überlin

Doggystyle: Emma and Doris

by Zoë Noble

Doggystyle Portrait
“I’m looking after Doris for a month.

I used to have dogs back in New Zealand, and eventually I’d like to get one here too. But back home you can have a garden and leave the back door open, and it’s a little more difficult over here. But if you’re used to having dogs, and put in the time and effort, it’s fine.

Doris is very calm, but then suddenly skits out, and gets really playful and excited. When she’s really excited, she can’t control her limbs and kind of looks like she’s having a spasm. She comes up and shakes and does this little T. rex move, and it’s really funny.

But she’s a really good family dog, really gentle, and gives lots of kisses. ”

Doggystyle Portrait

Doggystyle Portrait

Portrait: Pauline Hoch, Our/Berlin

by Guest Blogger

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by Emma Robertson

“Is it too early to start drinking?” I ask upon arrival at the Our/Berlin vodka distillery in Treptow. Luckily, Pauline Hoch, one-half of Paul Sanders, the marketing agency at the helm of Our/Berlin, doesn’t think so. Laughing, she fixes me a drink: their new tea-infused vodka, a splash of tonic, ice and a tendril of orange peel. “We were on an inspirational weekend with the team at a house in the countryside when the homeowner suggested we infuse the vodka with tea,” Pauline explains, “It was genius. Then a local tea company called Paper & Tea got in touch with us unexpectedly, and we were able to collaborate. It was an effortless partnership.” Such seems to be the way with Our/Berlin vodka: they emphasise not only a sense of local camaraderie and community, but a simple, homegrown aesthetic that is the very essence of their brand.

Our/Vodka got its start in Stockholm in 2013 when a group working with Pernod Ricard came up with the idea for a global brand with local roots. After looking in the nightclub and gastronomy industry in Berlin, the team met with the Paul Sanders Agency (run by Pauline and her partner Jon Sanders). The first of many effortless partnerships, I guess. With Berlin as its flagship city, the brand has since taken on Detroit, Amsterdam, London, and Seattle as its adoptive homes. Here, the brand has evolved from more than just a simple vodka manufacturer: the team hosts infusion workshops, dinner parties, cooking classes, art exhibitions, and happy hours. After a quick tour of the distillery’s facilities, I sat down with Pauline to talk simplicity, science, space, and of course, vodka.

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With wine, there is a very distinct process for evaluating and tasting. Is there a proper way to drink vodka?

Of course the Russians would say you have to drink a lot. (Laughs) Especially when you eat! I think our cultural standards are a little different here in Germany. We try to tell our customers that they should try the vodka pure and at room temperature so they can really appreciate the quality. Of course, it’s also okay to just mix it with a soft drink, Mineralwasser, or tonic. You don’t have to be an experienced bartender to make a nice drink!

And how do you drink it?

In summer, I like a strawberry margarita with vodka. But in the winter, we collaborate with Berliner Winter to make a kind of hot vodka drink with apple cider. It’s similar to a grog, and very delicious. I also really like it after dinner as a digestif, kind of like a grappa… But like I said, drinking it pure is the best way to appreciate it.

The taste is very subtle, which I think is rare for vodka.

Exactly — it’s very mild. I think vodka has a bad reputation because people think of the taste in a certain way…. Our/Vodka is not overpowering, there’s no real “flavour,” so to speak. Some people say it’s a bit lavender-ish, some say there’s a hint of lemon, but there’s nothing that we add in. We use German-local ingredients and purified Berlin Leitungswasser, so the recipe is really as simple as the concept itself. It’s funny because I have a lot of girlfriends that aren’t into drinking vodka, but they drink this vodka because it’s so smooth.

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Can you explain the science behind the distilling process? What exactly happens behind closed doors here?

I’ll give you the simplified version: here in the factory, we distill the aromatic fraction that gives the flavour to Our/Vodka. This is then blended together with wheat-based ethanol, which we import from Münster, and purified Leitungswasser. When we were initially sourcing our ethanol, we found that the quality here in Berlin and Brandenburg was too poor, so we ended up importing from Münster, which is working very well for us.

But otherwise, the Our/Vodka aesthetic is very local.

Definitely. We love the sense of community here in Berlin, but we’re also expanding the “global” part of the brand as well. We were the testers, the guinea pigs, the trial. And now, they opened up Our/Detroit and Our/Seattle, and Our/Amsterdam will be opening in October. The global aspect is coming more and more together, which is super nice because we were always feeling a little alone over here — we were the first European city for Our/Vodka, so we’re very much looking forward to having our sibling opening up in Europe.

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Is there a strong connection between all of the headquarters, or do you operate exclusively?

We definitely have a strong exchange with the teams all over the world. We have an internal communication tool, we talk about everything, we swap ideas, we review new materials together… We’ve actually become close friends with the team in Detroit. We really got to know them well, we’ve spent holidays over there and they showed us around the city!

I love Detroit so much. There’s such a huge sense of community over there… It reminds me a lot of Berlin, actually.

I think so too! There’s a lot of common ground between Detroit and Berlin. The decision to open up there was a huge one. People were like, “What?! Why Detroit?!” It seemed crazy that we would set up there because the economy is so bad but it’s working out so well. If you are actually the one to start something and develop it, you inspire the community and you can create something amazing.

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Why do you think Berlin was chosen to be the flagship city for Our/Vodka?

Berlin was the perfect choice for the first city because it’s still so young. It’s vibrant. We also have such a big nightclub and bar scene here…. The city is so attractive for a lot of people! This is where trends are set! I think there’s a preconception that everything that comes out of Berlin is cool. (Laughs)

Our/Vodka has set up shop in Berlin, Detroit, Seattle, London, Amsterdam… What’s the common denominator in all these cities?

I’ve asked the same question! It’s most important that the city is young in terms of its established markets… For example, they didn’t want to go to Portland: they went to Seattle instead. That’s not so obvious a choice but we did that because in Portland, there’s already a strong local community with a local brewery and distillery. It’s easier to cultivate this sense of community when you start it from the ground up. People are very open to new products in these cities — it’s very inspiring.

And what made you decide to open the distillery here in Treptow?

It was admittedly very hard to find the right space. It’s especially hard within the confines of the city because there’s a lot of building code requirements… But we found this place and we love it. It’s still in the city but it’s kind of isolated as well. We have a very vibrant surrounding here, there’s Club der Visionäre and the Badeschiff and White Trash and Arena Club all just around the corner. We’re very lucky.

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You mentioned these building code requirements. What kind of restrictions are there?

Have you ever seen a distillery explode? (Laughs) It basically just leaves a big hole in the ground. If the distillery explodes here, the entire area would be wiped out. It would look like Mars. (Laughs) So, we have to be very careful. In New York, they were fighting so hard to get the proper permits, they wanted to open the distillery actually within Manhattan — which they succeeded at, by the way; Our/New York will be the first distillery in Manhattan since prohibition times! So, yes, we’re very happy here, and lucky to be here.

I read that you guys brought on an engineer to customise the space as well.

Exactly. And there were a lot of rules. Of course — we’re in Germany! As it was the first distillery for the Our/Vodka project, it has to be made very properly. The laws are very strict! (Laughs) We had to keep in mind that we needed an area to host events, but also a working office space, and a storage space for the dry goods that we use for packaging and bottling and labels and that kind of thing. The best part is this nice roll gate that you can pull up in the summertime, there’s a nice breeze and so much natural light.

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That’s so nice because, for me, space really affects my creativity.

Absolutely. When we have the doors wide open in the summer, there’s no boundary between customers, visitors, and us. It also helps creativity flow, helps us find new ideas… Because it’s so open, you can move around, you can go outside when you get sick of sitting in front of the computer… This area is so full of creative people, too. We spend almost more time chatting with our amazing neighbours than we do inside working! (Laughs)

It definitely doesn’t feel like your typical office here.

It was important for us to have a space where people and also our team feel comfortable. It’s a vodka distillery, but it shouldn’t have the feeling of an office. We want to be very open. We want a space where people feel they can just drop by and have a drink. We want people to be comfortable here. That’s what we’re trying to achieve. Just like we have the name on the bottle, we really want to make this Our Berlin.

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Portrait: Recyclemented

by Guest Blogger

jacquie and clement standing against rusty backdrop

by Emma Robertson

For Clement Jeannesson and Jacquie Kappl, furniture construction is a labour of love. Their design company, Recyclemented, is less than a year old; although in many ways it’s still a hobby, the pair is working tirelessly to build it up into a fully-fledged career, one palette at a time. Using found wood, discarded materials and (especially) old EuroPalettes, Clement and Jacquie are giving new life to Berlin’s forsaken and forgotten: the result is strikingly unique furniture, each with its own twist on the traditional.

Clement and Jacquie, originally from France and Germany respectively, started Recyclemented in Melbourne, Australia. “We moved to the Gold Coast and we were pretty poor at the time,” Jacquie explains. “We had an apartment but we had no furniture, so we started building stuff out of bits and pieces we found on the side of the road. At some point, we had like seven tables in our place!”

It’s become something of a Cinderella story since they relocated to Berlin at the beginning of this year; although Clement has a history in mechanics and steelwork, both are self-taught woodworkers, picking up the tricks of the trade through YouTube videos, online tutorials, and good old trial-and-error. We caught up with Clement and Jacquie at their studio in Lichtenberg to talk upcycling, working in Berlin, and how passion drives creativity.

recyclemented banner

What is more important as a designer, form or function?

Clement Jeannesson: Function, for sure! Function is better because if you make a chair that looks beautiful but you can’t sit on it, what’s the point?

Jacquie Kappl: He always lectures me on that one! (Laughs) I have all these ideas, “We have to do this! We can make it like that!” but then Clement comes in, “Nope. It’s not sehr gut.” (Laughs)

CJ: Well, it has to be useful! What are you going to do with it? We’re selling furniture first. It’s an art piece in the end — it’s beautiful, sure, but it’s furniture. It has to serve its purpose. It can be a nice table but it has to work.

JK: I have a lot of ideas. I’m the dreamer of the two of us. For Clement, it’s more about actually putting the ideas to paper.

working on different elements

Where do you come up with your best ideas?

CJ: For me it’s non-stop! Everywhere I go! It’s 24/7 for me. When I’m at work, I get ideas and I can just take them and run with it. I’m a bit obsessed with being creative, trying to come up with more ideas, more and more and more, and then — the best part — actually turning them into something.

JK: Clement is teaching me to come up with my ideas before I come to work, to bring them to the shop and then work on them here instead of wasting time sitting around thinking. It actually really is helpful because at the start, I wasn’t doing that. I’d just come in, sit here, turn around the wood, thinking, looking at everything…

CJ: We don’t have a lot of materials so that affects us creatively. We’re never going to do 12 of the same table, for example, because I’m never going to be able to find 12 of the same kind of wood! So, every time it’s a bit of a challenge because you have to make it work with what you’ve got. But the more we do it, the easier it gets. It’s never boring.

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Do you ever get tired of that challenge, though?

JK: I don’t know. It’s extra challenging and at the same time, it isn’t. It appeals to a customer that wants something unique. But at the end of the day, there’s a style they’re asking for so you can’t always give them exactly that because you’re tied to the types of wood you find…

CJ: It’s also difficult because you don’t want to do something too unique every time.

It’s a fine balance, I guess. If people wanted cookie-cutter furniture, they’d go to IKEA.

JK: Exactly. Plus, in terms of what we’re doing, we don’t have a lot of competition at the moment. If there’s anyone else doing recycled material furniture with our same style, we haven’t heard of it.

Is it necessary to push boundaries like that when you’re working in a field that is so traditional?

CJ: I have to say, this job has been here forever! Before steel, before everything, woodworking was always here. So, yes, if you don’t do something a little bit different, you don’t exist.

JK: Especially in Berlin where there are so many artists, it’s not just doing something different, but doing something good. You have to be amazing. More than exceptional. People have to recognise you, you have to have a signature where people can see, Oh, this is Recyclemented. It’s good because it challenges us. We like a challenge. It’s on, IKEA!

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Where do you find the wood you use? This part of Lichtenberg seems like it would be a good place to find discarded wood. Do you go on missions to find material?

CJ: Not really. It’s just become a natural part of our day-to-day life. If we see something, we stop and pick it up.

JK: We’ve got a big truck! (Laughs) We do buy some materials though, the products that give the finishing touches and hardware that will make the furniture last longer. We want to provide a high quality piece. The idea is to sell products that are quality — that’s really important.

CJ: Like you said, in this area near our studio space, there’s always a lot of scraps and pieces that would go to waste normally. There are a lot of businesses here, a lot of construction areas that produce a lot of waste.

Would your work have as much personality if you were using wood that was brand new?

JK: Well, it wouldn’t be the same fun, that’s for sure. It would definitely lose a lot of the personality if we bought the wood. It wouldn’t be Recyclemented.

CJ: We love this concept, using old to make new. Everything comes from everything, for us. It’s part of the adventure and an important part of the end product. We’ll name the piece after the street corner where we found the palette. (Laughs) You know exactly where it comes from that way. Better than going to IKEA and you have no idea where it comes from.

JK: This was a good initiative for us at the start because we didn’t have money to buy furniture. This was a great way for us to be able to have the things we need and create this new lifestyle for ourselves.

working together

Would you say that Berlin is the right city for this kind of design? Are people responsive to your style?

JK: This whole “upcycling” trend is going really well in Berlin, so yes, people are very responsive to what we make. People are becoming more and more conscious in a way, of living and of the environment. There’s definitely a market for it. You just need to find your spot there, and have a voice. That’s what we’re working on.

Was that eco-friendly nature of Recyclemented something that’s always been important to you?

JK: In the beginning, it was more important to me than to Clement. I’m the hippie in this relationship! (Laughs) But he’s the one who actually got into the knowledge behind it! Certain palettes for example, are treated with toxins. You know how eggs have a serial number to show which is free-range, which is factory farmed and stuff? It’s the same with palettes, they’re stamped in the same way for which ones are treated and which are not. We need to know this stuff because people put our furniture in their living spaces.

Wow, I didn’t know that.

JK: You have to be careful, and not everyone is. I don’t know if it’s a money issue here in Berlin that the eco-friendly thing hasn’t picked up as much, but in Australia, it’s huge already. I think it can only grow from here! We see more and more the effects of what’s happening if we don’t take care of the planet, you know? It sounds cheesy but we have to be behind that if we want to keep this planet together. Small things make a difference!

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Do you worry that furniture from recycled material will go out of style?

JK: No. It’s still pretty new in Berlin, it’s only starting to become a big trend. I think we’re starting at the right moment. The downside is that because the palettes are becoming trendy… You’ve seen it in front of cafés, they make this simple bench out of bottle crates and a piece of wood, right? They call that recycled or upcycled furniture. And that makes it hard for us, because when people hear about our stuff, they have that pre-existing notion of it as this pile of junk on the sidewalk.

CJ: We do use the palette as the first material but, in the end, it doesn’t look like a palette! That’s the whole point!

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Even with your unique style, would you say there’s a lot of competition? I always see homeware and furniture out at the markets and stuff…

JK: It depends on what kind of markets you go to. There are the design markets, where the people are coming specifically to buy furniture and big pieces for the home… But then there’s Mauerpark where the tourists go, so they don’t buy furniture, obviously.

CJ: They just want to have a look and have a stroll on a Sunday, which is nice — we like to do that too. A lot of people at the markets want to go for a bargain, they want stuff really cheap because they can get it for those prices at Mauer. That’s not such a good location for us.

JK: Five euro for a handmade shelf? (Laughs) Get out!

CJ: They all want vintage! It’s big in Berlin, so everyone wants the vintage at flea markets like Mauerpark… We’re not fans of it at all! Sometimes it’s just old junk that’s labelled vintage, and because it’s so trendy, people really look for it at the flea markets. But at the design markets and some of the other pop-ups, people love to pass by our stall and look at the furniture, take photos and stuff.

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I love going to the markets, but I never buy furniture there because I have no way of getting it home!

JK: Exactly, we get a lot of requests because of that. People who come by bike or on the Bahn, they have no way to transport a table back to their flat.

CJ: It’s been a good learning experience. The first markets we did, we brought all the big tables and the big shelves but eventually we started to build a few smaller pieces, accessories, and things like the triangle shelves that are easier to transport.

It seems like this has all been a good learning experience for you.

CJ: Of course. We start from scratch with the wood. No one has taught us these techniques, we learn everything from trying, from doing. There’s a lot of pieces and I’m getting prouder and prouder of what I’m doing. We can see ourselves improving, and that’s a good sign I think.

Follow Recyclemented on Facebook and Instagram, and check out their designs on their website.Use the offer code “Überlin” when you contact them to get 10% off! (offer good through to the end of 2015).

finished recyclemented piece of furniture

Doggystyle: Dicki and Gina

by James Glazebrook

Doggystyle Portrait in Berlin, Germany on August 29, 2015. Photo: Zoë Noble

“Gina is an English Bulldog, and she’s one year and five months old.

She’s really cool, but she can’t walk very far – so I built her this bike.”

Doggystyle Portrait in Berlin, Germany on August 29, 2015. Photo: Zoë Noble

 

 

Doggystyle: Rocco and Timo

by Zoë Noble

 

Doggystyle Portrait Streetstyle in Berlin

“This is Timo. He’s a Brussels Griffon.

I’ve never had a pet before who I could take almost everywhere – it’s great! The best part of having a dog is probably the cuddles, and the worst part is definitely the poops.

Timo is generally quite happy, despite having an exaggerated underbite that makes him look grumpy. And he loves big dogs… it’s really cute when he stands up on his hind legs and rests his front paws on their face.”

Doggystyle Portrait in Berlin of Dog Timo

Doggystyle Portrait in Berlin Timo in Rocco's arms

Doggystyle: Paco and Damen

by James Glazebrook

Doggystyle American Staffordshire Terrier Portrait in Berlin, Germany on August 07, 2015. Photo: Zoë Noble

“Damen is an Amstaff (American Staffordshire Terrier) and he’s five years old.

It’s too hot for him in summer, but he’s still happy. He loves to swim.”

Doggystyle American Staffordshire Terrier Portrait in Berlin, Germany on August 07, 2015. Photo: Zoë Noble

Portrait: Layne Mosler, the Taxi Gourmet

by James Glazebrook

portrait Layne Mosler
When you meet Layne Mosler for dinner, chances are that she found out about the place from a taxi driver. Back in 2007, she started a blog called Taxi Gourmet, based on one simple, genius idea: she would get in a taxi, ask the driver to go to to his or her favourite place to eat, and and document the adventure, culinary and otherwise. After years of adventures in New York, Buenos Aires and Berlin, Layne recently turned the blog into a book, Driving Hungry: A Memoir.

We caught Layne on the week of the book’s release, just before she flew back to America for a short promotional tour. It was Eid, at the end of Ramadan, so we asked Layne to take us to her favourite places around Berlin’s “Little Istanbul” in Kreuzberg. We found her at Konyali, an unassuming restaurant directly on Kottbusser Tor, enjoying some of their homemade yoghurt drink, ayran.

portrait kottbusser tor food Layne Mosler

So how did you find out about Konyali?

Funnily enough, it was about this time five years ago, around Ramadan. I got into a taxi with a driver named Eren, who brought me here because this is the only place in Berlin which makes ekmek. Similar to Turkish pizza, it’s baked in a brick oven, and comes from Eren’s home village near Konya. This is one of my favourite places to eat, and it’s cheap!

Were taxi drivers open to sharing their food secrets with you?

Yes! This was my first summer in Berlin, when I didn’t speak any German, and the Turkish taxi drivers were very sympathetic to that. We signed our way, and muddled through with English, and they took me to all these places that I still go back to now.

They were very excited about me wanting to eat where they ate. When you ask someone about food, you’re creating an automatic connection. When you talk about their food, not where they think you want to eat, you can have an intimate conversation in a short period of time. A taxi ride is very fleeting – you have to quickly get to the nitty gritty.

When did you start exploring cities’ food scenes in this way?

The Taxi Gourmet project started when I lived in Buenos Aires – it couldn’t have been born anywhere else. I was dancing tango, so I had to get around town at very odd hours, and the taxis are so cheap.

The drivers there are so forthcoming and so charming, and they have these spectacular stories. You just have to nudge them and they come out with these philosophies and tales – whether they’re true or not, I don’t know, but they’re very entertaining. I was finding that I learnt more about the city during taxi rides than in any other context.

And the Buenos Aires taxi drivers know all the best places to eat?

Some of them. At the time, most of the taxi drivers were Argentinian, so 90% of the time, they would take me to a steak house. And I was running out of adjectives to describe beef!

I also knew that I wasn’t going to be in Buenos Aires forever, so I started thinking about cities that have really well developed taxi and food cultures, and I decided to see what would happen if I transplanted the project to New York.

And how were your New York taxi adventures?

It was difficult at first. Cabbies would be like, “you don’t know where you want to go?!” Most people in New York have an agenda, taxi drivers included. So I ended up having to give the drivers a fake destination, usually a straight shot of 40 blocks or so, and then when we were having a conversation, slip in the question of where to eat.

Then I ended up meeting these two women who drove taxis in New York. One is this fierce Nuyorican woman who wears brass knuckles, drives at night and beats up men who beat up women. But she’s the sweetest thing, who wears her shitzu like a stole around her neck – and she just blew me away. And, not long after that, I met this very petite, purple-clad cab driver who was also going to nursing school part time. We got to talking, and I thought, “If she can drive a cab, I could drive a cab.”

I studied anthropology, and I like the idea participant observation, and realised that I was reaching the upper limit of my understanding from the back seat of a taxi. So I decided to get my cab licence.

How was life as a New York cabbie?

It was terrifying! The first time I drove through the city was in a cab, and I didn’t do it long enough to lose the fear. Plus, because of the taxi lease fee, I walked away from my first shift with two dollars. Pretty early on I realised: this is going to be research.

Within the first three hours, I realised how preposterous it was to ask a New York cab driver where he or she likes to eat on duty. I used to be disappointed when they replied “I eat wherever there’s parking and a bathroom”. But then I found myself eating at Dunkin’ Donuts… because there was parking and a bathroom! Very quickly, I stopped romanticising the job.

But it was really lovely to meet people that I wouldn’t have in my normal day-to-day life. We make assumptions about people within seconds, but there would be at least one person per shift who would just defy my expectations. Being reminded over and over again, that all of our assumptions are absurd, was a good thing.

portrait kottbusser tor food Layne Mosler

After her American experiment, Layne found herself in Berlin for the first time. “I felt an immediate affinity with the city,” she says. “Doors were opening, and people were interested in my project, despite the fact that this isn’t known as a ‘food city’…”

One of those doors opened onto the passenger side of a taxi whose driver would go on to play a big part in Layne’s extended stay in Germany. In fact, our next stop, Leylak on Kottbusser Strasse, was originally the recommendation from this very taxi driver. “I haven’t found better börek in Berlin – it’s my husband’s favourite.”

food portrait borek

How did you meet your husband?

He read about my taxi adventures, and found them really interesting. He got in touch, describing himself as “a little gourmet”, and offered to give me a tour in his taxi, and show me some places he liked – especially because I hadn’t yet tried any German food.

I got a good feeling from his email, so we arranged to meet at his taxi cab. When he turned around I went, (voice quivering) “Oh…” Because he was quite beautiful, and I wasn’t expecting that at all. And then we got to talking about Berlin, about how he had danced on the Wall when it came down, and how the city has changed, and his relationship to it, and about books and philosophy… And I was really quite fascinated from the get-go.

And then I went back to New York, and on a whim invited him out for a visit. So he came out for a week and, among other things, rode along in the cab with me for a shift, which was great. I moved back to Berlin six months later, and have been here ever since.

I’m still very much in love with Berlin, in a way that I haven’t been with any other city I’ve lived in.

Even though this isn’t a “food city”?

Well, whenever I’ve found myself in more upscale restaurants, I’ve been disappointed. So far I’ve never found anything particularly sublime or mind-blowing, and when I’m paying €30 to €50 – and I’m used to paying €10 – I think it should be pretty close to sublime.

But what’s interesting is that are all these young chefs are coming to Berlin, not only because it’s cheaper to open a restaurant, but also because there’s room for experimentation and the public isn’t quite as demanding.

Just this year, a handful of young experimental cooks have come to the city to try their luck, and we’re starting to see the development of a food consciousness. However, they are going up against the mentality that the most important thing is to be full for very little money.

james and Layne Mosler at kottbusser tor

So what are your favourite places to eat in Berlin?

Well there’s this place, Leylak. I love how there are always people sitting around here and shooting the breeze. It’s nice, too, that a corner place has such good food.

My very first taxi adventure in Berlin was with a woman who moonlighted as a naturopath, and she loves Italian food. She told me about this place in Schöneberg called Muntagnola which looks really kitschy and touristy, with a menu in four languages and a sculpture of a fat chef by the door. But it’s owned by this family from Basilicata, who specialise in authentic dishes from that region.

Another taxi driver, who’s a part-time techno musician, took me to Balikci Ergun under the Tiergarten S-Bahn tracks. It started out a fish store, where the owner would make lunch for his family – until someone persuaded him to open a restaurant. It’s just like being at a fish bazaar in Istanbul – it’s really warm, and a lovely place to hang out. It’s a great, great place.

Then there’s the next place we’re going to, the Adana Grill-Haus, a tip from a taxi driver from that part of Turkey. Turkish cuisine is very complex, and every region has it’s own thing going on. I never would have discovered that on my own.

food meat turkish portrait

You’re about to go on a short tour of the US to promote your book, Driving Hungry. Do you plan to incorporate some taxi adventures into your trip?

Oh, absolutely. When I land somewhere, I feel overwhelmed. This is a way to cut through everything, and get to something democratic; something that someone has a relationship with.

I don’t feel really grounded in a place until I’ve had a conversation with a cab driver.

Portrait of Layne Mosler