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BUYA — HINTERHOF RESTAURANT FOR HEARTY RAMEN AND JAPANESE TAPAS

BUYA — HINTERHOF RESTAURANT FOR HEARTY RAMEN AND JAPANESE TAPAS

The “men” in ramen means noodles in Japanese. So when you are making ramen, the noodles had better be good. That’s what Buya co-founder Sascha Brand tells us as we sit in his bustling restaurant in a Hinterhof off Reichenberger Straße. The noodles at Buya are made in-house and fresh daily on a state-of-the-art Yamato machine. When the team set out to bring their renowned ramen to Berlin after opening a shop in Florida, they began with pop-ups in Arabica, a daytime Japanese cafe that was looking for someone to take over the space in the evenings. Since July 2020, that same space is Buya both day and night, with a new fit-out that includes artworks and large wooden tables. The windows that used to box the kitchen away from customers are now open, so customers can watch chef Anthony Sweeney and the team at work.

As for the menu, you can expect the best of Japanese comfort food: Izakaya-like share plates such as Otsumami cabbage salad, Agebitashi sautéed aubergine and Chāshū pork belly. From the ramen menu you can try crispy duck with a tonkotsu broth, a vegan tonkotsu version with tofu and mushrooms, or the creamy and nutty flavors of tantan ramen. After, try a bite of mochi or Yuzu cheesecake or wash it all down with a cup of Enter Black Dot “Black Cup” sake supplied by the neighboring Sake 36 shop. P.S. There is also a Buya in Potsdam – just in case your tastebuds want to chase that umami a little further…

Text: Scarlett Peeters / Photos: Savannah van der Niet

Buya, Reichenberger Str.36, 10999 Berlin–Kreuzberg; map
Tue 16–21h, Wed–Thu & Sun 12–21h, Fri & Sat 12–21h30

@buyaberlin

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MEET ME BY THE BAOBAB TREE: VEGAN COMFORT FOOD FROM GHANA AND HUNGARY, SERVED BERLIN STYLE

MEET ME BY THE BAOBAB TREE: VEGAN COMFORT FOOD FROM GHANA AND HUNGARY, SERVED BERLIN STYLE

No, they didn’t actually meet under a baobab tree. Victor Matekole, originally from Manchester, arrived in Berlin after stints in the Netherlands, France and Ukraine. It was here that he met Hungarian-born Györgyi Bòka at Adidas, where they both worked, and today they are married and live with their two sons. Their third baby is the restaurant Meet me by the Baobab tree, which opened in 2017. Although there aren’t that many baobab trees in Matekole’s parents’ homeland of Ghana, according to Ghanaian folk tales, the baobab is a place where people meet. It’s fitting for this spot on Wedding’s Soldiner Straße, where neighbors come to chat and eat, and a large space behind the dining room hosts concerts and events (when there’s not a lockdown, that is). The interior is lovingly designed and, like Wedding, is funky, creative and completely unpretentious.

The dishes originate only indirectly from West Africa: Matekole and Bòka were schooled on the cuisine by their Ghanaian neighbor in Berlin. Baobab serves many vegan and vegetarian dishes you’d find in Accra today like the authentic jollof with sweet potatoes and cassava which lend rich flavor and spice to the rice. Hungarian cuisine rounds out the menu, with cheesy scone-like Pogača breads. While Berlin is surely not the first place you’d think to go for African cuisine, things have improved a lot in the last five years, according to Matekole. And Baobab, close to the African quarter, is a welcome addition. Wedding reminds him of the city of Salford near Manchester: down-to-earth and residential. There are few frills at Baobab but it’s authentic, and like the baobab tree, it has put down healthy roots and is becoming an integral part of the neighborhood.

Text: Johannes Paetzold / Photos: Jonas Michel

For more culinary highlights in Wedding, check out Episode #13 of the Teller Stories podcast:

Meet me by the Baobab tree, Soldiner Str.41 13359 Berlin–Gesundbrunnen; map
Mon–Sat 12–19h, closed Sun

@meetmebythebaobabtree

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CHARMING CORNER FOR FLAVOR-PACKED TREATS TO GO — EMPANADAS AND JUICES AT CAMINITO

CHARMING CORNER FOR FLAVOR-PACKED TREATS TO GO — EMPANADAS AND JUICES AT CAMINITO

If you’re looking for somewhere where South American flavors come with a vitamin hit, Caminito should be high on your list. Step inside this takeaway shop and you’ll be greeted by an interior space adorned with beautiful bouquets and a display of natural wine. The empanadas aren’t bad, either: rows of stuffed pastries shine like jewels in their steel-and-glass display. Baked fresh every morning, they pair beautifully with the fresh juice menu, which includes the “red” drink with beetroot, orange, apple and ginger. Founders Darius and Kinga opened Caminito in October 2021 after deciding to deploy their restaurant experience – Kinga’s kitchen credits include Shed – to create a space focused on traditional pastry.

The varieties include the “Beef Green” with meat, onion, olives and egg, classic spinach with potatoes, goats cheese and pumpkin seeds and, for the vegans, the ratatouille with zucchini, pepper, tomato and thyme. Besides the signature fillings, the team also serve seasonal creations meaning there’s always something new to try. Not to be missed is the delicious fresh chimichurri sauce that ticks all the boxes for flavor and texture. Caminito’s central location means’s it ideal if you want to escape the office for a pastry-based pick-me-up, though if you ask us the sauce alone is worth the trip to Mitte…

Text & Photos: Dave Alcantara

Caminito, Invalidenstr.112, 10115 Berlin–Mitte; map
Mon–Fri 10–18h

@caminit.o

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COLORFUL BOWLS SERVED IN A SLEEK CONCRETE SPACE — JIGI POKE ON ROSENTHALER PLATZ

COLORFUL BOWLS SERVED IN A SLEEK CONCRETE SPACE — JIGI POKE ON ROSENTHALER PLATZ

Poke bowls are well and truly established in Berlin, but in October 2021 a new address for this delicious dish arrived on the scene: Jigi Poke. Despite Poke’s Hawaiian origins, you won’t find surfboards or a potted plant jungle at this Rosenthaler Platz eatery. Instead you’re greeted by an elegant, high-quality interior with a light, earthy color palette. Nonetheless, the designers at Vaust Studio who did the interior were keen to recall the origins of Poke, with the likes of photographs of Hawaiian fishermen. The sturdy granite stools you sit on are surprisingly accommodating, thanks to their specially hand-carved surface. As for the food itself, you can either ask the team to recommend their favorite bowl or construct your own as you like it.

My go-to is the Real Salmon Bowl with sashimi salmon, cucumber and pomegranate seeds, though if you don’t eat fish there’s a wide range of vegan options. Whatever you go for, expect an accompaniment of lime, coriander and sushi ginger. Owner Daniel has a Michelin background, something that shows in the quality and regionality of the ingredients used. While this is a difficult task when it comes to fish, the restaurant works with Deutsche See to source more sustainable and responsible catches. The two long concrete tables are particularly impressive and provide a great contrast to the vibrant food. Whether it’s for a quiet work lunch or a feast with friends, this sleek eatery should definitely be on your list.

Text & Photos: Jonas Michel

Jigi Poke, Rosenthalerstr.69, 10119 Berlin–Mitte; map
Mon–Sat, 11h30–21h30

@jigipoke

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VICTORIA TACOS: FLAVOR-FILLED TORTILLAS BY THE CANAL — NOW SERVING BREAKFAST

VICTORIA TACOS: FLAVOR-FILLED TORTILLAS BY THE CANAL — NOW SERVING BREAKFAST

When you think of tacos, you probably think of an avalanche of spice which, while extreme, always delivers the goods. This is exactly what Victoria Tacos founders Robert Jung, Bayo Adafin and Christoph Hameister wanted to create when they began running filled-tortilla pop-ups back in summer 2020. Inspired by New York taquerias and Mexican street food, the trio’s concept now has its own home: a sleek white-tiled restaurant on the corner of Maybachufer and Pannierstraße which opened its doors in June 2021. News of the team’s tacos has spread fast (we advise you to go early to avoid the queues), with a veggie-friendly menu that includes our personal fave: the Quesabirria with chili marinated jackfruit, melted cheese, coriander and onion. Now, off the back of this success, the taco pros have extended their menu with a breakfast for foodies who don’t mind starting the day with some heat. Every weekend from 9h the team serve proudly unconventional breakfast tacos including hearty scrambled eggs with chorizo for meat lovers, an egg and mashed potato version for veggies, and for vegans a creamy cauliflower scramble with toasted sunflower seeds, pickled jalapeños and parsley.

For those wanting to rouse themselves after a particularly late night, there’s the “back-to-life” taco: an egg-filled tortilla with chorizo, mashed potato, cheddar, pickled jalapeños and hot sauce with red or green salsa for extra spice. As for drinks, there’s the Cafe Onhe Olla, a traditional brew that means “coffee from a clay pot” (add a tequila shot if you’re feeling brave). For something more refreshing, there’s the Aguas Frescas with orange, pineapple and cardamom, blueberry, cucumber and lavender, or traditional hibiscus mint. If you aren’t satisfied after all that, you can finish up with the “Mamas Breakfast” dessert comprising homemade cornbread, milky horchata de chufa and a mixed berry compote. It’s a good thing Victoria Tacos is by the Maybachufer: a canalside walk might be just what you need after all that indulgence…

Text: Dave Alcantara / Photos: Kateryna Firsova

Victoria Tacos, Pannierstr.32, 12047 Berlin–Neukölln; map
Wed–Fri 17–22h, Sat–Sun 9–22h

@victoriatacosberlin

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