überlin

Eat the World’s culinary tour of Kreuzberg

by James Glazebrook

Eat the World have hit upon a neat idea: cultural walking tours with frequent stops at local food outlets, so visitors can discover an area through its cuisine. We love to eat – which anyone who’s seen our Food and Drink section or ever-expanding waistlines will know – and we love Kreuzberg, so we thought we’d join a group of tourists as they ate their way through our neighbourhood.

back.art Berlin

The Eat the World Kreuzberg Tour started in our beloved Graefekiez, although luckily – and shamefully – we had never eaten in any of the places we visited before. As we walked from the Sudanese Imbiss Nil, which we’re now regulars at, to a lovely bio bakery – via an unremarkable Indian restaurant – we learned all about what apparently gets called “the Tuscany of Berlin”. We were told that much of our neighbourhood is under landmark protection, including the beautiful Admiralbrücke, which, according to our guide, is why (cringe) all the rich people live here!

Admiralbrücke

punk statue

Crossing the Landwehrkanal, we passed the grand sculpture on Admiralstrasse, with punk figures making for a suitable entranceway to SO36, and sampled the freshest, tastiest börek we’ve ever had at Leylak on Kottbusser Strasse. We then stopped for great dürum and a decent slice of pizza, before walking to Oranienplatz and checking out the site of the former Luisenstadt Canal. We’d never heard of this waterway before, which used to run north-south between the River Spree and the Landwehrkanal, but we were more excited about getting to Küchenkaiser around the corner, where delicious cake has been baked since 1866!

Kuchen Kaiser Berlin

Overall, we had a very pleasant few hours with our nice, knowledgable Eat the World guide. The Kreuzberg tour showcased the range of food on offer in this colourful neighbourhood, although not necessarily the best it has to offer. As we live locally, we’re probably spoiled for choice, and a little picky, but we were happy to try out some new places (especially Nil and Leylak!) while learning a lot more about our immediate area. Not necessarily for the most demanding of foodies, the Eat the World Kreuzberg tour is a good introduction to Berlin’s most (in)famous ‘hood, as well as a tasty way to spend a day!

Defne

by James Glazebrook

Defne 1

Defne was a favourite of ours even before we moved to Berlin. We discovered it while strolling along the Landwehrkanal one spring, took friends there on subsequent trips, and continue to use it as our go-to for intimate mid-range dining. Defne serves a reasonably priced fusion of Mediterranean and Turkish in the leafy surroundings of the quiet canalside street, Planufer. Menu highlights include the generous meze sharing plate, the hilariously named Hungry Wolf (sizzling lamb), the sometime-special lamb shank and dishes made with the fresh seafood available every Friday and Saturday. Booking is advised in summer, when the small restaurant and its pretty terrace fills up, but well worth it.

Defne 2

Defne 3

Defne 4

Café Matilda

by Zoë Noble

What a difference a bit of sun makes! This weekend the temperature topped 20°C, and the Berlin we’ve been cursing through the winter months, was finally transformed into the city we all know and love. If you’re one of those weirdos who (like us!) decide to move to Berlin during winter, then the most important advice you’re likely to receive from anyone, is to make sure you stick it out until summer. They claim you haven’t seen the REAL Berlin unless you’ve enjoyed idyllic walks along the canal and cold beers in the sun, surrounded by smiling happy Berliners… AND THEY’RE RIGHT!!

Today was the first time this year we’ve been able to sit in the sun and brunch at Café Matilda, one of our fav haunts, and it felt goooood. As depressing as winter can be here (-20°C anyone??), it’s the thought of Berlin in the summer that keeps you holding on and stops you running to the hills. How long this recent hike in temperatures will last, no one knows, or cares… as most importantly it’s a taste of things to come!

Fuchsbau

by James Glazebrook

By night, Fuchsbau (literally, “foxhole”) on Planufer is the smokiest raucherbar I’ve never seen. But on the weekend it becomes one of our favourite brunch spots in Graefekiez, thanks to its soft-boiled eggs on toast with chives, salsa and two types of mustard. I don’t know if they consider it their signature dish, but it’s so good that our Irish friends know der Fuchsbau only by their name for it: The Egg. They also have DJs and live music, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Fuchsbau 1

Berlin Burger Tour, Stop 3: Room 77

by James Glazebrook

Damn, we’re popular! Berlin Burger Tour seems to be growing EXPONENTIALLY (I’m no mathematician).

We thought White Trash Fast Food was busy – until more than 30 of us descended on poor Room 77 to sample its generous selection of meaty treats. As it’s in our Kiez and stocks Newcastle Brown Ale, this comfy little hangout is familiar to us – every time I try another of its 19 burgers, and attempt to ignore the sub-Tom Waits “street musician” who is ALWAYS THERE.

Room 77 offers “warm beer, cold women”, burgers covered in everything from peanut butter to fried eggs to guacamole to hot sauce… just don’t ask for a veggie option! Judging by the results of our survey, people seemed pretty happy with their massive burgers/tacos (for our vegetarian), with the only real reservation being the service. The staff may have messed up a couple of orders and been a bit snippy at times, but hey, this is Berlin – and I think the place did amazingly well to cope with this many people on a random Wednesday.

Anyway, enough from me. Let’s see what our mahoosive judging panel had to say:Berlin Burger Tour: Room 77

“They totally botched an order and made no effort to fix it. They lose points for customer service, but this is Berlin, rat bastards”

“Peanut butter on a burger = heaven. Soggy, messy… I’m glad no one was watching. Big and very satisfying. Service was great, considering our great size!”

“Loooved it! Cool music (not the street musician though…)”

“Yep, they actually tell you not to bother to order veggie burgers. That’s a first in Berlin! But then, the nachos were pretty good! And hot too! (sorry for the stain…)”

“Spiciness was good for being in Germany… wussies! Sauce for the fries was a bit weak, but Tabasco is a plus. All in all good experience, but a tad bit pricey for the product, especially in Berlin where you can get such decently-priced fast food”

room77

Photo courtesy of Nicole is the New Black

Berlin Burger Crawl is an open group. To find out what’s going on, follow the hashtag #berlinburgertour on Twitter. If you want to get involved, tweet at @uberlinblog, leave us a comment below, or drop us an email. We’re going to have to book tables at some of the more popular/restauranty places, so do let us know if you plan to come!

Little Otik

by James Glazebrook

Man we’re late to this party. It’s testament to our supreme lack of organisation that we’ve only just made it to Little Otik, despite living just around the corner for nearly half a year, while reading a bunch of recommendations from Berlin’s bloggerati. (As ever, Foodie in Berlin is the place to go for the expert opinion – she even includes links to all the other bloggers’ glowing reviews.) The fact this is one of expat producer Ewan Pearson’s favourite restaurants should have had us in there a long time ago…

Aaaanyway, we made it to Little Otik eventually – on the happy occasion of Zo’s mum’s birthday. We toasted with killer cocktails (amazing Gin Gimlet), the best Sauvignon Blanc we’ve ever tasted (a Polz, from Austria) and some mind-blowing schnapps! Soaking all that up was refined rustic fare made with seasonal, local ingredients, the highlights being the cream of zucchini soup with fennel flowers and the 300g ribeye with a side of corn on the cob. Putting the om on our omnomnom was, well, all the deserts on the menu!

As you can see from the photos, Little Otik is warm and homely, but what you can’t see are the friendly, fun and knowledgable staff or the tables full of hipsters keeping the place nice and buzzy. We’ll be back soon, and not just to stalk Herr Pearson. Oh, fancy seeing you here!

Kado Liquorice

by James Glazebrook

Oh SNAP Foodie in Berlin! You just beat us to a post about Kadó Lakritzfachgeschäft on Graefestrasse. But what we lack in timeliness, we can more than make up for enthusiasm, because I am *mad* for liquorice! And it turns out our Kiez is a veritable Lakritz lover’s paradise, what with the ice cream shop next door selling Eis flavoured with the black stuff, and with Kadó just around the corner. We too were surprised a) to find a shop dedicated to products with a decidedly acquired taste, and b) to find it packed. But whether you like liquorice or not, you’ll enjoy this charming little store, its endless variations on a surprisingly adaptable ingredient (sweet, salty, spicy; in and around chocolate; as a spirit, etc.) and the infectious enthusiasm of its knowledgeable staff. Check out Foodie’s take, then the store itself – just bring me a bag back of something pitch-black.