überlin

Feliu

by James Glazebrook

Feliu restaurant menu

If anyone ever asks where we could see ourselves living, if we weren’t in Berlin, our answer is always: Barcelona. Fortunately for us, the team behind the popular Neukölln tapas bar Gaston have opened up a new restaurant nearby, which brings Catalonian cuisine to (nearly!) our doorstep. Feliu is a charming, rustic restaurant next to AKA on Pflügerstrasse, which serves up  a contemporary twist on classic Mediterranean food, in warm, candlelit surroundings.

We were treated to a selection from their seasonal menu, starting with roasted aubergine in miso vinaigrette and manchego cured cheese, and mouth-watering red tuna tataki with fresh green and white asparagus and wasabi mayonnaise. The centrepiece of the meal, and the pride of Feliu’s menu, was the seafood fideuà – a Catalan version of paella which substitutes vermicelli noodles for rice, and features some of the most sumptuous shellfish we’ve ever tasted in Berlin. (Speaking of paella, some Sundays are paella day – follow Feliu on Facebook to find out when.) We recommend visiting Feliu in summer, while the (sometimes!) sunny weather matches the fresh Mediterranean flavours on offer at this welcoming, delightful restaurant.

Feliu restaurant

Feliu restaurant amuse bouche

Feliu restaurant candles

Feliu restaurant red tuna tataki

Feliu restaurant black and white photo

Feliu restaurant Seafood fideuà

Feliu restaurant typewriter

Photos by Zoë Noble Photography.

Brasserie Le Faubourg at Hotel Concorde

by James Glazebrook

Even with Berlin’s underwhelming culinary reputation, we expected our first meal at one of the city’s five star hotels to be one of the best we’ve ever had. And sure enough, a couple of times during our dinner at Hotel Concorde’s Brasserie Le Faubourg I wanted to cry – not when our picks from the Schnapps trolley hit my throat, but as I experienced the pure pleasure of tasting something perfect, and perfectly new. After arriving at the beautiful west Berlin hotel, just off Kurfürstendamm, we eschewed the enticing “collection culinaire” and seasonal Spargel selection in favour of creating our own menu, with my choices fuelled by a craving for decent fish!

Brasserie Le Faubourg ray wings

My curiosity led me to the lobster latte macchiato, a rich bisque presented as (mmmm) a glass of coffee, and the surprisingly delicious ray wings with parsley root risotto, radish and lemon fumée. But it was Zoë who picked the dish of the evening – narrowing down the impressive dessert selection to a deconstructed carrot cake, served with yoghurt ice cream and mascarpone, which was one of the best sweet things either of us have ever tasted. As one would expect from a five star establishment, dinner at Hotel Concorde’s French-inspired brasserie is best reserved for a special occasion, but, to be blunt, we’ve eaten far less enjoyable meals that cost much more money. At the risk of being overly sentimental, allow me to choke back the tears as I exclaim that the meal we ate at Brasserie Le Faubourg is the best we’ve ever eaten in Berlin.

Brasserie Le Faubourg lobster latte macchiato

Brasserie Le Faubourg Schnapps

Brasserie Le Faubourg Schnapps 2

Brasserie Le Faubourg carrot cake

Chipps Deluxe

by James Glazebrook

Chipps deluxe menu

Chipps holds a special place in our hearts, as the first decent brunch spot we found in Berlin, and the team (also behind Cookies club and Cookies Cream restaurant) has recently extended its daytime offerings into the evening. Chipps Deluxe is a set menu of four delicious courses, presented with optional matched wines, and with or without meat – for the veggies!  It’s tough to pick our highlights from one of the most cohesive and well-rounded menus we’ve tasted in ages, as we loved everything, from the starter of two types of cauliflower with quail’s egg, beetroot and tarragon, to the delicious dessert of rhubarb mousse with strawberry-mint ragout… and chocolate popping candy! The menu changes each month, and we’ve been a little slow getting this article up(!), so we have no idea what is in store when you visit, but our advice would be this: go hungry, because the portions are surprisingly generous. Guten Appetit!

Chipps deluxe starter

Chipps deluxe soup

Chipps deluxe main course

Chipps deluxe dessert

Read all about our first visit, and see photos of Chipps’ stylish interior here.

ULA Berlin

by James Glazebrook

ULA Berlin dining room

Whatever your misgivings about the gentrification of Berlin, one obvious upside is that upscale restaurants are fast opening in the city. One of the most recent is ULA Berlin, a modern Japanese restaurant and bar with an intriguing menu and an enviable sake selection.

ULA Berlin sign

Once we had been welcomed inside the handsomest dinner spot we’ve been to in Berlin, we admired the warmly-lit dark wood interior while supping on distinctive, Eastern-influenced cocktails. Zoë enjoyed a smooth Asian Tonic (vodka, ginger ale, tonic, St. Germain, lemongrass stirrer), but the highlight was my Basil Smasch – gin with lemongrass, sugar syrup and basil. The Kubota sake we were then served was refreshing and sweet, whetting our appetites nicely.

ULA Berlin bar

ULA Berlin place chopsticks

Struggling to choose from all the delicious-sounding dishes, I made my life easier by opting for one of ULA’s set menus. You can see my centrepiece course, the Sukiyaki (Kanto style) – a hot pot of beef sirloin – sizzling away in the background of the photo below, behind Zoë’s grilled Iberian pork chop with soy sauce and butter.

ULA Berlin grilled Iberian pork chop

For our other many, many courses, we chose equally well. ULA’s Three Signature Appetizers were particularly delightful: Sashimi shrimp and vegetables in Ponzu (citrus jelly), vegetable roll with tuna confit and sesame sauce, and chicken roll with budock root, served with grilled spring onion.

ULA Berlin Three Signature Appetizers

ULA Berlin tuna

ULA Berlin sushi

As well as this creative cooking, ULA offers that rare thing in Berlin: a decent dessert menu. We limited ourselves to sharing a flourless foundant au chocolat, with sesame and coconut crème glacée, which was rich and sumptuous, just like our surroundings. For refined dining and upscale Asian cuisine, both hard to find in this city, we thoroughly recommend ULA Berlin.

ULA Berlin dessert

ULA Berlin place settings

Krauted Haus

by James Glazebrook

Mexican food in Berlin is, depending on who you ask, either substandard or just good enough. While it’s certainly better than the city’s attempts at other international cuisine (especially the curry), we hear complaints that even Berlin’s best isn’t that authentic. That’s why we were so excited to be invited to Krauted Haus supper club’s special ¡Ay, Chihuahua! event.

Krauted Haus James

While I would have been happy with the best (or biggest!) burrito I’d ever eaten in my life, the other gourmands in attendance asked a little more from the multi-course neo-Mexican tasting menu. Conversation around the table in the hosts’ cute apartment touched on other restaurants and supper clubs in Berlin, and expectations for this one were running high. The menu and margarita in front of us seemed to signal promise.

Krauted Haus margarita

Fortunately, the food didn’t disappoint. While the dishes that opened and closed the meal – pink gazpacho of watermelon, cucumber and almond, and pineapple custard – proved to be acquired tastes, the meaty mains at its heart were triumphs. My taste buds were pricked by the drunken grilled shrimp with beans, greens and abodo sauce, and Zo’s pigged out on the pork belly: Asado de Cochinillo served with delectable corn crepes and grilled banana. Chilli sauce was brought to the table for heat freaks like myself, while the dark chocolate vodka chillis (genius!) and salsa that accompanied the nachos already came with plenty of kick.

Krauted Haus  pork belly

So ¡Ay, Chihuahua! was pretty ayiyawesome. If we had to criticise anything, it’s that we didn’t see enough of the Krauted Haus team itself. We “know” Samantha and Sophie from Twitter and share mutual friends, so it would have been great to get them out of the kitchen for a chat. Our favourite supper clubs have been the ones where the hosts have been around to explain – and in some cases, enjoy – the food, and even though Sophie’s parents were entertaining, they were no substitute! I guess we’ll just have to come on another night to get to know the girls – and their great food – better 😉 Follow them on Facebook for more details.

Krauted Haus guests

Zuhause Supper Club

by James Glazebrook

Zuhause Supper Club table ware

And the award for Berlin’s booziest supper club goes to… Zuhause! From the cocktail we were handed when we first arrived – vodka, homemade ginger tea and mint – to the bottles of delicious wine that kept arriving at our table, this most informal of dinner parties was kept well lubricated. In between serving restaurant-grade dishes, paired with said free-flowing wines, Canadian expat Kristi and her Irish beau, professional chef Dave, were the hosts with the mosts – both in and out of the kitchen.

Zuhause Supper Club table menu

And man, do they know their way around a kitchen. My menu highlights weren’t the obvious choices, but clearly reflect my English roots. We love a good cheese, and the Bleu de Bresse that made up the sixth and final course was just that. And I was ecstatic not only to find two meat dishes, but that the first was the very same Asian take on a Scotch egg I’d been drooling over on the Zuhause website that afternoon – served with miso butter, spring onion and the ubiquitous white asparagus. The lemon curd that cut through the dessert of strawberry tart and fresh meringue was just like my Grandma used to make, a tasty trip down memory lane.

Zuhause Supper Club cheese course

Zuhause Supper Club Asian Scotch egg

Zuhause Supper Club dessert

Zoë’s favourite dish, as ever, was the lamb – a tender cut of Irish fillet – while we both lapped up the shallot and chive tortelloni, and the opening fish course of octopus, fennel, grapefruit and melon. But the food was only half the fun, with the intimate setting of the host’s typische Berliner apartment, the hosts themselves and their solid gold “banter” making for a night to remember… brain cells permitting. Like Zuhause on Facebook to join the party!

Zuhause Supper Club Irish fillet steak

Zuhause Supper Club pasta

Zuhause Supper Club fish course

PANTRY

by James Glazebrook

One of the few downsides of living in Berlin is a lack of mid-range, refined restaurants. There are great street food vendors and homely, local-owned eateries, and, at the other end of the scale, Michelin-starred “dining experiences”, but not much in-between. That’s why we were delighted to hear that PANTRY had opened at Friedrichstrasse, on the site of the short-lived second location of Chipps.

PANTRY specialises in “Iberian-Pacific” cuisine, a fusion of the chefs’ training in Melbourne’s Thai restaurants and love of the Mediterranean. For us, that meant starters of an expertly-spiced hot and sour beef salad with rocket, wild herbs, pomegranate and orange couscous, and grilled Pulpo Fuego with corn crackers, chili and caramelised crispy pork. I then suppressed my envy as Zoë tucked into a succulent entrecôte served with sweet potato pommes and PANTRY’s “Double Impact” blend of Bernaise sauce and BBQ paste… but when I sunk my teeth into my perfectly-crisped free range chicken with liquorice Spargel all my jealousy melted away.

My only criticism is that PANTRY’s crème brûlée-like “Californication” (!) take on key lime pie strayed a little too far from the American pud I love so much. Never mind – as the menu changes monthly, we look forward to seeing what other sweet treats emerge from their open kitchen. Overall, PANTRY is a sleek but welcoming restaurant which turns out some of the most distinctive, well-flavoured dishes we’ve tasted in Berlin; an exciting addition to the city’s cuisine scene.

PANTRY
Freidrichstrasse 120
10117 Berlin-Mitte
pantry-berlin.com