Panniertstr. 40, 12047 Berlin
4. Cookies Cream // Mitte // One Star
How would I miss a vegetarian place and Michelin restaurant on this tour? And I am super happy I could kill 2 birds with one stone. Cookies Cream is a vegetarian Restaurant that has 1 Michelin star. They got it a few days after their 10 year anniversary. And they are just an institution of Berlin culinary scene.
If you were in Berlin during the 90s you will recognize the name "Cookies". And why? If you ever heard of Studio 54 in the US, Cookies was the 54 of Berlin and was in the 90s (and for 20 years) the most exciting nightlife in Berlin.
The owner of the club Cookies, Heinz Gindullis a.k.a. "Cookie", is a vegetarian, so when he decided to open a restaurant, we all knew he was going to be the pioneer of vegetarian fine dining. And this is how Cookies Cream was born.
Even though I knew that it would be the fastest Michelin dinner I have ever had, it was a MUST to take Helle to this restaurant as it is quite rare to find a vegetarian restaurant with a Michelin star. We had one hour and WAY too many favorite dishes. To be exact, we tried 6 dishes and 3 wines.
We ordered the starters. First the tomato Tea with verbena, fennel blossoms, capers, and croutons, paired with a 2016 Groll n Roll from Le Vignes Babaas. This was the perfect start, a delicious gazpacho with a twist and the pairing was just divine.
Then the vegetarian caviar with Avocado came waltzing to the table. I had this dish before and I still cannot believe it isn't caviar. The buttery avocado blends together... and that hazelnut mayo... just yummy. The pairing for this dish was a 2016 vegan chardonnay from Saint Veran Terroir, Burgundy... We had the quail egg in brioche with port wine and shallots, potato mousse and truffle jus.
The main thing about cookies is... I don't miss the meat! In most restaurants, I feel like there is something missing or it is incomplete. In Cookies, I was surprised every time i had a bite or ordered something. Like the Baked Aubergine with corn cream, green beans, peanuts, and papadam (first picture) That aubergine tasted like it was from another world. The depth of taste of it had nothing to envy a great sweet slow braised pork... I would take that aubergine in a split second against pork... and u know I am a meat lover.
The parmesan dumplings with Perigord truffle stock were the group's favorite. the pine nuts were amazing combined with that creamy truffle cream. Now... the recipe I would love to try at home would be the Celery with stained egg yolk filled with macadamia nut butter. This is the heaven for any vegan celiac (#veliac) It was a soft lasagna filled with creamy nuts... and instead of parmesan on top, egg yolk.
All together was a great experience, but it was just an hour dinner. We probably got a record for eating that much in so little time at Cookies. But I promise you I'll to be back later and eat the whole dinner and show it to you in more detail. what do you think?
Cookies Cream: Behrenstr. 55, 10117 Berlin
Wagner Cocktail Bistro // KreuzKöln
So we returned to Kreuzberg, or can I call the Paul-Lincke-Ufer Kreuzkölln? I wanted the last stop to be the new trend: Gastropubs or Gastrobars. These are pubs/bars that specializes in serving high-quality food. I had two of them on my bucket list. So after a round of messaging with my foodie friends, everyone pointed me to one of them: Wagner Cocktail Bistro.
It is located in the same street as big boys like Cocolo Ramen and La Lucha. And welcomes you with a very beautiful and vintage sign. It used to be the sign of an old toy store back in the old times. Hanging in a beautiful brick corner building.
When you go to their website you can read their philosophy: "Playful yet sophisticated adaptation of comfort food with precisely crafted cocktails. Innovative and entertaining version of a modern bistro concept delivered in a clever and casual setting" But this definition doesn't even begin to explain how good their food is.
If you have been at some of the great Scandinavian restaurants (or you follow some Scandi-foodies) you would soon feel like you teletransported to one of them. With some hints of Maaemo, Relæ, Ylajali, Amass and similar, Wagner surprises you with a delicious yet delicate menu.
Sébastien helped us with the ordering. First the Cocktails. The Negroni 2.5 with London Dry Gin, Byrrh Quinoa and Amaro, The Bronx Cocktail with Plymouth Gin, Red Vermouth, dry Vermouth and orange and tall beautiful Sakura made of Sake, Cherry water, dry vermouth and Plum Blossom made of Umeshu Rosé Plum Sake, Amaro, and Muscat d'Alexandrie. I loved them all, but my favorite was the Negroni. But then again, I am a Negroni Fan.
While we were having a chat with Sébastien, the dishes started to arrive at the table. First, a beautiful plate with tomatoes, peaches, and yogurt. The Chef came to our table and explained the dish while serving the aromatic and light rose hip sauce over it. And then, the Ceviche. I am always skeptic about eating ceviche as I am Peruvian and I am very picky, but this scallops ceviche with baby corn, onions and elderflowers were amazing. The chef told us that they use vinegar instead of lime and hey! the scallops were so buttery I could just die.
The next two dishes to arrive were the Cod cheeks schnitzel and Pumpkin flowers filled with anchovies, ricotta, and bottarga, an Italian delicacy of salted, cured fish roe. Again the chef came to our table to explain. We were having a fine dining experience in a cocktail bar. Then we hear he has actually worked in Amass and Relæ in Copenhagen and then we suddenly understood where the inspiration came from.
The Pumpkin flowers were extraordinary. One of my favorite drinking food next to the braised duck hearts at (my all-time favorite and now closed) Pjoltergeist and Truffle popcorn & reindeer tongue at Brasserie Paleo.
Since that day I have been recommending this place to every person I meet... Not paid to advertise here. But I have to say that I was very surprised by the ambiance and quality of food and drinks. Go get yourself to Kreuzkölln and grab a cocktail and indulge yourself with amazing food.
Did I mention we had the same awesome wine from Cookies Cream at Wagner? I guess they already knew our taste.
Wagner Cocktail Bistro: UMSPANNWERK Paul-Lincke-Ufer 22, 10999 Berlin
For the ones that know me well, it is a sure thing that my comfort food is sushi. Whenever I feel down, I have to stick some raw fish in my mouth. But as a Peruvian and after living in Oslo for 6 years, it is hard for me to find sushi that actually hits the spot.
I got a voucher to test the takeaway service of Sticks n Sushi, and I was so surprised by the quality of the food and the presentation as well.
I ordered one of the menus by phone and met my mega babe Sophia to pick up that sushi and went home to have a sushi feast. Everything looked still great and even the Makis survived the way back. When we opened the bags we found the following:
Kataifi: Octopus Kataifi, Trout Roe, and miso aioli
Spicy Edamame: Grilled Edamame with spicy miso
Tataki: Beef, smoked cheese, Tosazu, Goma shiro and Jerusalem Artichoke chips
Tartare: Salmon and Tuna Tartare
Momo Chilli: Chicken with chilli and chives,
Koushi Habu: Entrecote with miso herbs butter
Kushi Katsu: Fried Duck with wasabi caesar
Ebi panko Roll: Tempura prawn and spicy sauce garnished with avocado, sesame, and Tsume soya
Hell's Kitchen Roll: Tempura shrimp with avocado and spicy sauce garnished with tuna and barbecue sauce
Pink Alaska: Salmon, avocado and cream cheese in Lumpfish Roe
Nigiri: Salmon, Tuna and Ebi
All together great sushi... so good, to make me wanna live closer to get it more often. Hopefully, they will open one closer to Prenzlauer Berg. I totally recommend it for a wine & sushi night at home, or after a hard day at the office. The cost of this menu was 99 euro.
Advertising - because of voucher
When you go to a restaurant or a hotel, mostly all the wine is chosen by their sommelier. A Sommelier is the one developing the wine menu and working with the kitchen to make the best pairings with the food.
But what happens when you have 100 sommeliers instead of 1?
This is exactly what happens at Mercure at their annual Weinlese. A group of 100 people test wines and decide which ones are the best to be added to their wine list. A very colorful group of people testing the final round in search of the best for this year's wine list.
When I arrived, I was sent to the parking lot. Super weird but cool... a looong red carpet with a security guy was the only thing I could see. There were music and laughter behind the entrance. Once I got in, all the "sommeliers" were sipping some bubbles, listening to live music by a trio of guitar, saxophone and "cajón".
When the music stopped we were greeted and explained how the evening was planned: Bubbles and finger food, Wine Tasting and last but not least, Dinner. We all got a different letter in our name tags and were instructed to follow the group upstairs. My letter was a "D".
We got into a very bright conference room filled with tables. Each table had a different name. Mine was "Dornfelder" hence the letter "D" on my tag. Every table was trying different wines. About 150 different wines were gonna be tasted! Three bottles of each kind, 5 kinds per table.
After reading the list on my table I was super happy with it: A Weissburgunder, followed by a Grauburgunder... My regular choices when buying German wine.
It was fun to be seated at the table with no bloggers this time. Got to talk to a very mixed table: a hotel owner, a teacher, a sports store owner and even a winemaker. Though I kept going to talk to the girls at the next table... Afterall I kinda missed them a little bit ;)
After all the wines were tasted, we gave our notes for the final counting. And we all left to the restaurant area that was beautifully decorated and filled with appetizers for us.
The tables were filled with small and delicious appetizers like Avocado Salsa, Sesame Chili Popcorn Salad, Hummus, Pan-fried Cauliflower, and oven baked cherry tomatoes. These were paired with a 2017 Weisser Burgunder from Bermersheim Rheinhessen.
The first course was Le Poisson! Cod with Skin Fried served with a red prawn, green sauce, and rice in a Nori leaf. It looked like a maki but it wasn't a maki. Very interesting taste.
The pairing was a 2017 Aufwind Grüner Veltliner & Riesling white wine Cuvée from Bad Dürkheim in the Pfalz.
Le Beof arrived... Poached Beef Filet M VII Sud with a zucchini flower, Jerusalem artichoke puree, and a potato layer cake. It came with an excellent pairing: 2015 M VII Red wine Weingut Markus Klumpp from Bruchsal.
And after the beef and some more glasses of wine, we changed location for the desserts and cheese. A sweet buffet with ham, cheese and grapes were we read the final winners of the event. It was very much fun to compare my notes to the winners. Was I on spot? I was in some of them, but then again it was all about different kinds of taste... Tho I was happy to have at least 3 winners on my notes :)
I finished my night with a great craft beer for a change and some delicious sourdough bread with liver pate. I had loads of fun, ate great food in the company of great wine. I got to learn more about wine and met loads of cool people in the process. We even went out clubbing until late, talking about how awesome this evening was.
Whether red or white, sweet or dry: At Mercure, you can enjoy a fine selection of the best quality wines. All wines are sourced directly from local winemakers with a bold concept that fits perfectly into today's world.
And what is the best part? the guests get to choose: Le Club AccorHotels Participants can participate in the wine tasting at the annual final tasting. And for sure this event has something for every taste. I am pretty sure everyone will find their favourite wine here.
There are loads of places in Berlin that serve brunch, but my all-time favorite place to go with friends is Allan's Breakfast Club aka ABC. This tiny french place owned by the super french and super cool Allan is not only cute, but serve the meanest eggs benedict in town. It is situated in the heart of Kollwitzkiez in Prenzlauer Berg and just some minutes from my flat, very convenient.
I took Kay and my frenchie girl Marie for some drinks and brunch last Friday. While we waited for Marie to arrive, we had some coffee and lemonade while we had a chat with Allan, man! it was hard to decide what to eat, but this time we didn't go for those mean Bennies, but tried some other stuff.
We chose to try different dishes instead of ordering just one per person. Starting with a delicious potato waffle covered with cured salmon rose, capers and avocado, sprinkled with a buttermilk & creme fraiche dressing and red pepper.
Did I mention that I had a hangover? And the best cure for this is: Bloody Marys! The best frigging BMs in town, even better that the ones my grandma used to make *wink wink*
If you are into this ridiculously tasty red drink, you definitely need to make a pitstop at ABC after a crazy party night. Or if u are like me, just after 2 glasses of wine, haha.
Talking a bit about Allan, he comes from France but he used to live many many years in Australia, hence the awesome eggs Benni and the poached eggs in some of his dishes, like in this creamy Czech Mountai soup with a drowning poached egg on top. Did I mention bacon???? BACON!
Marie ordered a hot chocolate with Belgium Callebaut chocolate buttons. OHMYGWAAADDDDFFF! Allan adds the hot steamed milk over them so that they melt... ahhhhh heaven! If I wasn't too much afraid sugar, I would stop by everyday to have this chocolate and milk heaven.
You wold think that ABC wouldn't have a choice for vegans with all these eggs and bacon, but their boost up smoothie bowl is vegan, glutenfree and AMAZING, it is a bowl of frozen smoothie, covered with fresh fruits, coconut flakes and cacao. A huge bowl of energy and awesomeness.
What would it be a menu of a french restaurant without a Croque Monsieur? Well, Allan offers a Tweaked Croque Monsieur. He uses brioche instead of bread, filled with loads caramelized onions, melted Gruyere cheese, Ardeche ham and mushrooom bechamel, served with chips and salad.
But don't let this picture fool you, I moved the chips to show you the brioche and the whole thing was bigger than my head ;)
Here is Allan opening a Bodvár n5 rose from provence for me. If I didn't have to go to work after brunch I would have probably stayed there for hours sipping some more glasses of it. And for the ones not drinking wine, we got some more homemade lemonade and a beautiful and elegant coffee martini.
Some will ask why i didn't show you the many-times-mentioned Eggs Benedict in this blogpost. It is so you get up and run there and try them! And of course the rest of the menu and the flat whites and the oysters in summer and enjoy their terrace. and and and... Just go there!
As their opening hours were confusing in the past year for many people... here I´ll explain them to you:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday Friday and Friday 10am-3pm
Sat and Sunday 10am-4pm
But from May:
Thursday and Friday: 3pm-6pm open for coffee, cake and Rosé
Wednesday- Thursdays and Fridays 6pm- Midnight for Wine
My regular cocktail drink of choice is Gin. Of course, I love a glass of wine with my food, but Gin can be a great pairing for food as well. I was so excited to be invited to the Tanqueray Drinks Club in Berlin featuring the boys of Salt and Silver, Atalay Aktas from Schwarze Traube and the Icelandic chef Victoria Eliasdóttir.
The venue for this event was INFARM, a startup based in Berlin that develops an “indoor vertical farming” system capable of growing anything from herbs, lettuce, and other vegetables, and even fruits. (read more about it in this lovely article from TechCrunch)
A beautiful place filled with plants and still with an industrial flair to it. The workshop tables were set with tools, gin, fruits, and herbs. I started sipping an old school G&T while I got a bit of an introduction to the different classes of Gin Tanqueray has.
Tanqueray has 3 different products:
The most usually seen around is their Tanqueray London Dry Gin. A gin with 180 years of history, including being the favorite Gin of Frank Sinatra ;) Its smell of Juniper it's so predominant. I find that the juniper note in Tanqueray London Dry is perhaps the most significant characteristic of it, I don't recall any other gin having that singular juniper note.
Tanqueray N0.10 was released in 2000, Tanqueray No. TEN gin is named after the small copper pot-still ("Tiny Ten") that is used to produce the spirit. This is the only gin (so far) that uses whole citrus fruits in its recipe.
Tanqueray Rangpur, my favorite of the evening. Named after the Rangpur lime that is included in the recipe. Rangpur lime isn't a lime but a hybrid of a lemon and mandarin orange. But this doesn't mean it is Lime Flavoured Gin (many think so) but the lime is distilled with the other botanicals.
The amazing Salt & Silver boys (who quit their jobs to travel through the world searching for the best waves, stories, and recipes) explained to us what was going to happen during the event and that Victoria was our chef tonite (you might know her from Dottir). My favorite restaurant in the world is Icelandic Korean fusion, and knowing she was the cooking, some little part of me performed a salto of joy!
The First two dishes were: Smoked trout on Icelandic flat bread, fennel, egg & garden cress And my ultimate favorite of the evening: Baked beetroot on Danish rye bread, beetroot labneh, horseradish, lavender, red shiso cress. Mouth-watering!
The second gin I had was Tanqueray No 10 with tonic and rosemary, delicious. It was truly fun to go to the bar and create your drink with the bartender. I grew very fond of basil and rosemary on drinks during the evening.
The next dish was a Marinated sole with red grapefruit, dill, khaki & shallots. It reminded me of ceviche. Ceviche with a twist. a great pairing of the gin I was having (first picture of the blog post) It was a Rangpur base, 50/50 soda, and tonic with orange zest and forest fruits. The citrusy notes on the drink and food were superb.
The last dish was actually made with gin. It was a lemon sorbet with Rosemary and Tanqueray. This I will try to make it at home. It was just sublime.
Food was eaten, and the DIY Tanqueray workshop started. The rules were simple:
Step 1: Choose your Gin
Step 2: Choose your Fruit
Step 3: Choose your Tonic
Step 4: Choose your Garnish
Step 5: Create your own T&T
And after a short explanation, everyone started making their own drink. It wasn't only a workshop, but it would be a price for the best T&T. Everyone jumped to the workstations and tried to make the most delicious drink of the night.
My favorite drink of the workshop was called "Sexual Healing" and even though it wasnt the winner of the contest, It was my personal winner!
As I never have pictures of myself, I found this one at the events site. I look so terrible in pictures, like I am mad or something, but actually I was just paying attention to my good pal Kai from INSEARCHOF and FIBER.
It was a great evening with amazing people and food, learning how to make cocktails while having fun. I can't wait to have friends over and make our own cocktails, or maybe even a contest as well? Do you make cocktails at home? have you tried all Tanqueray Gins?
I have been driving past BRICOLE for the weeks. Mostly I am in a hurry to pick up Pepa at preschool. (The restaurant is very close to it) So I added it to my "Food Bucket List".
Lucky me, Berlin Food Week organized a "Stadtmenü or City Menu" on the topic "Mushroom Parade" with over 60 restaurants, including BRICOLE, offering the opportunity to get to know the city in a new culinary way. Whether regional noble mushrooms, exotics from Asia or noble truffles. Whether three or four courses, with or without wine accompaniment, whether gourmet restaurant, down-to-earth classic, vegetarian restaurant or innovative newcomer, each of these restaurants interpret the motto for itself and implements it in the sense of its individual kitchen line.
OFF WITH YOUR HEAD, MAIN COURSE! Their menu does not impose a main dish but offers a selection of dishes that you can combine and order as your mood takes you.
You have a menu that contains about 9 to 10 dishes and you can decide if you want 3, or 5 or all. Your decision. The dishes aren't small though, be prepared to eat!
The first Mushroom was the truffle. While I got served some bubbles, appeared bread and a fluffy beaten butter sprinkled with truffle and sea salt.
The menu looked exciting and the wine pairings as well. The First dish was a Porcini ravioli with smoked celery broth and pickled radish and black walnut. A mouth-watering combination. I am a fan of ravioli, but then again, who isn't?
The ravioli was paired with a delicious Weißburgunder from Weingut Krebs 2016, Fine on the nose and complex with hints of meadow flowers, ripe apples, and pears. This is accompanied by a fresh hint pineapple. Full with a fresh minerality, two of my favorite qualities for a light wine.
The next dish was a poached halibut, savoy cabbage, turnip and morel foam. The fish was very well made. the softness of it combined with the airy morel was really good.
The wine they selected to accompany this plate was a Grauburgunder "Juwel" from Juliane Eller 2016. A strong Pinot Gris with a dense aroma of fruits like melon and pear.
A Spätburgunder was being served. From Genheimer - Kiltz Vintage 2014. A full and strong dry wine with a milder taste of wood, peach, melon, and gooseberry.
While enjoying this beauty, the duck breast with pumpkin cream, oyster mushrooms, and potato crunch did its grand entry. The duck was tender and juicy, and I really loved the taste of the mushrooms with the pumpkin cream. That bird was exactly how I like it. I am still thinking of it.
Paring the dessert, was a Huxelrebe Auslese from Albiger Hundskopf 2015. The Huxelrebe grape is one of the so-called new breeds. Their crossing is between the two white grape varieties Gutedel and Coutellier Musqué. It has a juicy, spicy taste with aromas of caramel, honey, mango, orange, and peach.
Very well chosen wine for the Kefir, aerated chocolate, candied chestnuts, and fermented tea gel.
I can't wait to see what next year's Berlin Food Week will bring, or which restaurants will be part of the Stadtmenü. But for sure I will be there. As for BRICOLE, I will go again and try some more of their dishes as the ones I had so far, At the Côtes du Rhône Gourmet Crawl and BFW were delectable.
Here I leave you with a small video of that evening. It is always nice to see the ambiance of a restaurant in moving pictures than in regular ones.
We all know what a pub crawl is, and last week, I was invited to the first Côtes du Rhône "Blogger Gourmet Crawl" we took a tour in several venues to eat and have some drinks at each of them.
As we learned with Paul Truszkowski, You just have to follow the river! Along the length of its winding waters, Côte du Rhône vineyards thrive across 171 rich terroirs and vineyards, A valley bathed in the generous sun with 21 grape varieties that are officially included in the appellation.
We started at the wine shop Wine ++ in Kreuzberg, where we savored a our first wine: La Ferme Du Mont 2016 Côtes du Rhône "La Truffière" This exquisite white wine combines all the charm of the southern Rhône with the elegance of the northern Rhône.
With scents of lime blossom, mint, tarragon and lemon zest, and taste of apricot and quince. The well-integrated acidity gives the wine freshness and balance.
We started munching these delicious bites. Nutty, veggie or bacon. the 3 different appetizers were excellent and between this and the wine, we were looking forward to see where this evening of "progressing dining" would take us.
We walked our way to the Falckensteinstraße, to the wine shop NOER. They make your wine choice easier, as they divide their assortment into five NOER wine types: Funatiker, Wachmacher, Verführer, Abenteurer & Entschleuniger. And we got the explanation of it while we had a Château Rochecolombe Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2015 - A blend of Grenache and Syrah. This gourmand wine is smooth and unoaked - tremendous quality and taste for the price! It has a blackberry aroma, and notes of fragrant herbs. Very Fresh mouthfeel, enhanced by smooth tannins and a breezy finish.
Wines are described by adjectives like "easy", "heavy", "tangy", "crispy", "fruity", "woody", "mild" or "oily". There are hundreds of nuances that can be expressed in this way.
NOER collected these words, condensed them and arranged them according to their effect on the different situations of pleasure.
Funatiker: slim to strong wines, fruity, uncomplicated.
Wachmacher: delicate, crisp, racy, invigorating
Verführer: delicate, gentle, subtle, fragrant
Abenteuerer: wild, mineral, expressive
Entschleuniger: strong to heavy wines, soothing, soft, fine spicy
Cheese and cured meats arrived! woohoooo love it! One cheese with cristals, a delicious terrine, salami, venison ham and 2 mouth watering soft cheese with olives.
To match the wild and strong flavours of the cured meats and cheese, we were presented to a Halos de Jupiter 2014. This would be in the category "Abenteuer", with 88% Grenache and 12% Mourvèdre that was aged in neutral demi-muids. Its shockingly deep purple color has notes of exotics spices, leather, and darker fruits. Full-bodied, rich and nicely concentrated, with fine tannin and notable, acidity.
Next stop was BRICOLE (blogpost coming soon with the delicious menu I had last month) and we started with a Vacqueyras AOC 2014. A wine produced on a very clayey terroir with stones from the Ouvèze river, the Grenache is dominant and develops a fleshy wine. It's typical aromas of chocolate, cherry and fig match beautifully with the Syrah.
The food arrived and it was astonishing. An ox tail ragout with german "knödel" with fava beans and créme fraîche sprinkled with Valrhona chocolate. Oh my! I loved it. The whole ensemble was perfect. Maria from IN SEARCH OF went with the vegetarian dish with goat cheese balls.
The last wine of the evening arrived dancing with the dessert. A Cötes du Rhone AOC E. Guigal 2012. This wine is deep and dark red. Full and round with smooth tannins. A full-bodied, rich and intensly aromatic wine with the taste of fresh fruits, red berries and spices. I found it incredibly elegant and pleasing.
The dessert was a out of the ordinary Créme Brûlée made with black sesame, plums, mascarpone and vanilla crumble. An awesome dish for the end of such a nice evening jumping around districts, drinking great wines and eating delicious food.
BLEND opened its doors last month in Charlottenburg and I was invited to an extraordinary opening event. The invitation said something about Charlottenburg, Bulli and Berlin. To be honest, it was Berlin Food Week so I really didn't had the time to read the invitation properly, but that was actually good, as I had no idea what was expecting me.
When I arrived, 3 beautiful vintage "Bullies" (or VW-Bus) were waiting for us.. or me as I was late. They received us with a delicious welcome gin and we jumped in our Bus and the fun started.
This was a tour through Berlin. YAY! I have been living here for over 2 years and I have never done one. We drove around listening to Berlin Facts and History of Berlin. (Now I know what the pink pipes around town are... wink..wink)
Our first stop was BRLO Brwhouse. A Beer Brewery and Restaurant with a beautiful "Beer Garden". The sun was shining and it was just beautiful. I learnt finally how you say the word brlo and the meaning of it. It is actually slavic for Berlin. Everytime I saw their beers in a menu I wondered how to pronounce it.
We got to hear about what is special about BRLO Beer. Their beers are brewed in small scale batches and each beer is given enough time to mature and develop its unique hops aroma. They remain as regional as possible: Their Helles is brewed in Brandenburg, and their Pale, German IPA, and Porter in Brauerei Landsberg in Saxony-Anhalt.
Our First dish was Cauliflower Lemongrass Creamy Soup paired with a BRLO Helles, what is their interpretation of a classic german beer, hoppy but not too bitter. It was a Great start: Warm and super creamy soup while enjoying the sun in the beautiful Beer Garden.
The second dish was a funny one for me. It was an Autumn Roll. Rumor say, I was the inspiration for this one. The Head Chef, Steffen Sinzinger was very curious about my stories of Vietnam and tried to make a summer roll himself, and his very tasty variation made it to the menu this autumn. They have cabbage, dashi mayo and pickled char.
Blend changes its menu when the season changes. Now they have the autumn menu and that is why the name of the roll is Autumn Roll. This dish was paired with BRLO Pale Ale, an English style beer. Strong and fruity in taste... hops love!
The next stop was the most romantic thing someone has ever made for me. A beautiful candlelight dinner outdoors in the Museum Island just in front the "Altes Museum". This was so beautiful: sunset, outdoors, candles... RO-MAN-TIC! Ok I was not alone with a date, but. Hey! it counts ;)
We started with a delicious Gin and Tonic, followed by BLEND´s Asia carbonara with soba noodles and caramelized pork belly packed in a cute Chinese Take out Box. The Soba were impressively good, made of buckwheat and they were cooked perfectly. My favorite dish by far!
Our 3rd and last stop was BLEND. I took a peek through the window, just to be attonish by the marquee sign logo A-lá-Vegas, the beautiful interior and lights.. I had to hurry inside to check it out!
This beautiful space was designed by the Sundukovy Sisters Studio (Moscow) who have a vast portfolio of interior design projects for hospitality worldwide. They create pure and flawless spaces based on something classic, making it functional and tasteful. with a pinch self-irony.
Every little corner of the restaurant is well thought, wherever you look there is a beautiful lamp or a giant zebra. Beautiful... Just beautiful.
Soooo about the Restaurant and Bar. Berlin is a multicultural, cosmopolitan and diverse. A city full of people from all over the world that influence the local culture as well as its culinary scene.
BLEND is Inspired by the multi-ethnic population, and reflects the spirit and soul of Berlin as a "Melting Pot": free, modern, urban, and with a creative twist that picks up on the versatility of flavors, cultures and cooking styles blending them all together in a pot ;)
The Bar has great craft beers, like German producers Braufactum and BRLO (of course) as well as Kornbrand and Gin of the Berlin cult label Berliner Brandstifter. From the Spreewald they have a single malt whiskey and a first-class straight rye whiskey and three kinds of rum, bottled in BERLIN.
After serving the first round of wine, the bread and side dishes arrived: Parsley root cream, Mash Potatoes and Pearl Barley with vegetables. rapidly the waiters brought us Lamb balls, hummus, salsify and coffee, followed by Fried cod with date, carrot and cilantro.
When you live in Berlin, you dont notice much the impact different cultures have on Food, like vietnamese food in East Germany. I always wondered why there so many Vietnamese and Vietnamese Fusion Restaurants around my flat. Well, Vietnamese people didn't need a visa to come to east germany when the wall was still up. Just a cool fact. You can find these fusions everywhere in Berlin, and BLEND shows us that in their menu.
The first dessert arrived as well as Steffen. Steffen Sinzinger is the head chef of BLEND and a friend of mine as well. He began his career at the Michelin-starred restaurant of Hotel Palace Berlin. It was there, under the direction of Matthias Buchholz, that he got to know French cooking. His break with tradition followed with Japanese crossover cuisine at Shiro i Shiro, before he developed his own style as head chef at Restaurant Le Faubourg.
Once we finished the Baba au rhum with pineapple Carpaccio and saffron ice cream, The Berliner Luft arrived. Funny wise, half of the table know that name from a shot of alcohol made of peppermint. But it is actually a dessert too, and the best of the evening imho.
Berliner Luft (Berlin Air) is a frothy cream made from eggs, sugar and gelatine, which is always served with raspberry juice, but in this version, with lemon granite. And for being "air" it was the most mouth-watering air I had.
We moved to the bar to have the last dessert, listen to music and have some cocktails. The menu has classics with a twist of Berlin, Seasonal cocktails as well as the classics. And we all wished we could try them all. I even got a special drink: Gin with rose petals and Goldberg Japanese Yuzu Tonic. Aaaaahhhhh three of my favorite things in ONE. Followed by a Goat cheese nougat with plum chutney. Yum.
And whilst the DJ continued to play some tunes, I got my second Gin, happy after such a beautiful event and culinary tour across town, learning about history, Berlin and more with awesome people, eating and drinking, "blending" and having a blast.
I am Andrea, or as my friends call me, Jinx. I am a foodie living in Berlin, eating my way through life. Here are my recipes, cooking events, dining experiences and more...