These days you don’t go to a wine bar just for the wine. These days it’s all about the seaweed popcorn, the secret mezcal bar, and the grilled octopus salad, smoky with hints of Spanish paprika and dots of spicy mayonnaise. At Wild Things in Neukölln, the cozy setting will have you feeling at home in no time. The baby brother of Industry Standard, quality is emphasized here from the oysters to the stilton. On top of that, about eighty percent of the wine served is natural. Just like with food, it’s good to know where your wine comes from – and Ramses Manneck and his team certainly do. Sample away to find the right match, though the 2015 Rue de la Pompe from the French Mas Coutelou wine region had a delicious drinkability I’d go back for. (Text: Victoria Pease / Photos: Sven Hausherr)
Mussels for lunch – sounds decadent, but hey, why not? Stepping in to Dînette, you feel like you’re at home with friends, who happen to be amazing French chefs. The modern bistro was recently opened by Alex, Annlyse, and Ely, who previously worked at Themroc and Valseuses. Now: new space, new location, and their own concept – namely, lunch and catering with French culinary influences. Sometimes classic, sometimes modern. The team has no shortage of ideas for their daily-changing lunch menu, and their casual pop-up style means that occasional dinners and weekend brunches are on the cards. The bistro’s interior is pleasantly restrained, complementing the food perfectly. The boeuf bourguignon was just as heavenly as the delicate parsnip soup. The warm apple crumble topped everything. Finally, a good reason to savor the lunch break. (Text: Jenny Hoffmann)
Jenny Hoffmann is a copywriter at Zalando. She has been in Berlin for nine years and lives in Neukölln.
If you’re stuck in a Neukölln-Kreuzberg rut, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and brave the way out west. Between the Kudamm and Hohenzollernplatz, the fine dining restaurant Honca sits on a quiet corner enclosed by romantic bistros and boutiques. Inside, Anatolian accents mingle into an elegant dining area where copper pans line the wall. Here, typical Turkish ingredients resurface in novel ways: Scallops, caramelized in sage butter, are paired with a salad of crumbled Çökelek cheese, fresh parsley, and cherry tomatoes. Fat slices of rosy duck with sumac sauce arrive atop a bed of sweet parsnip puree with dots of kumquat jelly. For dessert, a twist on Hösmerim (a Turkish favorite with a cheesecake consistency) is switched up with glossy plums and toasted almonds. But it’s the surprising pairing that makes it: a creamy swirl of Turkish “white cheese” ice cream that ticks all the boxes: sweet, savory, satisfying. (Text: Victoria Pease / Photo: Anne Freitag)
Mornings, and their innocent lightness, are my time. Most importantly though, it’s breakfast that makes it special. Whether pancakes, porridge, or poached eggs – the morning meal is a feel-good, power-booster. The team behind restaurant Benedict also feels strongly about this. Their motto: 24/7 breakfast. Successfully established in Israel, they kindly chose to branch out to Berlin. Since November 2016, find dishes to feed all tastes – from sweet to salty; from classic to modern. Forget about watching the clock, when the craving for a scrumptious plate of blueberry pancakes, eggs Florentine, or the simplicity of a croissant and freshly-squeezed orange juice kicks in – Benedict has got your back. To ease into the concept, limited opening hours have been the rule since November. But starting today (15.12.2016), doors will be open until midnight. In 2017, then, the 24/7 cycle will take over. And because Benedict is part of the newly-opened Max Brown hotel, don’t be surprised to meet a herd of international guests at 2 a.m., struggling with time zones and aching for a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon. After all, it’s breakfast somewhere right now. So now you have the choice: an hour to recharge, or just book a staycation? (Text: Nina Trippel / photos: Sven Hausherr)
Strolling through Lausitzer Platz lately, you may have been winked at by a friendly neon panda. Next time you pass by hungry, step into the shop it fronts. Inside, you’ll find a modular menu full of textures and flavors from far across Asia. Welcome to ThePandaNoodle: the restaurant inviting you to leave your noodle-eating preconceptions behind. Start with the “basic set”: a bowl of freshly-made ramen noodles, croutons, lime and cilantro, and homemade pickled delights, such as cubed kohlrabi kimchi or cucumber, lightly pickled in soy. Top it off with a sauce and a side: The combination of tofu and avocado with vinaigrette gives a new meaning to the word silky. Owner Daeng and Head Chef Jar create their mostly-vegan offerings fresh from scratch in an open kitchen. The cozy interior is illuminated by neon installations and flickering candles. With the cold coming in, round up your friends, pick up a pair of chopsticks, and let ThePandanoodle warm your belly. (Text / Photos: Anna Dorothea Ker)
Anna Dorothea Ker is a freelance writer, editor, and digital media consultant living in Neukölln.