From chocolate covered pancakes to classic currywurst, here’s a little look at our busy weekend, a look at what we did and what we ate in Berlin!
If you told me this time last year that I’d be eating smoked sausage covered in a curry-ketchup and actively enjoying it, I’d probably at least raise an eyebrow.
But hey, it happened.
In case the title didn’t give you a clue as to what I’m about to fill you in on, Sean and I had a lovely little weekend trip to Berlin at the start of this month!
“Ooh, check her out, travelling all the time!” Well, actually, I’m just an idiot who decided to arrange all of my year’s activities within the space of two weeks. I’m not as wealthy, cultured or free as my Instagram feed may sometimes portray…
Berlin is a city I’ve wanted to visit for years. I’d always planned to go alone on a little foodie solo trip, but since Tinder linked me up to my skinny significant other, I figured I’d drag him along instead. Neither of us particularly enjoy the typical week-in-the-sun holiday, so a wandering weekend of museums and weird food is always ideal.
Thankfully, Berlin is just two short flights from where we live so despite a very early morning (hello 1am alarm), we arrived in the famous city within just a few hours of leaving home. After arriving at our adorable Air BnB apartment, we set out to find a quick lunch before we began exploring.
I was delighted to discover a bakery at the end of our street, meaning we were able to grab some tasty sandwiches on really great bread. Mine was just a simple ham salad sandwich in a delicious fresh crusty white roll. Nothing fancy, just a great filling snack.
We spent our first day exploring the areas around our apartment, and visiting many of the tourist hotspots. See below for the obligatory Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag and Cathedral snaps. Warning: they may feature two Scottish nerds.
With tired feet, we returned to the apartment to scope out a dinner destination. After a snack-filled day, we fancied treating ourselves to a hearty dinner. Rotisserie Weingrün was a short walk away from our hotel, so we got a table and salivated as we pored over the menu.
Shortly after ordering, we received a whole table full of incredibly delicious food! Fresh focaccia, olives and yoghurt dip arrived first. A meaty mixed grill with two sauces, some salad and potatoes were place in front of Sean. Then two bowls of brown butter mashed potatoes and roasted veggies arrived in front of me, along with a dramatic wooden board topped with a hefty salmon fillet which the waitress then set on fire. For the flavour, crispiness or just the sheer theatre of it, I’m not really sure. However, flaming fish was a fun first meal in Berlin!
We both thoroughly enjoyed this meal, lapping up every last drop of our mains, sides and sauces. This restaurant also introduced me to the tart sweetness of rhubarb juice, a drink that will feature heavily throughout this post. That stuff was SO good!
The following morning we toddled along to Spreegold, which I’d heard many good things about through Instagram and Tripadvisor. Sean grabbed a bacon and egg roll with a milkshake, and I got a little adventurous and ordered what they called Paleo Pancakes. Don’t panic, this wasn’t a health choice, I just wanted an obnoxious amount of coconut in my face.
These pancakes were wonderful. They took a little while to arrive but damn, it was worth the wait. Inch thick almond and coconut pancakes (I think), served with dark chocolate, fresh fruit, maple syrup and a grilled banana. Hell yes. The texture of the pancakes made them almost like giant coconut macaroons. They were perfectly filling and sweet without being too sickly.
I washed this plate down with a milky coffee, as we watched the city go by through the window. Sean gets twitchy when we sit for too long though, so off we went to go and explore Berlin Zoo! The Zoo introduced us to loads of lovely animals, including the first ever elephants and polar bear I’ve seen in the flesh!
I’d made it our mission to have at least one currywurst before leaving Berlin, and the Zoo fulfilled that wish. Everything about the Berlin tradition sounds wrong, but it was oh so right. Two plates of cheap but delicious smoked pork sausage covered in a curry-ketchup and served with either buttery new potatoes or crispy skinny chips. Basically, trashy food heaven. Also, I ordered corn on the cob and the nice lady behind the counter in the food court literally poured a LADEL of butter over the top. I love Germany.
The afternoon was spent wandering through the city, looking around war museums, and visiting the famous remains of the Berlin wall. Little did we know we were about to ingest one of the best meals we’ve EVER had for dinner.
We innocently strolled along the banks of the Spree to The Bird Express, not too far from our apartment. The place was big, rustic and staffed by fellow Brits, which was unexpected in an American BBQ themed restaurant in the heart of Germany…
This place had a great atmosphere, and it served burgers and rhubarb juice, so we were in our element. Cue two glorious burgers arriving at our table. Sean’s bacon double cheeseburger (with like the biggest serving of chips I’ve ever seen omg) and my “Dirty Reuben.” For those unaware of a Reuben, this style of sandwich contains either brisket or pastrami with Swiss cheese, slaw, pickles and mustard. It may be a New York classic, but this Berlin restaurant served THE BEST Reuben I’ve ever eaten, and potentially one of the best burgers/sandwiches I’ve ever eaten. It was SO GOOD.
Smoky cured beef with creamy slaw, tangy mustard, melting cheese and sharp pickles with a side of smoked beans and rhubarb juice. My keyboard is moistening with drool as I look back at this. Not really though. But kinda. Sean dubbed The Bird Express as the creators of the best burger he’s ever eaten too. So basically, it was amazing, and we’re really sad that it happens to be in another country.
You know me by now, we didn’t engage in the wild and overtly sexual nightlife of Berlin. We instead strolled back to the apartment, got a few hours of YouTube videos in (shoutout to Funhaus for keeping our relationship alive) and fell asleep. Party on Wayne…
BREAKFAST. And yes, we went back to Spreegold. Sean grabbed himself a cheese and ham sandwich on some of the sexiest white bread my eyes have ever graced. He did pick the pickles out though, fussy thing he is. I couldn’t help but order the incredible pancakes again, as much as I wanted to try the banana bread, apple cake or breakfast bowls they had, the pancakes pulled me in. I swear these were tastier and even more chocolatey than the previous day too. Good times.
A fun little tour of the epic Olympiastadion, and the scenic train journey to get there and back, filled our morning.
We sheltered from the sun and nestled into a funky little hide-away spot in the West side of the city for lunch, Schwarze’s Cafe. This place looked old and fresh at the same time, staffed and served by all ages and cultures. Our two bizarre but tasty lunch plates arrived promptly. With rhubarb juice, OBVIOUSLY. My simple order of a cheese baguette brought out this huge, frilly masterpiece filled with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, copious amounts of butter and two kinds of cheese. Needless to say I was both entertained and delighted. Sean’s interesting “Hawaiian Toastie” followed, toasted bread topped with ham, pineapple, melted cheese and cranberry sauce, with a side of fruit. All very strange, but all very tasty!
We spent our afternoon touring the shopping districts, buying some clothes and souvenirs. We also visited that Ritter Sport shop that’s all over Facebook and Buzzfeed! We couldn’t believe how busy the shop was, or how cheap the chocolate was compared to UK prices. The queue to make a custom bar was way too long for our liking, but that didn’t stop me from purchasing 12 different flavoured bars of standard Ritter chocolate. You think I’m exaggerating? Think again. I was literally a kid in a candy store.
By the time our weary legs got us back to the apartment that evening, it was late and we were both very tired and very sweaty. We’d planned to visit the famous Maximilian’s Bavarian restaurant in the centre of the city, but facing sausage and buttery potatoes was just too much when it was so late and so hot outside. Luckily for us, a tapas restaurant sat on the same street as our accommodation, so we toddled along to it once we’d freshened up. Yeah, yeah, I know. Authentic German tapas isn’t exactly a thing, but we were hungry and tired, so it was exactly what we needed!
Tapas y Mas was very unassuming from the outside, but opened up into a gorgeous Spanish-feeling restaurant with a sprawling courtyard too. Unexpected but great. We filled our dark wooden table with salads, bread, fruit, dips, meatballs, potatoes and chicken wings. Basically, a huge mish-mash of tasty stuff. The potato salad I ordered was genuinely the best potato salad I’ve ever had, and I eat a lot of mayo-coated potatoes. Happily, and affordably, stuffed with fresh Summery food, we headed home for the night.
Sadly, the following morning was our last in this unusual but lovable city. We grabbed a quick bite to eat from the bakery up the road, and made our way to the airport to head home. The only food I snapped on this day were these ridiculous frozen ice cream bites called Bum Bum. I hope it makes you laugh as much as it made us laugh!
Overall, I loved Berlin.
I also loved what we ate in Berlin. While it doesn’t quite hold the same place in my heart that Amsterdam does, it’s definitely a recommendable European destination. Fantastic tourist attractions, cheap transport and activities, plentiful accommodation, and excellent food, including some of the tastiest breads and baked goods you’ll ever try! I’d like to come back to this gritty but modern city some day, and I’d really encourage you to visit and check out some of these great foodie destinations while you’re there.