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LAYLA — LEVANTINE FINE DINING FOR A DINNER TO REMEMBER

LAYLA — LEVANTINE FINE DINING FOR A DINNER TO REMEMBER

In Berlin foodie circles, Layla is on everyone’s lips. Occupying the ground floor of an imposing hotel building near Anhalter Bahnhof, renowned Israeli chef Meir Adoni’s Berlin debut leads a new wave of trendy eastern Mediterranean restaurants. But Layla sets itself apart – starting with its elaborate interior of brass, polished concrete and North African tilework. Adoni’s next trick is a high-end menu that brings nonstop surprises. On our visit we had smoked trout doughnuts topped with mandarin aioli, and the “Qatayef” Lebanese pancakes served with duck confit in hot spices and a chili vinaigrette. At the bar, Middle Eastern wines provide the perfect pairing for the cuisine, while the classic cocktails, updated with Mediterranean herbs and botanicals, are reason alone to visit. For dessert we had the deconstructed solet (semolina flour) cream crumble with olives, wild berries, blood orange/arak sorbet and sumac meringue. It’s this kind of bold experimentation that makes Layla one of the city’s most memorable restaurants. (Text: Eric James Bain / Photos: Savannah van der Niet)

Layla, Hallesche Str.10, 10963 Berlin–Kreuzberg; map
Restaurant: Tue–Sun 18–1h; Bar: Daily from 17h
Also: Layla is also inviting you bring in the new year with an eight-course culinary journey on 31.12.2019. Details and booking online.
@layla_berlin

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A POP-UP GETS A HOME OF ITS OWN: SEASONAL AND HOME-PICKLED DISHES FROM OTTO

A POP-UP GETS A HOME OF ITS OWN: SEASONAL AND HOME-PICKLED DISHES FROM OTTO

In October 2019, with hundreds of kilos of pickles at the ready, chef Vadim Otto Ursus opened Otto just streets away from where he grew up in Prenzlauer Berg. The 20-seat space contrasts warm, approachable service with a sleek concrete-wall interior, while the menu brings sophisticated and delicious food that’s both organic and regional. 27-year-old Vadim is an avid fermenter, and his pickle plate features an Angurian cucumber and a four-week pickled egg whose yolk is left unbelievably creamy. Mains are seasonal, with highlights including wild boar ribs and charred young cauliflower in a pool of beurre blanc. For the sweet-tooth, raw milk ice cream comes on a bed of brown butter crumble atop a frozen stone – the result is as tasty as it is eye catching. The all-natural wine menu moves between elegant classics and experimental bottles by winemakers such as Marto and Brendan Tracey. We guarantee your plates will be left clean, and your glasses drained. (Text: Savannah van der Niet / Photos: Cate Gowers and Savannah van der Niet)

Otto, Oderberger Str.56, 10435 Berlin–Prenzlauer Berg; map
Fri–Mon from 18h
@otto_berlin

On 02.12.2019 at 19h join Otto und Alejandro Muchada for a dinner and some delicious palomino wines. Book tickets here.

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MAMA SHABZ: PAKISTANI FLAVORS SERVED WITH SPICE AND SPARKLE

MAMA SHABZ: PAKISTANI FLAVORS SERVED WITH SPICE AND SPARKLE

Proper Pakistani cuisine is a constant at Mama Shabz. Originally from London and with family roots in Kashmir and Punjab, owner Shabnam now serves her mum’s favorite dishes to hungry Berliners. Following pop-ups at Markthalle Neun, Bite Club and Fusion Festival, Mama Shabz has got a location of her own not far from Görli. There she serves dazzlingly authentic dishes in weekly rotation, like the spicy Shalgam (turnip) curry, the lamb and gourd Ghiya Ghosht and a classic Dhal. Pakora and samosas keep the vegetarians happy while for the carnivores there’s a special weekend treat in the form of a Nihari, the ultimate Pakistani breakfast stew. Once you’ve sampled all that, a must is the unorthodox but yummy grilled cheese Paratha, an indulgence we promise you won’t regret. The restaurant’s compact, colorful interior has appeal in bucketloads, with the tables handmade by Shabnam herself. Best of all, the place has a real community feel, with regulars coming in for a chat and a spicy pick-me-up. (Text: Katie Burton / Photos: Savannah van der Niet)

Mama Shabz, Reichenberger Str.61a, 10999 Berlin–Kreuzberg; map
Wed–Fri 8–21h, Sat 11–17h
@mamashabz

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MA-MAKAN: MALAY-SINGAPOREAN STREET FOOD LANDS IN FLUGHAFENSTRASSE

MA-MAKAN: MALAY-SINGAPOREAN STREET FOOD LANDS IN FLUGHAFENSTRASSE

Since autumn 2019, the marble-topped tables at Neukölln’s YaMe NumNums have been home to more than just their Australasian-style brunches. Now Ma-Makan (a play on the Malay word for “eat”) is running the kitchen Thursday–Saturday, serving up homemade hawker-style Malaysian and Singaporean dishes. From savory chwee kueh (steamed rice cakes topped with salty preserved radish – a dish found nowhere else in Berlin) to slurp-able bowls of fragrant nyonya laksa soup with all the fixings, Ma-Makan quietly boasts one of the most exciting menus in the city. Since 2017, Kaylin Eu has been sharing foods from her childhood alongside new favorites. Our first taste was her nasi lemak at a pop-up in 2018, and ever since we’ve been yearning for more. Now, with a long-term space and a distinctive rotating menu, our wishes have been granted. As Berlin’s gloomy gray months settle in and wear us down, we know where we’ll be seeking refuge: in aromatic bowls of spiced coconut broth. (Text: Devan Grimsrud / Photos: Savannah van der Niet)

Ma-Makan at YaMe NumNums, Flughafenstr.46, 12053 Berlin–Neukölln; map
Thu–Sat 18h30–22h
@mamakanberlin

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NEW TEAM, NEW KITCHEN: REDISCOVERING MARKTHALLEN RESTAURANT

NEW TEAM, NEW KITCHEN: REDISCOVERING MARKTHALLEN RESTAURANT

Having served delicious, hearty food and cold drinks to hungry market workers for over a century, Markthallen Restaurant is a Kreuzberg institution. The restaurant has changed hands over the years, and is now under the care of the trio behind Markthalle Neun: Nikolaus Driessen, Florian Niedermeier and Bernd Maier. While the rustic wood interior retains its nostalgic charm, the difference really shines in the reinvented menu. The carefully crafted rotating menu from new head chef Bastian Laschet (previously at Nobelhart & Schmutzig) is inspired by the fresh produce sourced from the markthalle itself. At its center is slow food, time-honored recipes, and using the whole plant from stem to root. The highlights of our visit: Stuffed Uckermark tomatoes; beef in aspic with chanterelle mushrooms, root vegetables and herbed cream; and Schmorbraten – beef shoulder boiled in a red wine vegetable juice, served on a fried potato biscuit. You’re left full and convinced that Markthallen remains a true classic, well worth revisiting. (Text: Emily Miotke / Photos: Johanna Rademacher-Flesland)

Markthallen Restaurant, Pücklerstr.34, 10997 Berlin–Kreuzberg; map
Tue–Sat 18–0h
@markthallenrestaurant

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