When you spend a weekend in Berlin exploring the Christmas markets you also end up exploring quite a few pubs and restaurants in a vain attempt to warm up. These were some of our favourites:
Breakfast at Luchs
We stayed at Lux 11 so while it is not particularly adventurous of me to recommend its restaurant, Luchs as an eating destination, the breakfast was good enough for us to pay to eat it (breakfast wasn’t included in the room rate). Soft folds of salty scrambled egg flecked with ham and tomato were perfect early morning fodder. Special mention has to go to the amazing accompanying bread rolls which were served piping hot and filled with clouds of fluffy dough.
Details: Rosa Luxembourg strass 11, 10178 Berlin, Germany (Ph +49 30 9632 800)
Damage: Breakfast was reasonable
Jewelled cous cous at Travels With My Fork Supper club
Surely the perfect way to get to know a city and its inhabitants is to get yourself along to a supper club? Kelsie and Mel who run Travels With My Fork Supper club recently relocated to Berlin and are now opening their home on a semi regular basis for themed supper club evenings. We visited for the “1001 nights” dinner, a theme which extended beyond the menu to thoughtful touchs such as extracts from 1001 nights by each guests plate and a private santur performance. This supper club was the smallest I have ever attended, with only nine guests it felt more like an intimate dinner party. We started with a pomengranate champagne cocktail and big bowls of fantastic creamy babaganoush. There were also trays of roasted harissa spiced chicken wings and bowls of beetroot salad and tabbouleh. That was before we moved on to the main course, jewelled cous cous studded with berries, sultanas and herbs and platters of lamb. A palate cleanser of sorbet prepared us for Mel’s truly amazing Persian Love Cake.
Lamb at Travels With My Fork Supper Club
I am desperate for this recipe as the cake had a crisp crust with a moist inside and had the most delectable hit of ginger. Mel has trained as a professional chef which really shows in the calibre of the cooking. The only miss on the night was probably the lamb which was a little overcooked and dry. In particular we enjoyed the sheer quantityof food served (second and third helpings of everything for those who wanted it) and the generosity of spirit of the hosts Mel and Kelsie who went so far as to prepare a whole baked seabass for my friend Clare who is pescatarian and sent my other friend Julia home with a takeaway container of the babaganoush after her lavish compliments for it.
Musical performance at Travels With My Fork Supper Club
Details: The supperclub is held at a secret location in the suburb of Spandau which is in outer Berlin, Germany. It is held on Saturday nights and details of upcoming nights are on Mel and Kelsie’s blog.
Damage: Reasonable. €35 and BYO drinks with no corkage fee.
Located right opposite the Gendarmenmarkt where one of Berlin’s most well known Christmas markets is held, Amici was the perfect escape from the frenzy of wurst and hand carved decorations. The restaurant itself looks like something out of a Dynasty set, all glitz and glamour but ignore the over the top surroundings and focus on the straightforward Italian menu. Despite the chintzy decor prices for a steaming hot bowl of pasta and a glass of wine were very reasonable. Service was a lesson in Italian charm school and we particularly enjoyed our waiters recommendation of the penne arrabiata (€8) which was delicious in its simplicity and the hearty bolognese ragu (€9).
Details: Jagerstrasse 56, 10117 Berlin, Germany (Ph +49 30208 799800)
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve
Baked eggs and prosciutto at Oliv
In the heart of Berlin’s hip Mitte district Oliv is so slick you feel like you are eating in an art gallery. A huge vase of flowers stands on the counter alongside a sculpture of a rabbit and an array of pastries creating some sort of surreal still life. Communal tables are the order of the day so pull up a perch and order the flaky, soft croissants (€1.80) squares of baked eggs with curls of prosciutto and slices of dense sourdough. Teamed with a glass of steaming hot fresh ginger and mint tea Oliv is the perfect spot to rest your feet and warm up from the freezing temperatures.
Details: Munzstrase 8, Mitte, Berlin 10178, Germany (Ph +49 3089 206540)
Mint and ginger tea at Oliv
Gourmet Travel Tips
The boutique hotel Lux 11 is housed in an old Stasi building in the heart of the trendy Mitte district of Berlin. The location is so central that you can gaze out over the Alexanderplatz TV tower from your room. Lux 11 is not strictly a hotel, rather apartments which means there is no room service and each apartment has a kitchenette which would be a good money saver if you were staying a while. Quirky and thoughtful touches include cans of gherkins in each room, complimentary hot dogs and iced tea for late night snacking and a bottle of red wine as a welcome present.
The drawbacks were the strange sponsorship deal which the hotel has with adidas which meant all the staff wear adidas tracksuits (not really appropriate in a boutique hotel), the open plan bathrooms which would be good for a romantic weekend but not so good when it is a group of friends sharing a room like us and the €10 a day charge for wifi. Nevertheless I though Lux 11 was a chic hotel with a sense of humour and far superior to the Art’otel I stayed in on my last visit to Berlin.
Details: Details: Rosa Luxembourg strass 11, 10178 Berlin, Germany (Ph +49 30 9632 800)
Rooms from €150 a night
- Other things to do in Berlin include a walking tour of Berlin or the Fat Tire bike tour. On my last trip I enjoyed visiting the Reichstag, DDR museum and Jewish museum. On this visit I enjoyed shopping in Mitte and going out at the Berhain/Panorama bar.
- We flew to Berlin with Easyjet from London and our tickets were about £250 return. You can get much cheaper tickets if you are more organised and book further in advance.