So, I’m closing this year early. There’ll be one more thing coming tomorrow (or next week), and then that’s it before the new year. Here are seven places I’ve eaten at in the past two weeks, from one of my fav Chinese places, to some possibly detoxing greens, really good breakfast and pastry, and not so great pastry (that everyone else seems to love, though…). I’ve also dared going into one of those places I thought were only for tourists and have been pleasantly surprised! Read on to find out more. Have some happy holidays, eat whatever and how much you like, have a great slide into the new year (translated a German saying here), and see you again fresh and hungry in 2019!
Many people’s fav of the year is venturing even more into patisserie, last time I went, I couldn’t help but try the above pictured beauty. Flaky pastry filled with cream and roasted haselnuts. While I can’t overlook how this one still needs some work (the pastry was a bit too tough), I’m super excited where they’re heading in the next year. And equally pleased if they keep their classics’ quality up at the same time. Has someone tried that carrot cake posing in the fridge behind the counter? I will before the year is over.
The breakfast chefs at Hallesches Haus are doing a very fine scrambled egg – silky and smooth, not crumbly and dry. Served with herbal butter, pickled onions and a chunky slice of Sironi bread. It’s consistently good any time I went, which I can’t say of many breakfast places. Holidays are a really busy time for them, so I look forward to enjoying this treat again in January.
10961 Berlin Kreuzberg
Da Jia Le
Isn’t it kinda funny how all the cool kids are now celebrating their birthdays and Christmas parties here? I totally get it, the interior is pleasing to the Gen Z eye with its neon green wall color and bright neon lighting, but also cosy enough with its giant round tables with lazy Susan’s in the center. And the food! It makes sense to show up with more than 5 people because then you get to try much more! Always order the tofu skin salad, but also the silky tofu with green onions (or the smoked tofu with coriander, or all of it), the Sichuan stylet fried sliced potatos, the fried potato wedges with eggplant and pepper, the eggplant hot pot and the Sichuan style tofu and all the other dishes on the menu. My meat-eating friends also always go for the fried chicken fillet with chilis in Sichuan style, partly because it’s served in a plastic wicker basket.
When one of my friends wanted to throw his partner a surprise birthday brunch, this one was my first suggestion. Not mainly but also because of their delicious morning cocktails, the Bloody Mary is exceptional, so well mixed and fruity and spicy at the same time. Liquid breakfast, if you want. The other reason is that despite it’s slightly over-styled interior (that makes it look like a tourist-trap, to be frank), the brunch food is really, really good. Everything is well done, the ingredients are of high quality and the portions are very, very generous. This time, I wanted to try something different and went for the fritters with zucchini and chickpeas. And while I can see what thought went into the dish, I didn’t think it was working – the fritters were too big and thus still pretty mushy inside and the whole plate with heaps of salad a bit too raw for my taste. However, my friend had the breakfast tacos which I’ll definitely order next time. The topping is delicious, just rather too much because one really can’t eat it like a taco, the shells are buried below roasted mushrooms, avo and more. But I’m not sure, is that a valid complaint?!
Rosenthaler Straße 1
10119 Berlin Mitte
Mon – Thu 07:30–24:00,
Zeit für Brot
Every once in a while, I re-test things I previously didn’t really like, just to see whether that changed. This is one of those cases, fueled by the fact that Zeit für Brot’s cinnamon buns are a real hit – people luv them. And luv to show them off on the ‘gram. Unfortunately, I never agreed with the hype. I always thought the bake is unbalanced with very dry parts on the outside, and doughy, undone parts inside. I’ve also never been a fan of the very present flavour of yeast, probably due to the rather raw center, although I know some people who like that especially. However, I tried it again a couple days ago, didn’t like it again. The mouthfeel isn’t right, the flavour doesn’t make up for it, and overall it’s just not my thing. Just so you know.
Zeit für Brot, Eberswalder Str. 26, Prenzlauer Berg
After testing the bun, I went for what some people think is the opposite: a green smoothie. I’m aware they’re not as super as they’re marketed, but it’s still a nice and fruity treat from time to time. The Juicery has been around for some years, they now also do structured water and play classical music to their wheatgrass cultivation, otherwise they’re serving delicious fruity smoothie and juice treats. Considering you’re getting a full on fruit salad on top of your mashed greens, 4.90 seems like an okay price for 0.3l? But then I’m really not up to date with Berlin’s green eating scene.
The Juicery, Eberswalder Str. 2, Prenzlauer Berg
Okay, here comes the bias. I’ve never went to Umami before because their overwhelming decor made me cancel it as a tourist spot for those Germans coming to Berlin to finally experience some “Asian food”. One cold, rainy and hungry afternoon, this Indochinese place was our best option and while I haven’t been entirely converted into a fan, I must admit it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it’d be. It’s actually rather good! Yeah, the menu is extensive and some come with magically phrased titles (my lemongrass-marinated soy-and-seitan slices were called “Monk’s Lunch” other names are, Silky River, Pearl on Spoon or Noir Plasir), but the food is fresh and flavourful. And I’ll be back to try that pho!
Maison Umami, Schlesische Straße 5, Kreuzberg