Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Scene meets Schillerkiez

Do you know the saying „not all that glitters is gold“? The same could be said about the Schillerkiez in Neukölln. „Schillern“ means „to glitter“ in german and the neighbourhood – largely constructed around 1900 – was originally designed to attract the wealthy bourgeoisie to this part of town.

However, with the increased use of airport Tempelhof, located right next to the Schillerkiez, the wealthy residents of the once prestigious borough went looking for more comfortable areas to live in. The Kiez decayed over time and slowly but steady became a somewhat deprived area – worn down houses roaming the once glorious Schillerpromenade, crime rates going up and a constant rise of poverty among the residents.

But now, for the good news! Things change around here, and fast. With the closure of the airport a few years back, investors have once again found the beauty or rather, the financial potential in this area and be assured – it’s only for the better. With forerunners like Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg and the close-by Reuterkiez, Schillerkiez will be the next big thing on the map of gentrification. After walking up and down the Schillerpromenade and checking out some of the side streets you’ll understand why – there really is a lot of potential slumbering in this area. With direct access to the huge Tempelhofer Feld, offering space for all the recreational activities you can think of, living here becomes more and more attractive by the day.

There’s quite a handful going on in the Kiez at the moment – the upspring of numerous trendy cafés and organic burger restaurants, the first confirmed sightings of students and hipsters moving into the newly renovated houses and the transformation of kebab shops into second hand boutiques for once pricey clothing only hint at one thing: The Schillerkiez will schiller once again!

Now the new residents themselves surely don’t see it that way… yet. Comfortably sucking on the straws of their iced lattes, they like to lament about the nearby oh-so-cool-Reuterkiez and its oh-so-cool-residents and how the residents of the Schillerkiez are oh-so-different. The fact the Reuterkiez is less than two kilometers away and underwent the exact same developments over the last years doesn’t seem to get on their minds. 

With all this potential the Kiez has, of course Berlinagenten had to go there and check out the first trendy cafés and the best spots for tasty food, coffee bars, funky eateries, vintage styled cafes, workshops and more.

Café Engels

Café Lux

Café Pappelreihe

Wilhelm Tell

Caligari

Schillerburger

Schillerbar

Itzenga (contemporary jewlery)

Gordon Records 

Café Jule 

MJ’s foodshop 

Schillerbackstube

Willi Moeller’s Holz Kohle Bar

Café Frollein Langner

Bar Bruchberg 

Zio Felix Pizzeria

Café Kanel

On Tour: The culinary trails of Berlin history

Berlin, 13 August 1961. This historical date marks the beginning of the construction of a barrier in the very heart of Berlin that would change the city’s surface forever and would be known as „The Wall“. Seperating not only a city but families, loved ones and a whole people, it surely is one of the darker subjects in recent German history. It took nearly 40 years until our well-loved David Hasselhoff would sit on that exact same wall, wearing an adorable piano-keyboard tie and perfoming his legendary song „I’ve been looking for freedom.“ Reunited at last!

With a division lasting close to 40 years, many inhabitants of Berlin still have the taste of the GDR (German Democratic Republic) on their tongues. Literally! The brand new Gastro Rallye „The Wall“ offers participants the chance to immerse into the city’s culinary history – traditional russian recipes fused with a touch of modern German cuisine will take you on a trip back in time.

First stop is a nostalgic little café in hipster headquarters Prenzlauer Berg. The café’s walls are richly decorated with pin-ups of the Soviet Union’s heroic figures of the past – unsurprisingly that’s mostly sport icons, cosmonauts and politicians. If the surroundings don’t give you a nostalgic feeling yet – the menu will. Amongst the most popular regular dishes are „Wareniki“, homemade pastry filled with fresh spinach and sour cream or the meat-lovers option „Pelmeni“, pastry filled with sour cream and chicken. Another all time favourite is „Borsch“, a tasty soup from Ukraine made from beetroot and cabbage. 

Because we’re utterly fearless (and have had a few drinks at the café), we dive even deeper into the culinary nostalgia Berlin has to offer. In Berlin Weißensee we finally find the real thing. Upon entering the restaurant we’re greeted by a mannequin wearing the traditional uniform of the GDR army. Luckily we all have our papers on us. The inside of the restaurant feels like a tribute to a time past: antique type-writers, sewing machines, countless old cameras and a collection of well kept matryoshka dolls will give you an authentic feeling of being in eastern Berlin before the Wall went down. The menu combines regular German cuisine with classic recipes from the GDR, such as stewed cucumber with potatoes or delicious black pudding.

The last stop on our tour leads us to a post industrial complex on the western shore of the Spree canal. For dessert we’re visiting an old-fashioned plain brick building that’s been turned into a cool urban eatery, offering a very pleasant ambience and even features a beautifully decorated beach bar on historic ground. The Spree canal was once secured by the Berlin Wall and when looking across the river from the beach bar, you can still see the last erect remains of the barrier that once split Berlin in two in the distance. Even though it’s completely covered with graffitis today, the sight of the Wall never ceases to send an ever so slight chill to the bone and adds to the historical flair of the tour. If you’re keen to explore recent Berlin history while treating your belly with some of the historic culinary highlights the city has to offer, you shouldn’t miss out on this one. It also comes with a journey through time guarantee!

Global Hotspot – The beatiful Isles of Scilly

This time Berlinagenten’s never-ending need for exploring trendy places world-wide has led us to a magnificient archipelago consisting of around 140 isles just off the coast of Cornwall. The Isles of Scilly. You might think it’s just another standard holiday destination but quite on the contrary, it really is much more than that.

The warm and mild climate sets the island apart from the rest of Britain, making the landscape home to exotic plants and wild flowers that are nowhere to be found on the mainland. The gorgeous wild flowers grow all around the year as the Isles hardly ever see frosty winters. White-sand beaches, purple moors and jade fields as far as you can see create astonishing landscapes, making you feel much more like you were in the midst of a Caribbean summer dream rather than a little more than 150 kilometers from Cornwall!

The Scillies invite you to stroll around the beaches, wander aimlessly through the mesmerizing countryside and to just forget your troubles for a little while. With a population of only 2000 in the whole area, you’ll easily find your very own private beach for the day. Naturally these settings draw the rich and famous like a magnet and with a bit of luck, you’ll stumble across one of the many celebrities who like to spend their vacation on the Scillies. Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, Roman Abramovich and even the Royalty are known to lean back and relax in the Islands’ cozy atmosphere.

Having dreamt of going there for years, this year the time had finally come. Berlinagenten went Scilly!

The Islands

St. Mary’s 

The largest of the islands and it’s the perfect hub for exploring the other islands as the ferry traffic and boat shuttles pass St Mary’s harbour several times a day. The Capitol of the Isles of Scilly is also found on St Mary’s, Hugh Town at the heart of the island. Here you will find the biggest variety of accommodation but also banks, shops, galleries, beach cafes, a museum, a supermarket, pubs, restaurants and even a disco. Hugh Town sits in the middle of two beaches, hosts numerous water-sport and land activities and is just 5 minutes from the airport.

St. Martin’s 

The island boasts some of the best beaches in the British Isles. Coastal paths drop down to secluded white sandy beach with clear waters. A walk around the island offers breathtaking scenery with stunning views over the Atlantic. St Martins is Scilly’s most eastern inhabited island, you will find grocery shops, a bakery, gift shops, art gallery and even the chance of a vineyard tour.

Bryher 

Bryher is the smallest of the five inhabited islands. Dramatic rock formations define the north’s surface while at the southern-most point, the small but beautiful beach known as Rushy Bay offers safe clear waters for swimming and snorkling.

St. Agnes 

St. Agnes remains unspoiled and the only noise disturbing the silence are birdsongs and the steady murmur of the sea. There are secluded sandy coves, weathered granite tors, a 17th Century lighthouse and an impressive view over the Western Rocks. The island has many stunning coves and bays for you to enjoy, including Periglis, the Bar and Covean.

Tresco

Tresco is the second biggest island of the Isles of Scilly and is a true paradise for sun seekers who are looking for a caribbean-like blue sea, secluded bays and lush vegetation. A wealthy merchant banker, Augustus Smith, leased Tresco from the Duchy of Cornwall in the mid-1930’s and it still remains in the ownership of the Dorrien-Smith family today. The island also features a rich variety of landscapes, ancient castles, beautiful cottages, farmland, shops, art craft, supermarket, a deli, restaurants, sub-post office and the exclusive New Inn. The entire island is working like a huge resort where you can eat and drink in any place and get the bill on your room if you stay in one of the lodging facilities on Tresco. Few islands in Europe can offer the same tropical beauty as Tresco!

Best Hotels

You can find a list of all the hotels on the islands available here.

Our picks:

St. Mary’s Hall Hotel

This is the place where we stayed, an old mansion converted into a nice, comfortable hotel. We rented the big apartment with terrace and got to enjoy the seaview and unpolluted air every morning! The hotel also features one of the best restaurants on the island. Big plus: a picturesque garden.

Karma St. Martin’s 

The Karma St. Martin’s just opened their doors in August and comes with the promise of uncompromising luxury. A big plus ist the fact that all the guestrooms and public areas face the sea, inviting you to never lay eyes off those dazzling white-sand beaches.

Star Castle Hotel St. Mary’s

An old fortification and jail turned into a historical rustic hotel. The new rooms facing the sea offer one of the most magnificent sunsets! They also have a pool.

The New Inn Tresco

The New Inn offers 16 hotel rooms and award winning food and beverages. Its pub has been listed in the Michelin „Eating out in pubs guide“ and is guaranteed to keep you battling with your inner self: should I have another pint or finally go out and enjoy the island?! 

Hell Bay Bryher

Hell Bay offers great food, bright rooms and many colorful tales about the treacherous waters surrounding the island. Just like the New Inn, it’s owned by Tresco’s Dorrien-Smith family, providing solid service and a warm sanctuary after a long day out.

Best Restaurants

The Ruin Beach Cafe (Tresco) 

The Flying Boat Club (Tresco) 

Spero’s Beach Café & Restaurant (St. Mary’s)

Tides Reach Restaurant (St. Mary’s)

Spirit Restaurant (St. Mary’s)

The Galley (St. Mary’s)

Tanglewood Kitchen (St. Mary’s)

Adam’s Fish And Chips (St. Martin’s)

High Tide Seafood (St. Agnes)

For a large selection of good restaurants on the islands, be sure to check out The Little Scilly Food Guide

The Beaches

The Isles of Scilly could easily be called „the Caribbean of Great Britian“. With their turquoise water and shiny white sand, Scilly’s beaches are simply stunning. There are more than 35 such examples spread across the archipelago and it´s very easy to find your own private, secluded beach. Tresco and St. Martin´s offer the best beaches and the sand dunes below Blockhouse Point on Tresco are simply mindblowing!

Pentle Bay (Tresco) 

Green Porth (Tresco)

Blockhouse Point/Cook’s Porth (Tresco)

Par Beach (St. Martin’s)

Great Bay (St. Martin’s)

Watermill Cove (St. Mary’s)

Rushy bay (Bryher)

The Bar causeway (St. Agnes and Gugh)

All in all the Scillies make for the perfect getaway vacation. The isles’ isolation create a feeling of privacy and exclusiveness while the landscapes render you speechless time and time again. And once you’ve see the beauty of the Islands, one thing is for sure. You’ll be back.

Insiders: Bastian and David from Berlin Dreamboys

This month we have two of Berlin’s finest high quality men strippers with us – Bastian and David from Berlin Dreamboys. They’ve successfully been rocking the business for a while now and offer shows that aren’t only sexy but add some artistic flavor. 

Looking at you guys makes it apparent why so many women (and men!) are delighted you two became strippers. Are your girlfriends just as glad?

B: You only have to find a woman who’s confident enough to cope with the job. One of us already found that woman, the other one’s still looking for the right one.

When did you decide to perform professionally and what made you choose pole dancing?

D: I’ve been into sports for as long as I can think, really. I started doing breakdancing when I was 14, which was bound to lead into the nightlife sooner or later. Young Bastian and even younger David eventually figured they would need money, too, so making the step towards stripping was an easy choice. But don’t get me wrong, it was never only about the money! It’s always been important to us to incorporate our shows with charm, acrobatics and of course, dancing.

What was your biggest success in your career so far?

B: After two years of hard work we were given the chance to perform in Las Vegas, alongside with the famous Chippendales. And David here actually won the german pole dancing championship not too long ago!

What does „sexy“ mean to you?

D: I feel like I’m mostly finding things sexy that seem just out of reach. I mean, a lot of things can be sexy. For example our lifestyle! How you interpret that is up to you.

To get a well-trained, thoroughly muscular body like yours, you surely have to spend a LOT of time in gyms. How often do you work out and what do you do to stay fit?

B: Daily exercise is anchored as firmly into our daily lives as brushing your teeth is for others. But it really isn’t about how many hours a day you work out, continuity and efficiency are much more important factors. The possibilities are virtually endless. Summing it up, I’m doing fitness, dancing, breakdance, acrobatics, wakeboarding, snowboarding… the list is long. 

Straight up – at your shows you probably meet a whole lot of slightly intoxicated ladies, who’re keen for more than just a men strip. Have you ever considered committing a folly?

D: We have a reputation to lose. It’s important to stick to your morals. If you’re willing to do this job professionally, that’s a no-go.

I’m sure with the uninhibited and enthusiastic atmosphere that comes with your shows, you surely have some amusing anecdotes in stock. Care to share?

B: Well, now you mention it, taking a closer look it surely is funny that we’re the last ones the future bride on a bachelor party has the chance to get laid by… with permission! And by laid I of course mean the part where the lady is positioned on a cloth so we can do a handstand on top of her.

Due to your profession you often get in touch with other well-trained, good-looking men… ever though about switching sides?

D: I think you’re either homosexual or you’re not. It’s definitely not the case with me so I haven’t given attention to that thought. But in our scene it’s actually a totally normal and well accepted topic and dancing for men isn’t something out of the usual for us.

No one here wants you to ever quit dancing – but do you have other wishes and dreams than stripping for the future?

B: Well, that’s quite a list. We’re actively following one big goal at the moment: We’re creating Europe’s best men strip group. It’s called „SIXX PAXX“ and will be featured on German television soon („Supertalent“ on RTL). See what surprises are in store.

You’re from Berlin – what’s Berlin’s essence for you?

D: We both agree on that one: Berlin is a lifestyle. And at the same time the most awesome city in the world… period!!!

Are there any clubs, bars or cool restaurants you can recommend in Berlin?

B: We don’t really have any favourite clubs, the coolest club is Berlin itself. If you’re keen for some good arabic food check out Marooush near Kurfürstendamm. We’ve also had some wild parties in the Kitty Cheng Bar… but if you’re just looking for some quality time with friends and want to have a beer at a really nice location, check out the rooftop terrace of the House of Weekend!

Thanks for taking the time. We hope to see you perform (again) soon!

The Scene meets Le Faubourg

West Berlin is on the rise! The western part of the city has been evolving rapidly these last few years and has provided us with some real high-class restaurants. Among the many new establishments that enrich the scene on a constant basis, there’s one that’s already cooked its way into the very heart of Berlinagenten. Located in the prestigious Sofitel Kurfürstendamm, Le Faubourg only opened last month and still is a real insider tip (brought to you by – who else could it be! – us). 

The restaurant’s setting feels pleasantly classy and simple, yet timeless and appealing – making you feel comfortable but leaving the real focus where it should be – on the food. It’s cuisine is defined by chef Felix Mielke’s imaginative take on traditional french recipes, fusing the classic french cuisine with a modern touch. But fear not! If you’re a fan of traditional recipes, Le Faubourg won’t disappoint, leaving you with the choice of the modern version of a recipe or the classic one. 

The Choice is all yours: either the classic beef tenderloin with fries, salad and sauce béarnaise or the modern approach – a delicious dry-aged rumpsteak cooked sous-vide with balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese, spinach, pine nuts and beetroot. Then there’s the traditional roasted turbot on saffron vegetables with tomatoe and bouillabaisse brew and it’s modern interpretation – turbot, cooked sous-vide, spicy chorizo, beans, white onions and pumpernickel. What sounds like an unlikely combination of ingredients makes for a real culinary highlight. I have to be honest here: I have been drooling all over my keyboard for the last 2 minutes. Surely, this is high class cuisine at its finest!

Apart from their obvious talent for cooking Le Faubourg knows how to impress their customers: the young and friendly team (chef Felix Mielke is only 29 and they also employ Mathias Brandweiner, whose 19 years make him the youngest sommelier in the whole of Germany!) specialize in using only regional and high quality organic products for their dishes. But it doesn’t stop there: 85% of their over 150 different wines are from Germany and France and make for some good stories. For example the background story of the fruity pinot-gris Teenage Dreams from Scherer&Zimmer, which features two young up-starters from Bad Krozingen, who fulfilled their dream of becoming winemakers by buying the cellar of an old pigsty and now successfully produce their own high quality wine. 

Although pricey (main courses range from 20-40€) Le Faubourg has everything the culinary heart could wish for. If money is no issue for you and your stomach craves for something innovative yet delicious – this is the place to go.

La Soupe Populaire

On Tour: Urban Insiders

Our costumers from a famous swedish law firm – the market leader in providing marriage settlements and testaments – could count themselves lucky: their bosses appreciated their hard work over the past year by not only hooking them up with a 4-day incentive trip to Berlin, they also made sure their employees would get nothing but the best by choosing Berlinagenten to be their host.

The very first stop of the tour was one for all the meat lovers out there: a traditional Berlin Currywurst (we have the best Currywurst in Germany and don’t let anyone from Hamburg tell you otherwise!). Before being transferred to the stylish design hotel Amano the group had the chance to see one of the most famous avenues in Berlin: The Kurfürstendamm. A boulevard providing more famous shops, hotels, retaurants and fashion designers than any other street in Berlin, buzzing with life all around the clock.

Berlinagenten never disappoints their clients when it comes to finding the best eateries in town. First night kicked off with a al fresco dinner in an imposing formerbread factory on the River Spree. Following evening we made it possible to get a table at Tim Raue’s La Soupe populaire, which boasts a post industrial space with art exhibitions in the dinner area. Save the best for the last, the culinary highlight was no less than the Gastro-Rallye Deluxe, a tour where we take our guests to three trendy gourmet restaurants, one dish being served at each stop. If a farmer prepares the pig to get fat before Christmas, we definitely prepare our guests to roll back home!

Now before you get the impression that the whole tour consisted of eating and drinking (which might not even be such a bad thing, either) let’s talk about small cage-like cars with fumes so lovely, you’ll never want to smell another thing again. Or even be able to. The Trabbi! Fabricated in the GDR this car was roaming the streets in eastern Germany for decades and has nowadays become a nostalgia symbol. Berlinagenten booked Trabbis for the whole group and took a 2-hours „wild east“ route with an english speaking guide, providing an exclusive insight into Berlin history for our customers. At this point I think it’s only fair to say that those oldtimer Trabbis can be tricky little beasts: One of the Trabants had some issues with it’s exhaust gases (they were partly INSIDE the car, cough cough) and made for a nasty but surely unforgettable memory for the occupants. 

For the wild nights out Henrik took the group to the re-opened House of Weekend, the Avenue Club in the historic Café Moskau and of course we were granted VIP access to the Pearl, jumping queues and commencing a seemingly never ending night of partying. Our happy guests made that much clear: Never before have they been partying in such a vibrant and fashionable club!