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TASTY VEGAN DRINKS AND SICHUAN TAPAS — KONG OPENS A NEW OFFSHOOT ON PRENZLAUER ALLEE

TASTY VEGAN DRINKS AND SICHUAN TAPAS — KONG OPENS A NEW OFFSHOOT ON PRENZLAUER ALLEE

You asked for it – now it’s here! Kong II, the new offshoot of the popular Friedrichshain restaurant that puts vegan drinks front and center. The founders of the original Kong, Tong Liu and Ling Madas, came up with their tasty beverages as a way to serve takeaway customers during the onset of the pandemic. Customers came in their droves, and so when the pair came to open the second venture – located next to the imposing Immanuel Church in Prenzlauer Berg – they decided to focus on drinks. Their homemade creations are not classic milkshakes, but made from a variety of plant-based alternatives. The “Tofu Concubine”, for instance, is a mix of soy, caramel tofu and fermented rice, while the “Coconut Princess” (the owner’s favorite drink) comes in a natural purple color thanks to the rice and sweet potato puree. All drinks come with a snack on top in the form of three sesame rice balls and if it’s warm you can also order your drink on ice for subtle, cool refreshment.

While the focus is on drinks, Kong II also serves treats to eat, with small Sichuan tapas such as spicy edamame and another speciality: Baozi steamed dumplings. They come filled with tofu and vegetables or meat and homemade roasted pepper sauce for the perfect spicy kick. Since opening in May 2022, Kong II has been more of a daytime place, but a little bird has told us you’ll be able to sip evening cocktails here very soon. We’re looking forward to it.

Text: Annika Hillig / Photos: Arundhati Shenoy & Kong II

Kong II, Prenzlauer Allee 27A, 10405 Berlin–Prenzlauer Berg; map
Wed–Fri, 12–22h, Sat–Sun, 13–22h

@kong2.berlin

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HAPPY MATCHA — GREEN TEA DRINKS FOR GOOD VIBES IN A GLASS

HAPPY MATCHA — GREEN TEA DRINKS FOR GOOD VIBES IN A GLASS

“Talk to me again when my matcha kicks in” – the wall painting at Happy Matcha (courtesy of artist Esra Gülmen) is both the motto and the centerpiece of this leafy green cafe on Torstraße. Inspired by the matcha shops of Los Angeles, the two owners and matchaholics Julia and Nina opened what is officially Berlin’s first cafe dedicated to the green tea drink. The pair tried more than 50 different varieties before arriving at the perfect drink: high quality, “ceremonial grade” matcha which is harvested on a small organic tea farm in the Kagoshima mountains in Japan. Two grams of matcha, some water and vegetable milk are what goes into the classic matcha latte. There’s also a whole load of variations: the Sweet and Cosy matchas (with cocoa and chai, respectively), the Detox Matcha with spirulina, the creamy Nitro Matcha and the Dirty Matcha, which is served with an espresso shot.

For the perfect summer alternative to the iced latte there’s the Summertime Forever Matcha which includes coconut rice milk plus strawberry or blueberry puree and ice. The good vibes don’t stop with the drinks: for those with a sweet tooth, there are vegan matcha cookies and other NYC-style treats from neighbors Round & Edgy. Oh, and if you want to go all out, there’s a how-to guide for the perfect matcha ceremony. It turns out happiness does come in a glass after all…

Text: Alison Musch / Photos: Arundati Shenoy

Happy Matcha, Torstr.68, 10119 Berlin–Mitte; map
Mon–Sat 11–18h

@happymatchaworld

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GORILLA BÄCKEREI’S SECOND LOCATION BRINGS BAKED TREATS TO SCHÖNEBERG — NOW SERVING BREAKFAST

GORILLA BÄCKEREI’S SECOND LOCATION BRINGS BAKED TREATS TO SCHÖNEBERG — NOW SERVING BREAKFAST

Since opening in 2020, Gorilla Bäckerei has quickly become a neighborhood favorite in Neukölln: even the gorilla sculpture that once greeted customers has returned to its rightful home outside the shop. For Westsiders, we have news: you no longer have to head east to enjoy Gorilla’s bread and pastries – you can instead head to the bakery’s new location in Schöneberg. Once again, the interior has been designed by Mathilde Gaudin, who has used natural materials that are reminiscent of the Neukölln flagship. Schöneberg boasts an extended terrace, and high ceilings that allow light through the exterior windows and into the production area. There you can see the bakers at work (and at play: I once watched a child approach the window in Neukölln, where a baker playfully threw flour at the glass, much to the little one’s delight.)

What’s new in Schöneberg is a full brunch menu and, starting in late June, housemade “Bonobo” ice cream. Head chef Memo Luengas has created a mostly-vegan, completely-organic menu that will be served in full on weekends, with a shortened version weekdays. Think avocado and pea guacamole with tomato and preserved lemon, asparagus with topinambour puree, and a breakfast board with homemade labneh, torched sumac orange and more. Both locations still have all the pastries, pizza and bread you know and love. What about the gorilla? While you won’t see him standing in front of the Schöneberg shop, he’s certainly there in spirit…

Text: Savannah van der Niet / Photos: Judith Gilles

Gorilla Bäckerei, EUREF Campus 1, Torgauer Str. / Dominicusstr. 10289, Berlin–Schöneberg; map
Mon–Sun 8–18h

@gorilla_baeckerei

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ICE CREAM THAT WON’T MELT: COOLING CHOCOLATE TREATS FROM HOKEY POKEY — RECOMMENDED BY MARCUS STEINBERG

ICE CREAM THAT WON’T MELT: COOLING CHOCOLATE TREATS FROM HOKEY POKEY — RECOMMENDED BY MARCUS STEINBERG

Vegan chocolate ice cream has been making waves: in the past few years almost every ice cream maker has added it to their lineup. When done right, it really can be fantastic, and it’s the ingredients that make the difference between so-so and truly tasty versions. Many producers mix together water, sugar and cocoa powder, which is easy and vegan but not necessarily mind blowing. Niko Robert at Hokey Pokey does things a bit differently: he doesn’t add cocoa powder, but instead uses chocolate from Valrhona, Domori and Holger In’t Veld – brands typically used in high-end restaurants. The vegan treat that results is an explosion of flavor: just like great espresso, you can taste the cocoa beans in the ice cream. The fat that normally comes from cream comes from the natural fat content of the chocolate in this recipe. The ice cream has even more chocolate content (one-third) than the traditional, non-vegan variety. This give it a unique quality: it doesn’t melt, turning instead into a delicious chocolate mousse.

Text: Marcus Steinberg / Photos: Hokey Pokey

Marcus Steinberg lives in Mitte and is the founder of Lōkal. He loves “aperitivo” culture, coffee, delicious ice cream and cycling around Berlin, Germany and Europe.

You can find Hokey Pokey at four locations in Prenzlauer Berg, Mitte and Schöneberg. Addresses and opening hours are listed here.

@eispatisserie_hokeypokey

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HAPPINESS IN KOREAN — WALNUT COOKIES, MATCHA CHEESECAKE AND COFFEE AT LIA PPANG

HAPPINESS IN KOREAN — WALNUT COOKIES, MATCHA CHEESECAKE AND COFFEE AT LIA PPANG

When Lia Hong came to Berlin from her home country of Korea in 2014, the only thing she brought with her were pastry cutters so she could recreate her favorite Korean desserts. First she baked just for friends and then for hungry passers-by from her food bike at the Kulturbrauerei market. Then, at the beginning of 2021, she took the next step and opened her own cafe in Prenzlauer Berg. Lia Ppang provides homesick Koreans and anyone else with a sweet tooth with traditional snacks and teas using recipes based on Lia’s childhood memories. The Hodoo Guaja cookies are particularly popular: these little energy bombs consist of walnut biscuits filled with red bean paste and not only taste of walnuts, but look like them too. Other highlights include the highly photogenic green tea cheesecake – which comes garnished with dried jujube slices and red currants – and the homemade strawberry milk finished with slivers of almond. An ode to Korean coffee culture, these treats are served in a self-designed interior that combines recycled elements, (mis)matched retro chairs and Asian knick-knacks. Add to this some strong coffee and Lia Ppang has all the ingredients needed to make it a go-to snack stop.

Text: Alison Musch / Photos: Arundhati Shenoy

Lia Ppang, Choriner Str.45, 10435 Berlin–Prenzlauer Berg; map
Wed–Sat 12–18h & Sun 12–16h

@lia.ppang.cake

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