Ballin’ in Berlin with Scoot – 11 Interesting Dining Experiences around Berlin12 July, 2018
Thanks to Scoot, we recently had the opportunity to experience the best that Berlin had to offer in terms of dining, shopping and history during our 5 day trip to Berlin and not have to bust our airfare budget. Yes, you heard right – Scoot – a low cost airline flies non-stop to Berlin from Singapore and this is not the first time that they are doing long haul flights (Scoot is also doing long haul flights to Athens in Greece and Honolulu in Hawaii, USA).
Over the next few blog posts, I will be sharing with you our various interesting experiences in Berlin but for this post, I have some suggestions for the foodies who are keen to check out the diverse dining experiences in Berlin and I have 11 of them!
But before we talk about dining in Berlin, I just want to share some tips on enjoying a long haul flight on Scoot. Being a low cost airline means we get bargain fares with Scoot (one way fare to Berlin from Singapore starting from S$239!) but that also means that the usual amenities that we would expect with a full-fare airline e.g. meals, in-flight entertainment, will not be complimentary. But if you add up the costs of buying these extras, you have still scored a huge bargain for a flight to Berlin!
The flight to Berlin from Singapore is almost 13 hours long so do preorder your long haul meal bundle or else you can get quite hungry during the flight. Preordering ensures that you get the meal you want and there are usually discounts or certain perks (for example, you may get a complimentary Haagen Daaz ice-cream or cookies with your meal). The flight departs from Singapore to Berlin at 12.25am and the first meal service (where a light meal of chicken sandwich wrap was served) will start around 1 hour+ after take-off (around 2am). There is no seatback inflight entertainment – you will have to bring your own entertainment or sign up for the ScooTV access (US$11 or about S$15) for the duration of the flight (but you will need to bring your own device e.g. iPad, phones and if you are using Apple devices, ensure that you had downloaded the ScooTV app before boarding your flight; for android devices, you can download the app from the Scoot Wi-Fi portal for free during the flight). If you need to charge your devices (nowadays whose phone can last for 13 hours on a single charge right?), you can buy in-seat power for about US$7.
To help yourself get as comfortable as possible and to sleep well during this long haul flight, I would recommend getting a Scoot Snooze Kit which comprises a very comfortable blanket and eye mask and inflatable neck pillow. Pre-purchasing this snooze kit before your flight will save you S$5 – otherwise you can buy the Scoot Snooze Kit onboard for S$23.
Our second meal service came in at around 3 hours before we landed at Berlin and it was roast beef with potatoes (there are other choices too – chicken, vegetarian etc.). This tasted very good as the beef is very tender. The sides include a potato salad and yoghurt. Scoot’s long haul meal bundle for flights to Berlin comes in non-vegetarian and vegetarian options and includes:
- Premium Meal Combo which includes a deluxe meal, 2 sides and a drink.
- Light Meal Combo which includes a light meal, a snack and a precupped juice.
This long haul meal bundle is available for preorder only.
Our Scoot flight to Berlin from Singapore landed at Berlin Tegel Airport at 7.20am – perfect timing to start a long day of fun at Berlin. The best part about landing at Berlin Tegel Airport is the airport’s proximity to the Berlin city centre. After clearing immigrations and collecting your baggage, you can be at your hotel in the city centre within 20 minutes! Our basecamp for our trip to Berlin was Capri by Fraser Berlin – we had a great staycation at Capri by Fraser Singapore (the one beside Changi City Point) and the Berlin one was just as good an experience.
Now, back to the topic at hand – Interesting and Diverse Dining Experiences in Berlin, we will of course start with German cuisine:
1. The Grand
The Grand is known for its French-German delicacies and steak dishes.If you are a big fan of steak, you will enjoy a wide selection of Irish Herford Prime, US Prime Beef, Charolais, Simmental Beef, Wagyu at The Grand. The restaurant has a special grill to prepare the steak in such a way that the surface is crispy and yet retaining the juiciness of the beef. Dining at The Grand is not cheap though – do be prepared to spend about 30 to 40 Euros for a dinner main course and about 15 Euros for dessert.
What makes this dining experience an even better one is the classy setting of the restaurant set in a historic building from 1842 that has retained all of its charm and now serves. We tried one of The Grand’s veal dish served with potato and artichoke – so delicious!
If you love desserts, don’t miss the Chocolate Lava Cake served with ice-cream served at The Grand.
Address: The Grand, Hirtenstraße 4, 10178 Berlin (nearest U2: Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz)
2. Brauhaus Lemke am Alex
Brauhaus Lemke is Berlin’s oldest craft beer brewery and they have a number of branches in Berlin – the most convenient for those staying at the city center is the Brauhaus located directly across from Alexanderplatz and the Berlin TV tower. Beer and sausages – you can’t get more German than that and you can enjoy both at Brauhaus Lemke am Alex.
Besides trying the house craft beer, we enjoyed the Sausage Trilogy – yes the name of the dish sounds epic and it truly is. The Sausage Trilogy comprises the Original roast bratwurst, grilled veal bratwurst and Berlin steamed sausage with marjoram. My favorite of the three is the Original roast bratwurst. My recommendation is to get this Sausage Trilogy dish to share with friends (who can order other signature dishes of Brauhaus Lamke e.g. the Schnitzel Vienna Style (veal)).
Address: Brauhaus Lemke am Alex, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 13, 10178 Berlin (nearest S+U: Alexanderplatz)
3. Bar 203 at Berlin’s TV Tower
Soaring 368 meters into the sky, Berlin’s TV Tower is the city’s most visible landmark. The tower is also the highest building in Europe open to the general public.
From the dizzying height of its viewing platform, you have spectacular 360-degree panoramic views out across the entire city – and beyond. You can also chill out with cocktail from Bar 203. You can also have dinner at the rotating restaurant just one floor above the viewing platform
Address: Panoramastraße 1 A, 10178 Berlin (nearest S+U: Alexanderplatz)
4. Currywurst at Curry 36
If you are still game for more sausages after the Sausage Trilogy at Brauhaus Lemke am Alex, don’t miss Berlin’s iconic street food – the Currywurst served at Curry 36 which is a legendary fast food joint where you can get a quick bite at very affordable prices. For just 2 Euros, you get a sausage cut into small pieces with a generous dose of ketchup and curry powder. Top up an additional 1.60 Euros for french fries to complete your meal.
The Currywurst has an interesting origin: During 1949 in Berlin, a resourceful German housewife, Herta Heuwer, traded some spirits with British soldiers for ketchup. She then created the dish – composed of German sausage, or wurst, sliced and doused in ketchup and sprinkled with curry powder and created the currywurst which became an overnight success and eventually a staple, mainly amongst construction workers who valued its high protein content and low cost.
Address: Curry 36, Hardenbergplatz 9, 10623 Berlin (this is near the Zoo or the BIKINI Berlin which we will talk about later – nearest U2: Berlin Zoologischer Garten)
Curry 36, Mehringdamm 36, 10961 Berlin Kreuzberg
5. Michelin-starred Tim Raue
From traditional German food, we now move to other dining experiences with other influences e.g. Asian and Middle Eastern. The restaurant TIM RAUE serves Asian-inspired cuisine that can be characterized as a blend of Japanese product perfection, Thai aromas, and Chinese culinary philosophy. The aim of his dishes is to provide energy and joie de vivre. Guests are invited to a deliberately simple ambience influenced by the urban atmosphere of Berlin. The Michelin guide awarded Tim Raue’s restaurant with two Michelin stars.
We started our dining experience with the Ikarimi Salmon served with buttered stock of tomato juice & marukan rice vinegar, compote of tomato & star anis and green anis. The dish is served lukewarm, keeping the salmon tender – the salmon is soft and melts in your mouth. The various flavours of vinegar, tomato gives you a mix of different tastes with each bite.
Next we had the Langoustine served with wasabi mayonnaise cantonese style. This is like our Singaporean equivalent of wasabi prawn – those that you can order from zi char stalls at hawker centre, although the quality at Tim Raue is a lot better – instead of prawns, Norway lobster meat (langoustine) is used and it tasted very fresh. The wasabi mayonnaise sauce is perfect with the langoustine – some zi char stalls in Singapore makes the wasabi sauce overwhelming (as if you are swallowing wasabi) but here at Tim Raue, its just gives a tinge of wasabi taste and that is good enough.
Next, we had Sate Chicken – or we call it Satay Chicken. I am very surprised to taste such familiar tasting food all the way in Germany. The chicken is tender and when eaten with the satay sauce, it tastes so good!
We wrapped up our meal at Tim Raue with dessert which comprises Quince sherbet, macadamia nougat and passionfruit. It is a good mix of taste – sweet and sour.
A 4 course menu for lunch at Tim Raue like the above will cost 68 Euros + 19% tax. You get a choice of dishes to make up the 4 courses – the 3 course menu is the cheaper option at 58 Euros. Do note that if you select the wasabi langoustine, that will cost an additional 12 Euros to the 68 Euros for a 4 course menu.
Address: Restaurant Tim Raue, Rudi-Dutschke-Straße 26, 10969 Berlin (near Checkpoint Charlie)
6. Night Kitchen
Night Kitchen serves modern Mediterranean dishes (designed to share with friends) from an open kitchen in a warm, rustic and inviting atmosphere. If you are planning to catch a show at Friedrichstadt-Palast, Night Kitchen is the perfect stop for a pre-show dinner but do factor in some time (about 10 minutes) to walk from Night Kitchen to Friedrichstadt-Palast. We had this dinner at the Night Kitchen before catching the THE ONE Grand Show at Friedrichstadt-Palast – amazing performance which I will provide a short review later on in this post.
My personal favorites at the Night Kitchen are the meat dishes. The pictures below are what I would call the must-try: (1) Octopus a la Plancha served with Jerusalem Artichoke, (2) Slow-cooked short ribs served with Maple-lemongrass sauce and (3) White fish served with spicy carrot ginger tomato sauce.
The short ribs are tender and well marinated, thus making it very flavorful. The white fish is fresh and the spicy sauce brings out the flavour in the fish. Lastly the Octopus is just perfect in term of texture and tasted very delicious!
Address: Night Kitchen, Oranienburger Str. 32, 10117 Berlin (nearest S-station: Berlin Oranienburger Straße station)
Casalot offers a wide range of selected, fine specialties from the Arabic cuisine. You will find a wide variety of specialties from the Middle East, the Maghreb and the Arabic Peninsula. According to their motto “eat and drink differently”, all of the dishes are freshly prepared. Their signature is the grilled meat – chicken and lamb. Casalot is also very near Friedrichstadt-Palast – a short 5 minute walk away so this restaurant will also be a good spot for pre-show dinner.
Address: Casalot, Claire-Waldoff-Straße 5, 10117 Berlin
Just a short aside on the THE ONE Grand Show at Friedrichstadt-Palast, if you want to catch one of the most lavish show in Europe on one of the biggest stage in the world, then you should not miss the ONE Grand Show. An iconic part of the ONE Grand Show performance is the more than 500 daring, extravagant, and glamourous costumes designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, one of the great stars of Parisian haute couture. The scale of this performance is massive in many ways – more than 100 artists on the world’s biggest theater stage and a production budget of more than eleven million euros.
Most of the singing is in German but you should be able to interpret from the music and costumes what is going on but in case you don’t, here’s my quick take on the performance.
THE ONE Grand Show blurs past and present in a vibrant, euphoric waking dream. You will follow a young man who struggles with his inner emotions – anger and curiosity as he rekindles the splendour and glamour of times past in his mind’s eye while everything dissolves, floats, and spins in front of him, all leading back to the one person who means everything to him – THE ONE. I know very chim (deep-meaning in local Singaporean colloquial terms) but this is a show where you get amazed and surprised by the myriad of costume and death defying acts by the performers. It is a good mix between a typical circus act and dance performance and musical (the latter you will appreciate better if you know German).
8. KANTINI Food Market at BIKINI Berlin
If you want diversity in your food selection, then head on to the food markets where you get a wide selection of cuisine in one place. If you are in the area of the Berlin Zoologischer Garten for a currywurst at Curry 36, pop by BIKINI Berlin for the KANTINI where there are 13 food stalls covering various cuisines e.g. Thai, Israeli, Italian. We ordered a Thai green curry rice and sweet potato fries – prices are reasonable – you can have quite a good meal for about 10 Euros. Choose a seat overlooking the zoo and you may be able to see some animals while you eat.
Address: Bikini-Haus, Budapester Str. 38-50, 10787 Berlin (nearest U2: Berlin Zoologischer Garten)
9. Markthalle Neun (Street Food Thursday)
For a more traditional food market, don’t miss Markthalle Neun (Market Hall 9) in Kreuzberg on Thursday because of Street Food Thursday. On Thursdays from 5pm to 10pm only, the various stalls compete with each other with their culinary delicacies, but it is you who are the winners. This is truly an international event as you get to experience British pies, Thai tapioca dumplings, Mexican tacos, Allgäu cheese spaetzle or Nigerian FuFu. It gets really crowded though so seats are very limited.
If you need help navigating the culinary gems that Berlin offers on this exciting street food tour through the district of Kreuzberg, check out the Food Tour with Fork & Walk by Dov Selby. If you check out his website, you will notice that there are lots of different food tours to meet your needs, be it whether you are a vegan or coffee connoisseur, there is a food tour for you.
We went on a Evening Food Tour with Dov where he showed us some of the best street food stalls in Markthalle Neun, for example – these tofu burgers by Tofutussis and …
… amazing cheese sandwiches by Alte Milch
10. Doyum Restaurant
Due to a large migrant population from Turkey, you can find lots of Middle Eastern restaurants around Kreuzberg. As part of the Evening Food Tour, Dov brought us to Doyum Restaurant where we got to savour some of the best Turkish cuisine.
If you are looking for traditional Turkish food, Doyum Restaurant is the place to be – the food is grilled over an open charcoal fire and they are known for the meat dishes. The following are some of my favorites and I would recommend that you try them too.
Lahmacun – A snack-sized thin crust pizza whose name is derived from Arabic: laḥm bi-ʿajīn, meaning meat with dough. It’s a delicious Turkish staple and street food that has existed for thousands of years.
Adana Kebap Yogurtlu – Minced meat on the skewer with yogurt, tomatosauce, gegrilled tomatoes, pepper and special bread
Künefe – Pastry mozzarella cheese doused with sugar syrup
Künefe is a crispy cheese-filled dessert made with kadayıf, which is a traditional shredded wheat dessert with pistachio filling. Native to the southeastern parts of Turkey in a area named Hatay. This is a very sweet and addictive dessert
Address: 37, Admiralstraße 36, 10999 Berlin, Germany
11. Kaffee Karamell
Kaffee Karamell is located right at where we stayed – Capri by Fraser. They serve great food at affordable prices. We tried this delicious Carbonara dish (with ham, garlic in cream sauce) and Brownie and a cup of coffee (all for just under 20 Euros). Kaffee Karamell is also where we had our daily breakfast with the hotel.
And there you have it – 11 interesting and diverse dining experiences you can check out in Berlin. To get around Berlin, you can use the public transport – buses and U-bahn and S-bahn. The Berlin WelcomeCard gives you access to all public transport as well as discounts on selected tours and museum. Ranging from 2 – 6 days, these will definitely come in handy when exploring Berlin. Just remember to validate your ticket before you take your first ride with the bus /U-bahn.
Capri by Fraser Berlin
What I like about staying in Capri by Fraser Berlin is how convenient it is – there is a supermarket just across the road and there are buses (just a few minutes walk away) that connect us to the city centre easily as well as a U-bahn station 10 minutes walk away. The fully-equipped kitchenettes and spacious bedroom also make our stay at Berlin a very pleasant one – check out our short video of what our room at Capri by Fraser Berlin looks like.
Read on if you would like to know what we ate on our Scoot flight back to Singapore from Berlin. Our flight took off from Berlin at 9.40am and the first meal service is Currywurst and…
… for our second meal service (a few hours before we arrive at Singapore) – Turkey meatloaf with rye bread.