Helle's Kitchen in Berlin
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
Last Bulmers recipe of this week, "the main dish”. This is one of my favourite recipes. When you think of a Fricassee, you would probably think of that Fricassee de Poulet a L’Ancienne… a very French comfort food between a saute and a stew. But in my case I think of a warm English homemade food. You might be thinking I got it all wrong and I am a bit crazy. So I may have to explain a little bit:
When I was a kid, I spend a lot of time at my grandparents home. My grandmothers family is French and my granddads, English. So a mix in the cuisine was for sure in every meal. Fricassee is made with dry white wine, but if you have some cider lovers around, (some with a sweet tooth) it will be made with cider. Cider is originally from England (after the romans brought it when they colonised) and as apples grow very fast there, it was the perfect setting for the beginning of production of this golden drink. So you can now do the math: Grandpa’s love for cider and Grandmas fricassee. The perfect English French love child.
1 whole chicken (2kg) fresh or unfrosted
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 yellow onion, diced.
1 big carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
250gr brown mushrooms
3 tbsp potato starch (glutenfree)
1 1/4 cup Bulmers Pear Cider
1 liter chicken fond
5 bay leafs
3 egg yolks
125ml heavy cream (30% fat or more)
fresh lime juice.
Divide Chicken into 10 pieces: Legs, thighs, wings and 4 breast pieces. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Use a Dutch oven if you have one. If not, use a large pot. Add the oil and 2 tbsp butter and fry the chicken skin side down until golden and turn. Don’t crowd your pot! Just fry your chicken and set aside and add more chicken until you are done. Leave the chicken on the side.
Reduce heat and add the diced vegetables. let them there until they are golden and a bit transparent… about 10 minutes in a Dutch oven.
Bulmers Pear cider aka Perry is made from fermented apples but with pear flavour. Either way, it is a Pear elixir you can use instead of wine for the preparation of many desserts or savory meals.
Add the mushrooms and let them get darker. They will release some water. Add the starch and stir until all the starch is incorporated. Pour the cider while whisking.. it will get thick very fast. Add the broth and keep stirring. Return the chicken and its juices back to the pot.
Why I chose Bulmers Pear cider? I wish I had invented the chicken-pear match in heaven, but this was made loooong time ago as it compliments the white meats with its fruit subtlety. You can go hours in google reading all the great recipes using this two ingredients, from salads and stews to terrines and pattées. So Bulmers Pear cider was my weapon of choice.
Tie your herbs with a natural twine and bring the fricassee to boil and reduce to simmer. Cover the half of the pot with a lid and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. If you have a thermometer, check that the inside of the chicken is at 70C. Remove chicken again. And let it boil for 10 more minutes.
Now let´s make this baby thick and creamy! In a bowl, whisk the yolks and cream. Keep whisking and add slowly the cooking liquid from the pot. half a cup. And then add this mix with the yolks and cream back to the pot. Return the chicken to the pot, add a tbsp of butter and add some lime juice.
Put this single pot fricassee on the middle of the table as well as rice. That silky sauce it’s a killer combined with a well cooked grainy rice. Get some glasses, add some ice cubes and pour some pear cider on them. Fricassee is hot hot hot and Bulmers Pear will refresh you.
As the second part of my Bulmers week, I decided to go all vegan. Quinoa is a very usual ingredient in our kitchen. There isn’t a Peruvian household without it.
Many people don’t know about red quinoa though. Red Quinoa is a more crunchy and exotic kind of it. Normally cooked with broth or water but why not Cider.
When I think of Cider, everyone thinks of apple cider with ice in a summer day, but not about a cooking ingredient, and less a vegan ingredient.
Most ciders aren’t vegan. they have honey on them or other animal ingredients. Since 2017, Bulmers ciders are vegan (thank god!) I used the Red Berries Bulmers for this dish.
You would think that this cider is only made with berries, but is indeed an apple cider mixed with red berries and cut with a refreshing taste of lime.
350 ml Bulmers Red Berries Cider
1 cup of Red Quinoa
2 cups fresh Baby Spinach
1 fresh Apple
1/2 cup Roasted Walnuts
1 Sweet Potato
For the Dressing:
3 tbsp Bulmers Red Berries Cider
2 tbsp Cider Vinegar
1 tbsp pomegranate juice
60 ml Olive oil (1/4 cup)
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 180C. In a small pot add the quinoa, cider and a bit of salt and bring it to boil. Reduce heat to minimum and close the lid. Let it simmer for 20 minutes. This is the caramelization process.
A very interesting fact about using cider while cooking is the caramelization. Because of all the natural fruits, cider contains a certain amount of sugar. When a liquid with sugar is slowly cooked, it will caramelize in the same way those Xmas nuts are roasted with sugar. Instead of boiling the quinoa with water or broth to obtain some flavor, I boiled it with just cider. The quinoa ended up soft inside and crunchy on the outside with an exquisite sugary flavor with some hints of berries. Try caramelizing other food, like slow-cooked pork for the meat lovers or sprinkled over some cheese before baking.
Toss the sweet potatoes in a baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil and some salt. Bake for 17 minutes. Now the quinoa and potatoes are baking and simmering, and we will start the dressing.
Normally I wouldn’t double an ingredient in a recipe, but as I used cider to make the quinoa tasty, I could as well use the same cider for my dressing. I thought of using a vinaigrette to lower the sweetness of the quinoa, the acidity of it played a big role here. Bulmers Red Berries is sweet but the apples and lime bring out that acidity point I was looking for. I added some extra vinegar to make the emulsion though… as chemistry will always be chemistry… wink wink
Soooo, for this vinaigrette dressing add all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth, season with some salt.
When the quinoa is done, put it in a bowl and fluff it a bit with a fork and let it cool a bit. Add the pomegranate, parsley and add some spoons of the dressing. Mix well
In a bed of fresh baby spinach, add a couple of scoops of the quinoa and garnish with sweet potatoes and the ciders main ingredient: Fresh red apples. Sprinkle some walnuts and add a bit of the dressing over it. Enjoy best with some cold Bulmers Red Berries. I promise it won’t be too much.
As I said before, each ingredient has its own flavor: Caramel, acid and fresh cold berries. Now hurry and make it at home and enjoy in one of these warm summer nights!
Apple Pie Cocktail
As I have been telling you in Instagram, this is the Bulmers Week on the blog! Bulmers is my favorite brand of Cider and you can see how much I love it if you follow my Insta-Stories. I can't drink beer anymore since I have Celiac Disease, so cider became my drink of choice, and let's face it, it tastes way better than beer. Cider is an alcoholic drink made from apples mostly served with ice cubes, but why be so dull and not create an awesome cocktail?
Imagine your favorite dessert in a drink.... One of my favorite desserts is apple pie, but with this heat I wouldnt even dare to eat a hot apple pie. So how to get that flavor in my mouth without melting more than I am now? Let´s make an Apple Pie Cocktail!!!! For that I need some Cider... a big tasty apple cider, like Bulmers Original.
What you need:
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1 Cinnamon Stick per drink
Moscato Wine (white)
Bulmers Apple Cider... lots of it
Fresh Red Apples to garnish.
Apple Pie is normally made with dough, Apples, Sugar and Cinnamon. So i decided to start this recipe making some Cinnamon Sugar. This is pretty simple: Add Sugar and Cinnamon in a blender or food processor until the sugar gets a bit smaller and mixes with the cinnamon powder. Wait before you open the blender... Cinnamon powder is crazy ;)
Use tall glasses or wine glasses. Cut one of your apples in 8 pieces and wet the glass rim with a slice and dip the glass into the cinnamon sugar.
Add 4 ice cubes to each glass and pour 4 cl of vanilla vodka in each glass and then fill half of your glass with moscato wine.
Top with Bulmers Original sparkling apple cider and serve with apple slices and a cinnamon stick. You will taste apple pie in every sip you take... And for the ones that doesn't know, those sunshine ripened apples, give not only that beautiful color but a sweet, sweet taste! Enjoy!
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...