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
When I was in Junior High School, we had once a week a cooking class. Mostly all things we prepared were not baked. I remember some dessert or snack called "Sweet Bombs". As a neighbor lent me some flour one day, I decided to make something for him to thank him. And what not better something I can do together with Pepa.
500 ml Evaporated milk or in German: Condensed Milk
500 gr Sugar
400 gr Butter Cookies
100 gr nuts (optional)
a Pinch of Salt
First, start crushing your cookies. You can put them in a bag and smash them, or use a food processor as it is easier, faster and less messy.
I could have bought 250 ml condensed milk, but I like making my food from scratch. The recipe to make condensed milk aka Milch Mädchen is easy but takes a while. Mix the milk and sugar and let it boil.
Let's face it, condensed milk its just a milch marmalade. It is all about boiling and simmering until you have the desired consistency. So turn up the heat until it boils and lower the heat to minimum. Repeat until you can put the milk in a spoon and it doesn't fall from it while moving it.
I use a wooden spoon with holes, it works way better. Condensed milk is normally cream colored, but when you make it yourself it turns caramel color... more like dulce de leche.
Once it has cooled down, Mix the cookies, nuts and condensed milk. It will give you a very sticky dough.
Using some nuts or dry hands, make little balls of about 30 grams. Or just make them to the size you want. I like 30 grams cause it is as much I cant it without dying of a sugar coma. You don't need to bake it at all and you can enjoy them right away. Try making these ones with your kids or by yourself.
I hope you enjoy this easy old recipe of mine. And be prepared to eat a delicious "Sweet Balls" better together with a coffee or as a snack when you are outside in this cold winter.
I am not vegan, but many of my close friends are. I love the challenge when cooking vegan. Most of the food I see in restaurants aren't that creative or even resemble the "regular" food.
I was asked by Bordeaux Wines to make a whole Christmas dinner and I was very excited about making this dinner with a Twist. (You can see the dinner here). I had loads of messages asking me for the recipe of the loaf. I have to accept I have been busy like a hive of bees, but tomorrow is the last day the shops are open, so if you have vegan guests for Xmas or you are vegan yourself, run to the closest Whole Foods Store/Bio Markt and make this Loaf.
1 can of white beans drained (you can use chickpeas, jack beans or pinto beans)
2 cloves garlic
1 cooked beet
1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
200 grms Wheat gluten
2 tbsp ground mushrooms
1 tsp sweet paprika or regular
a pinch of salt
4 Soya bratwurst or any vegan white sausage
1 medium white onion
1 tbsp fresh parsley
4 slices of bread
a bit of nut milk or oat milk
We start with the loaf. Turn on your oven, 180 C. Add the beans food processor or blender, until the are mashed. Add the garlic and beet. Throw the canned mushrooms, dried mushrooms, paprika, salt & pepper and broth. The mushrooms will give your "meat" that umami taste. Regular meat has an umami taste to it as well as mushrooms, so we are cheating here.
Soak the bread in the milk. This will give some "body" to the stuffing. If you like salty food, soak it in broth instead of milk.
In a bowl knead the bean mix with the wheat gluten. The beet gives this dough the meat color. It is scary how close to ground meat this looks like. Once it is all mixed. let it rest while making the stuffing.
Dice your sausage and onion. Fry both until the onion is transparent, add the nutmeg and parsley. Add some salt to it. Add the drained bread and taste again, you can add more salt to it. Let is cool down for about 10 minutes. We don't want the gluten mix to react to the warmth of the stuffing.
On a tray with alu foil, press the gluten mix flat and add the stuffing. Roll it. and shove it to the over for one hour.
Remove the foil and turn it around carefully. Be very careful removing the foil. you don't want the stuffing to come off. Brush some oil all over and let it grill for 10 more minutes. Let ist cool before cutting.
Serve with mashed potatoes with skin, gravy and Brussel sprouts. All your vegan friends will be jumping on one foot. I am really sure about that! Merry Vegan Xmas! If you want to try my turkey Xmas recipe, Check it here
When Bordeaux Wines asked me to make a cozy winter Xmas dinner, I was super excited. But how to make a dinner extraordinary? I decided to make it vegan! But I am not vegan... you all know this. Many of my close friends are and I have been testing different methods. Before I start, all pictures were made by my dear Friend and Amazing Blogger & Photographer Katja Hentschel.
But first things first: decoration. I wanted this Christmas to look like all those pinterest pictures I liked through the years.
I am not into Christmas trees. TOO much mess, all those pine needles everywhere. So I bought 2 big pieces of tree. Already dried of course. I could have gone to the forest and get them for free. But let's accept it: I have no fricking time lately. I put Max ladder on my table and got to drill my over 4-meter high ceiling. With 2 hooks and iron rope, I hanged these 2 babies. I hanged 4 Christmas ornaments and 100 fairy lights. I added some sheepskins on the chairs and banks. (Not so vegan, but Scandinavian Cozy)
I made the menus, covered the bread with jute and rope, Used jars instead of water glasses. In the middle of the table we had mistletoe pine needles and other forest greens. Candles were there as well. And the water bottles were from old Bordeaux wines. And we started the evening with Lateyron Crémant de Bordeaux as aperitif.
The guests started tasting this bubbly, while learning about the Bordeaux Region. In the table was beaten margarine with truffles and sea salt. Starting with a delicious umami taste together with the bread.
You can see here Christine from Lilies Diary enjoying one Rose Vegan Wine, While IHeartBerlin's Frank enjoyed the Chai de Bordes Bordeaux. YESS, Bordeaux has not only amazing red wines, but they come in every color.
It was time for the first course. I love deconstructing traditional dishes and this wasn't an exception. I transformed the traditional pumpkin soup into a Pumpkin, Apple & Ginger Soup served with a gingerbread Panna Cotta. Say Whaaaaat? Normally the cream is incorporated in the soup. But I made the Pannacotta using the "cream" I think it was a cute detail. All the guests got the mini panna cotta and I passed by with a jar full of pumpkin soup serving it around the cream. They made sooo many insta stories of it, so I guess people enjoyed it. *winkwink* I added gingerbread spices as after all it was a Xmas dinner.
It was time for the next course, so I took the mini pies from the oven. The second course was a Chard and Walnuss Cheesy Pie. I love chard! and the red colored chard even more. the greens and reds are so Christmasy. This was my favorite dish, so creamy and tasty. The pairing for this dish was the Rose Chateau Penin Rosé from Bordeaux of course.
The brussel sprouts with agave were ready and the loaf as well. It took me 5 times experimenting on how to make the roll taste like meat. Oh umami, dear umami flavor. It was perfect. a "Turkey and Beef" roll with Christmas Stuffing. I love stuffing. I....LOVE....IT Next to it was a Sweet Potato Mash and the sprouts. The wine chosen for this dish was: Chateau Magondeau Beau Site - Fronsac Red Wine. Perfect Match.
I am pretty sure we were all stuffed at that point. I gave it an hour rest before I started the dessert. We enjoyed the wine, the pup, and great conversation.
I ran to the kitchen... or rolled. The next course was a Cinnamon & Cloves Norwegian Waffle with Baked Apple with Almonds and Coconut Vegan Ice Cream with the dry white Château d'Arricaud 'Réserve du Comte'.
What an amazing evening. My food was on spot (as I heard) and for having some Omnivores sitting at the table, everyone was happy. The wines were very well paired with the menu. Not by me but the great guys from Bordeaux Wines.
The food was so good, that I am actually thinking on posting my recipes before Christmas, in case you are vegan yourself or you invited some vegans to your table this Christmas. Let me know which recipe you would like to, and I will gladly make a blog post asap. Merry Vegan Christmas and a Happy Bordeaux Night. Over and out.
The Blogpost of this evening by Bordeaux Wines (in german) can be found HERE
This Blogpost was not Sponsored
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.
Last Sunday I was invited to a blogger dinner at Brasserie Colette. I was super excited because most of the guests were my friends; like Maria and Sophia from IN SEARCH OF, Maria and Philipp from Herz & Blut and Sissi from Eating in Berlin.
I was so happy to finally try more of this restaurant. Last year at Berlin Food Week´s Food Clash Canteen, I got to try the Salad Nizza made by Dominik Obermeier from Colette...So I was very curious about the rest of the menu.
We started with Tim Raue´s pickled cornichons, Bread with 2 different kinds of butter and a delicious Bouvet-Ladubay Cremant De Loire - blanc de blancs. Our table was very fun and cozy as we all knew each other. And we were all looking forward to try the food.
Tim Raue has not only a 2 Michelin Star Restaurant, but is the creator of the concept of the restaurant chain: Brasserie Colette. And funny wise, they are all in the first floor of the retirement houses Tertianum.
You can find them in Berlin, Munich and Konstanz. They have 14 Gault Millau points and they are in the Bib Gourmand Guide Michelin 2017... bravo!
The starters arrived to the table. My favorite was the Stewed artichoke served with a strong vinaigrette based on parsley puree, rice casserole and green chili oil, a Safran mayonnaise, and Crème fraîche
This dish took me right back to my childhood in Peru were we ate this in summer, A whole artichoke for each person but ours was dipped in lime juice and oil with a pinch of salt and pepper.
We had some other tapa-like starters like a Tuna Tartar of North Pacific bluefin fish tuned with a sauce of pickled chili and lots of lime, with cucumber caviar and dried powder of salad cucumbers. and a mouth-watering cucumber sorbet.
Besides the Tartare, a salami arrived: Jesus Basque, this is a salami from the French part of the Basque country, which is bound with 3 strings to its traditional 3-star form like the three-star form of the 3 Stigmata of Jesus Christ.
The salad was a cherry tomatoes without skin inserted in passion fruit vinaigrette with basil cress and roasted sour dough bread from Maitre Philippe. I loved it.
As a super fan off oysters, I was glowing when I saw them coming. Gillardeau Oysters!!! Heaven! Some of us havent had oysters before, so it was exciting to see that "first time" reaction.
The salmon was espectacular. And red.. but after asking why was it red, I got the answer: The Ikarimi salmon was stained in salt, sugar, star anise and red berry juice. This gives it the light red berry flavor and the strong red color. This was by far the best starter!
The main dishes started to arrive. We all ordered different dishes. Some ordered the Icelandic cod, steamed and covered with a jelly from Dashi.
Dashi is the Japanese counterpart to the Consommée, which has a similar spicy-salty taste, but consists only of water and bonito-tuna and it was served in bacon potato foam.
For the vegans, the Wild herbs Beignet.
The wild herbs are made in the same way as classic potatoes, with a puree of pimpinelle, borretsch, sorrel and young garlic blossom.
The donuts/beignet are served on a horseradish potato and leek sauce together with a red beet salad, which is sweetish-ly spicy with currant jam and red chilies.
I asked the waiter which dish was the best. She told me that the Cordon Bleu was. I was very sceptic as Cordon bleu is a very traditional and "boring" dish. But this version surprised me. The cordon bleu in the Colette is strongly reminiscent of the classic one, but differs significantly in most points:
It consists of 2 days of marinated maize chicken skewer, unrolled with grated 14- month old Gouda and Chaumes cheese. The panade of dried pork skin, which bounces crisply during the subsequent baking.
There was a carrot, which was braised in apple juice and then glazed in apple-butter sauce. This is on a fine chilli pea puree, which was unexpected good.
We were eating and having a blast...sipping wine and talking about the food. The restaurant has 2 different areas, a bar and a super fun toilette (you have to go there to see it, or just check this picture showing a golden hand seat)
Another vegan dish was the Ragout marocain, where chickpeas are cooked in apple juice with the Arabian curry "raz el hanout". Finally, pomegranate kernels, date cubes and finely chopped coriander stems are added.
In between laughs, selfies and instagram postings; the desserts emerged served with egg nog. Like a Bourbon vanilla Creme brulee with caramelised with brown sugar, with a ball sorbet of red currants
These were followed by Le Croque en bouche which is a traditional French wedding bouquet, which consists of filled small wind bags. These are filled with a honey mousse au chocolate and are attached to it a sail of caramelised honey.
Madeleines, Madeleines! These are a traditional French pastry dough baked in a mussle-shape and served with vanilla liqueur and a ball Valrhona chocolate ice cream. These Madeleines were laying on a mango butter pudding... yummy!!!!
Overall the food was great and it was impossible not to have fun with such a great bunch, thanks Brasserie for such a lovely event. Cheers!! to more Sundays like this to come!
During Food Zürich, I had an evening free of events. And my first choice was Ecco. I was not sure I could get a reservation with such short notice, but I was really lucky and they had a table waiting for me.
Almost like the song: "One Food Blogger went eating one day, over the hill and far away." I was using the awesome Zürich Card, so I decided to go by streetcar. Once I arrived at the stop (Thank Google Maps!) I started the walk. Ecco is at the Hotel Atlantis by Giardino, Really up the hill, with a beautiful view to the city. It was quite a walk, but I love walking, even better in such green small paths.
So it all starts! I ordered the 9 course dinner and I tried to not over eat much before dinner (haha impossible with all the tasty stuff at Food Zürich)
The first amuse bouche was a Cracker with marinated Sepia and Dill, sour cream and iced sepia pearls. It was a very nice appetizer, the different textures, soft, crunchy and ice complemented each other perfectly. The funny thing was, when I cleaned myself with the napkin it was black.
Right away, came the next two amuse-bouches... Yeah! and these ones do not count as the 9 courses.
A delicious cannelloni and a turnip ravioli filled with hazelnuts and sprinkled with black truffle. Both of them delicious. The turnip ravioli reminded me on one dish at the Essento Insects Dinner, where they served kohlrabi ravioli swimming in a cloud of nitrogen.
The sommelier's pairing was a Prosecco. Yeah I dont like to drink champagne before a beautiful dinner like this. It goes right away to my head and "tipsy" isnt really a good thing to remember all dishes. I got an Andreola Prosecco that shows fresh aromas of apple and citrus with a mineral undertone. It is made out of 100% Glera, grown at 250 meters above sea level in a mixed soil of clay and sandstone.
Next appetizer was a superb duck skin cracker with shaved duck and pickled cabbage over it. Yumsters!
Then the bread came and it was the cutest bread ensemble I have seen in a restaurant. Even cuter than the bread presentation at one-star Ylajali.
It was potato bread with sea salt, buttermilk butter and smoked butter with garden cress and a little scissor so you can cut them yourself. Super cute. And wow! that smoked butter! mouth-watering. I really enjoyed this serving.
The last non-menu entreé: Crab tartare marinated with curry and sprinkled with smashed crab shell, pickled carrots and iced purple curry pearls. And crunch of sepia and tapioca. Quite a unique dish. Crunchy and with a soft curry creamy taste. A dance of flavor, spicy yet not hot. The crust crunch is defo a new experience!
First course. Belly bluefin tuna (Otoro) flamed on both sides and thin sliced poached oysters on top. Pickled cucumber marinated, mini cucumbers with Yuzu cream on top and Linseed chips. All this floating in a cucumber and oyster leaves (herb that taste like oysters) soup.
What a taste. Oysters and tuna blend like milk and chocolate, smooth oysters with a really tender tuna. I am a super fan of yuzu, so I loved it! I cant stop thinking of those buttery oysters. I don't think I have ever had oysters in a dish. Normally I get them in their shell. I will try this at home.
A white wine to start. The Sommelier brought me a Grüner Veltliner Federspiel from 2014 from Wachau, Austria. The fragrance of this Grüner Veltliner its fruity and spicy, reminding of fresh yellow apples and apricots, with fresh herbs in the background. You can only find a few stores in Europe and only the 2014 and 2016 vintages are available. (yeah I checked)
My phone was going out of battery, when I noticed they have outlets next to the table and WIFI! Awesome!
While charging my phone and enjoying that Grüner, The "Cep" came by. I was told that the chef thinks that this plate look more photogenic without the sauce. I didnt think so, both ways look so beautiful, with or without sauce.
This was a "Ragout" made out of pumpernickel and rye with boiled mustard seeds, pan fried cep chips and iced pearls of mustard. Drizzled with shaved chips and cream made of herbs from Uetliberg. Served with a cep sauce. (see first picture of the blogpost)
The "Ragout" is just something different, very soft and bready, feels like a sunflower risotto from Relæ I tried to cook at home) with a very subtle but delicious flavor of mustard. The cep mushrooms that they use are local unless there is not enough of them around, then they will import them from France.
Norwegian Lobster, Aha! Norwegian! it was fried and glazed, served together with tomato, seaweed cream, coriander and seaweed crisps. Swimming in a red curry sauce and sprinkled with chives.
This was a huge langoustine like the ones at Maaemo. It was perfectly made. The curry mixed with coriander did get a great mix of cultures Thai and Vietnamese, in my honest opinion.
A tiny difference between scandinavian restaurants and Ecco, was that no cooks come to the table to explain the dish. Though the waitress did and took the time to explain me every dish while I took fast notes. Very patient indeed.
Next wine was really really good and as one of my favorite bordeaux "Calon Segur", it was from a woman winemaker from the french part of Switzerland. Maria-Therese Chappaz's 2015 grand hermitage president troillet has a light gold color with a taste of candied fruits and sweet spices. it has a smooth finish, with notes of flowers.
Seared cod served with a bean cream compote with mussels covered with raw marinated sugar snap and "Ajo Blanco" and Savory and roasted almonds.
This dish is citrusy and fresh even though it is warm. The beans are surprisingly good. I'm not a fan of beans but they tasted great with the citrusy tone that made them very pleasant. The cod is perfectly cooked and the sugar snaps were a special touch to it.
Then came my favorite wine of the evening. I had 2 glasses cause it was soooooooo good. It was a 2013 Bricco del Bosco Vigne Vecchie made out of grignolino grapes (have you heard of those grapes?) from Piedmont, Italy.
Ruby Red with a complex perfume with notes of cardamom, nutmeg, rhubarb, on a bottom of flowers. It is very limited, about 1800 bottles.
This dish was a combination of different parts of veal from Grison. Baked sweetbread, braised and sliced head , braised tongue, cooked and braised chin with deep fried cauliflower, roasted cream and pan fried violet cauliflowers. Lovage cream on the side and puffed calfskin. The sauce was made out of calf with roasted cauliflower and lovage from Eichhof.
I was totally digging the lovage. I don't think I have ever tasted that herb. The sauce is very very strong and more "german". The sweetbread was so buttery and crunchy, haven't got such a good sweetbread in quite a while. This is the strongest flavored dish of the evening and remind me a little bit to my Vau experience back in Germany
And now the main dish. I chose the young venison from Tyrol instead of the Wagyu. It was a shoulder sauce with pickled plums, chervil root and liver, Over it, the pan-fried saddle with a mash chervil root and chips
Very tender and on my favorite rare medium doneness. The sauce was strong and sweet at the same time.
I loved the chervil root in three-ways like the Jerusalem in three-ways I got at Brasserie Paleo. You get the soft mash, saucy sauce and crunchy that complement the overall of the veal.
What a perfect mix of sweet and salty on the sauce, and the venison broth in the sauce gives the oomph it love to have.
Again the same red wine. And who isnt in love with Zalto glasses? so light, so elegant. Short note on my glass love
In a golden envelope, came a thick black paper booklet that explained the cheese I was served. The little booklet was great to know more about the origin and specs of the cheese. They were served with with nut & fruit bread.
All cheese was from Jumi. Check their website here
The first dessert. Americanello grapes in 3-ways. Awesome! Fresh grapes, grape cream and grape iced pearls with a sorbet made out of black walnuts, goat cheese cream and walnut earth.
Wow, just wow! This dessert was the bomb, I was surprised by the saltiness and freshness of it. So many elements and textures without being overwhelming. I can't believe the next one can top this one
The next and last dish and dessert from the menu. A chocolate mousse ball filled with apple compote served with 72% chocolate crumble, marinated apple in thin slices and with a worm of sorrel sorbet.
it was very close to the last one, very flavoursome. That sorbet was craziness! so good! I am now even a bigger fan of sorrel. The chocolate mousse was as delight. A lovely dessert but in my honest opinion, it didn't top the grape dessert.
And I thought I was done and there it comes an special dessert for me! Yay!!! Ice cream with ginger foam and ginger cake sprinkled with poppy seeds and a baked shortbread. Under it, gel citrus filets.
It smelled like ginger strongly. But I didnt expect the flavor once I tried it. It was an outburst of flavors with the right sparkle of ginger spiciness.
I am sorry for the last picture. The ice cream was actually perfect but I got distracted talking to the Chef. You know how chatty I get sometimes... only sometimes. *wink* *wink* This first bite was a caramel brioche with pear and black vanilla verbena.
The second bite was Duck foie gras in a brioche and shaved fennel. I love liver and foie gras and duck. so this was a big plus on my Ecco experience.
The third bite was a "one bite" praline made out of white chocolate, buttermilk and a juicy center of lime.. ahhh love the liquid inside.. like a cooler version of a key lime pie.
And the last bite and last dish of the evening. Cookie with pistachio and cassis, buttermilk and lime ice cream... I love cookies. Who doesnt?
And who is this handsome lad? It is Stefan Heilemann, Executive Chef from Ecco since 2015. And yes girls! he is german, Stuttgart-born to be exact. He spent many years acquiring his skills at the 3-Michelin-star Schwarzwaldstube in the Traube Tonbach hotel in Germany’s Black Forest. A couple of minutes away from my parents Inn. The Ecco was awarded two Michelin stars not long after he became head chef in 2015.
When the bill arrived, also a little goodbye surprise in a jewelry box tadaaaah! When i opened it is was a golden parfait. What a best memento to eat later at the bloggers hotel.
Overall this was my one of my favorite experiences in Europe. The food and ambiance was very similar to the other Michelin starred scandinavian restaurants. I totally recommend you to get a table when you are visiting Zürich, or if you live there. After this HUGE amount of food, I walked to my streetcar again and joined my fellow Food bloggers for a night cap. Check Maria & Sophias article on our "Food bloggers Class Trip" to Food Zürich.
Don´t forget to follow my Instagram account @twofoodieseating. I am always adding on my stories everything I eat and a special preview of what it will be in the blog. Like these 2 pictures while dining at Ecco and during Food Zürich.
This article was made in collaboration with Visit Zürich who brought me all the way from Berlin to the beautiful Zürich.
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...