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Berlin – beauty and the beast

The city is overtaking London in the world of business, rivalling Paris when it comes to food, catching up with New York in all things art – Berlin, Europe’s new capital.

Text:
Susanne von Meiss
Photos:
Christoph Kern
F

For sure, Berlin is cool. But it is elegant, too.

Berlin is cool. Berlin is cutting-edge. Berlin is booming. It is fair to say that Berlin is currently the most popular city in Europe. Be it theatre productions, music festivals, art events, design awards, film festivals or media happenings, the creative capital on the Spree river with its 3.5 million inhabitants is where it’s at. Young start-ups flock to Berlin from all corners of the globe; there are 12 million visitors to the multifaceted city each year; more than 175 museums attract art lovers from all over – and that is not all: in the global foodie scene, too, Berlin is near the top of the list. With over 4,600 restaurants and some 900 bars, the city can satisfy any craving, any time.

‍A woman with a mission: “I want my guests to keep coming back to us,” says the young chef de cuisine Victoria Eliasdóttir. And they do, because of the delicious Nordic cuisine that the sister of Icelandic artist Ólafur Elíasson conjures up in the restaurant Dóttir.
‍A haven of peace and elegance: the lobby of “Das Stue”, located right next to the zoo and the Tiergarten park, is a striking piece of architecture that generates a sense of spaciousness. The former Royal Danish Legation has been con-verted into the finest luxury boutique hotel in Berlin.

The range spans from Michelin-starred cuisine with a regional touch by up-and-coming chefs to street food stalls for small budgets, not to forget next door’s Arab-Asian fusion culture – all over Berlin, culinary wizards are stirring up some magic. And the gastro entrepreneurs and chefs keep getting younger and more creative. Boredom is rarely served. For sure, Berlin is cool. But it is elegant, too. Not so much the young and tantalising Berlin fashion, but the histor-ical architecture. Berlin is also a place of intellect, with 165,000 students doing their part. Berlin is scandalous, its nightclubs are legendary. And Berlin is pretty, too, though maybe not at first glance. Yet a trip to the top of the 368-metre-high television tower leaves no doubt: Berlin is pretty. Pretty exciting!

‍Imposing pillars: the courtyard on Berlin’s Museum Island is surrounded by colonnades and the buildings of the New Museum, the Old National Gallery and the Pergamon Museum. 
Triple A: in the restaurant, at the bar or on the terrace – eating and drinking in the Pauly Saal is a delightful aesthetic and culinary experience. The elegant interior of the former Jewish Girls’ School is dominated by huge Murano chandeliers and the suspended rocket “Miss Riley” by Cosima von Bonin.
You could also be interested in:
1. With your five exclusive restaurants, you are a top player in the new foodie scene. What determines a restaurant’s success?

Oh, there are many factors. Besides the quality of the food, the architecture plays a key role, the restaur­ant’s interior design; the atmosphere, too, of course, and the dedication of the team. We are particularly interested in restaurant archetypes: a food or market hall, a small corner pub, an elegant grill restaurant. Then we consider very carefully what belongs where and to whom. That is also how we conceived our restaurants.

2. What is missing in Berlin?

Definitely an Italian restaurant that is superb in terms of both food and architecture.

3. You grew up in Dusseldorf and moved to Berlin more than 20 years ago. What makes this city so fascinating?

One aspect is the city’s unfinished quality. And I don’t mean just a few run-down buildings. Reconstruction is not done yet; a lot is still missing. There are still many gaps to be filled. And filling those gaps is what appeals to us. Apart from that, I have great respect for history and architecture – there is more than enough of both those things in Berlin.

4. A visitor has just one weekend in Berlin. What are three things he mustn’t miss?

The Museum Island with its Pergamon Museum. That place is amazing. Definitely a must-see. And the street food markets serving inexpensive regional specialities are fantastic. Best of all is Street Food Thursday at Markthalle Neun. Don’t miss it. And lastly, of course, the incomparable Berghain. Where else in the world do 400 people queue to get into a nightclub – at 9 in the morning!

5. Where do you like to relax?

On my estate in the country. Or walking to the office with my dog. Berlin is a wonderful city for ped­estrians.

purwin-radczun.com

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